Montreal singer’s 99 Nights is packed alt-pop hits
What do you follow up with after you create a multi-award-winning debut album? Montreal alt-pop artist Charlotte Cardin certainly makes it sound easy with the release of 99 Nights.
With Phoenix (2021), Cardin established herself as a talented bilingual songwriter who isn’t afraid to write about sex and female sexual autonomy. She continues to write on these themes for 99 Nights while still being able to keep the songs fresh with an undercurrent of R&B and jazz-influenced instrumentals and magnificent vocal melodies.
It’s hard to pick a favourite song on the album when they’re all instant hits. These are songs that are immediately relatable to the modern young woman: having relationship problems and realizing it might already be over (99 Nights), being petty and getting back at your ex at a party (Somebody First) or finding a new romance in someone whom you never considered as a love interest (Someone I Could Love).
The song Jim Carrey feels typical of Cardin’s songwriting — the upbeat song production and collective vocal harmonies truly shine here. It’s a tribute to the Canadian actor who became one of Cardin’s heroes for his inspirational speeches. As a nod to these empowering speeches, Cardin sings, “Goodbye to my worthless ego / Without you I’m finally free.”
A soon-to-be favourite track from the album is surely Somebody First — a cheeky song about being the first to sleep with someone else after a breakup and making sure that your ex knows it. It’s a laidback and groovy tune that ends somewhat abruptly, but it feels so satisfying.
The instrumentals are the detailed heartbeat of these tracks that help propel the songs forward, but it’s Cardin’s vocals that are really the highlight. In particular, she shows off her effortlessly sultry voice on songs like Looping, Next to You and the French/English song Enfer, which features the rapper Skiifall for a verse.
Cardin is comfortably at the top of her songwriting game on her sophomore album. It’s too early to think about what’s next for her when she still has so much to enjoy from this album cycle, but there’s a steady confidence within her that makes listeners certain that she will not disappoint with whatever she comes up with next.