Britney Spears in Paris on May 5th, 2000. Photo by CHARRIAU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
The cover of Britney Spears’ book The Woman in Me (2023).
1. Britney Spears’ scandalous autobiography
The 41-year-old who hasn’t made her musical comeback yet, aside from a duet with Elton John, narrates her tumultuous story and looks back on key moments of her career in her landmark book The Woman in Me. Mental health issues, abortion, complicated love affairs, dramas, tabloids, slut-shaming, scandals, such as the “shaved head” sequence... The singer’s life is full of episodes worthy of being published. The star sheds light on her father’s guardianship – an abusive, much-discussed guardianship from which the star finally freed herself in 2021. On her Instagram account, the singer declared: “I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day!!!! Best day ever of my life... praise the Lord.” A press release billed the book as an “incredibly moving story of freedom, glory, motherhood, survival, faith and hope”, written with “candor and humor”. It highlights the “power of music and love, and the importance for women to tell their story in their own words.” Among many other things, we learn how her father, an alcoholic and violent man, belittled her as a child, and how Justin Timberlake broke up with her over a crude text message.
The Woman in Me by Britney Spears, published by JC Lattès.
The cover of the book A Book of Days (2023) by Patti Smith, published by Random House / Éditions Gallimard.
The cover of the book A season in Hell 1873 and other poems - Photographs, writings, and drawings by Patti Smith (2023) by Arthur Rimbaud, published by Éditions Gallimard.
2. Two beautiful books by Patti Smith, including one celebrating Rimbaud
American rock icon and poet Patti Smith never ceases to inspire us. In October 2022, she and the New York-based musical duo Soundwalk Collective created an immersive installation entitled “Evidence” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Until January 23rd, 2023, visitors embarked on a sonic and metaphysical journey following in the footsteps of three French poets, namely Antonin Artaud, Arthur Rimbaud, and René Daumal. This month, the priestess of punk has published a beautiful new edition of Arthur Rimbaud’s work A Season in Hell, enriched with her writings and drawings, as well as A Book of Days, which traces back a whole year in the life of Patti Smith through photographs.
A season in Hell 1873 and other poems - Photographs, writings, and drawings by Patti Smith (2023) by Arthur Rimbaud, published by Éditions Gallimard. A Book of Days (2023) by Patti Smith, published by Random House / Éditions Gallimard.
The cover of the book Faith, Hope and Carnage (2023) by Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan, published by Canongate Books (UK) / Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US) / Table Ronde (FR).
3. A harrowing collection of interviews with Nick Cave
Although the Australian singer, songwriter, and actor Nick Cave is known for his heart-breaking, soulful songs, he also writes novels and screenplays. Today, his poetic verve flourishes in a collection of transcriptions of more than forty hours of interview between rocker Nick Cave and journalist Sean O’Hagan. Entitled Faith, Hope and Carnage – one of the most beautiful book titles of 2023 – the work gathers intimate and profound reflections on faith, music, love, and on the artist’s grief after losing his two sons... With great humanity and sincerity, these thoughts tinged with spirituality almost dive us into a state of mystical contemplation.
Faith, Hope and Carnage (2023) by Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan, published by Canongate Books (UK) / Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US) / Table Ronde (FR).
4. The French Bible of rock’n’roll
How do you sum up 60 years of French rock? The task may seem daunting, but journalists Patrice Bardot, Alexis Bernier, and Didier Varrod, alongside a host of various writers, have risen to the challenge with flying colors. Although inevitably subjective, the 300-page book offers the reader a richly illustrated and comprehensive dive into the electric atmosphere of the “music of the devil” played in the bars and concert venues, from flagship groups, such as Téléphone, Bérurier Noir, or Mano Negra, to underground bands, such as Poni Hoax, Bijou, or Jessica 93. The perfect Christmas gift for guitars and black leather jackets lovers.
Rock France – 60 years of guitar and electricity (2023) by Patrice Bardot, Alexis Bernier, and Didier Varrod, published by Marabout.
5. A passionate biography about Tricky
British musician Tricky is one of the most creative figures in the music industry of the 1990s and 2000s. Whether he worked by himself, as part of the band Massive Attack, through his collaborations with Björk, PJ Harvey, and Neneh Cherry, the artist was a pioneer of the infamous trip-hop movement. As a great fan of Tricky and of the Bristol scene to which the musician belongs, journalist Florine Delcourt traces back his career through a collection of interviews in the context of the British society at that time.
Tricky, antistar superstar (2023) by Florine Delcourt, published by Playlist Society.
Translation by Emma Naroumbo Armaing.