Song of the Day: Lizzy Mercier Descloux “Room In New York”
The socially aware synth pop ballad, “Room In New York” is something of a swan song for Lizzy Mercier Descloux. The track was a highlight from her final LP, Suspense, which was released in 1988. Following the release of the album, Descloux turned her back on the music industry, moving to Corsica and devoting herself full-time to painting and to writing an unpublished novel. It is too bad that she gave up on music, because Silence saw Descloux engaging with a new found maturity that serves her well.
“Room In New York”, which closes out the album, found Descloux contrasting the differences between the haves and have-nots during a period in which New York had endemic problems with violence. The song is a cry for shelter from the storm raging all around the city. The darkness of the lyrical content contrasts with Descloux‘s jaunty delivery, featuring bright trumpet fills and harmonica work by bright David Munday. The song is one of Descloux‘s most moving and makes her sudden departure from the music business all the more jarring.
Lizzy Mercier Descloux was born in Paris in 1956. Though she grew up in Lyon, she returned to Paris as a teenager to attend art school. She moved to New York in the 1970s where she befriended both Richard Hell and Patti Smith and became a cult figure in the then nascent punk movement. Musically restless, Descloux recorded in a number of different styles including a South African pop LP (several years before Paul Simon made Graceland), recorded in Brazil and collaborated with jazz trumpet legend, Chet Baker. Following her retirement from the music industry, Descloux, as mentioned above focused on her writing and painting before being struck down by Ovarian cancer in 2004. She remains one of the most dynamic and impressive counterculture figures to emerge from France’s already rich musical legacy.