It is an event in the musical world. Orelsan’s 4th solo album, called “Civilization”, which comes out this Friday, is eagerly awaited. By the fans, of course, but also by the media. Because the rapper has become a media beast, and has hit the headlines more often than in his turn. We remember for example the controversy (the word is weak) around “Dirty bitch”, which had earned him a passage in court, and whose documentary “Never show that to anyone”, available on Prime Video, returns in long and wide.
But that time seems far away. Today, Orelsan is posing more than ever as a lyricist. Let’s dare the word: a singer with texts. We saw him alongside Stromae on his previous record, another master of the genre. Text question, “The smell of gasoline”, is a little gem. which will probably not please everyone. Are all the truths good to say?
Subversive like never before
“The Odor of Essence” is an uncompromising song, as subversive as ever. A firebrand, which acts like an electric shock. A real punch in the face. Orelsan paints a portrait of today’s world, of a society ruled by “fear, hatred and sadness”. And the Norman passes everything to the sulphate.
It hurts, because it hits the mark, and it is reminiscent of “Social Suicide”, a title that made France tremble in 2011. The fans very quickly drew a parallel between the two songs on social networks, even qualifying “The Smell of Gasoline” as “Social Suicide 2.0”.
“The game is over, all of our leaders have failed. They will be destroyed by the beast they created. Trust is dead along with respect. What governs us? Fear and anxiety. We destroy ourselves, we look for an enemy. (…) ”It is difficult to prove him wrong as it is not the anxiety-provoking subjects that prevail in conversations today: Covid, predominance of far-right ideas in the public debate, global warming, and so on. .
The law of networks
Orelsan also denounces a world ruled by social networks, this world “where nothing is ever erased” which allows neither intelligent thought, nor the ability to rise higher than the clash. “No one is listening, everyone is speaking. Nobody changes their minds, only sterile debates. Everyone gets excited because everyone gets excited. Only strong opinions, nothing is ever precise. No more time to think, tyranny of numbers. Twelve-year-olds whose tweets are quoted in the media. Intelligence sells less than controversy ”
Woke culture also takes it for its grade. “Everything is reactive, everything is systemic (…) No solutions, only criticism. (…) Everyone is sensitive, everything is sensitive, everyone is on the defensive ”
At Orelsan, everyone takes it for their grade. Including the media, which are not spared. “Caught in an infernal vortex, we cure evil with evil and the media feast on it. Only various facts, hen, fox, viper. Either you are for or you are against, everything is binary. Buzz scrapers have flirted with extremes since Mongols became experts ”.
Straight into the wall
The world of Orelsan in the Scent of Gasoline, is that of a society going straight into the wall. Of a world at the end of its life. “We are fighting to be at the front in a plane heading straight for the crash.” Not really funny, but Orelsan gives food for thought.
Besides the performance of “RaelSan” on the beat of the inevitable Skread, the rapper returns with a clip filled with meaning that condenses the sad events that the company has known, ranging from the demonstrations of the yellow vests to the police blunders, not to mention the abrupt end of the video on the word “Crash”. In short, a shattering clip that will remember that of “Basic”, with which Orelsan launched the promotion of its latest opus “The party is over” and which reaches more than 92 million views, just that.
A great piece, but a weird piece. A hybrid title because there is not really a chorus, carried by many repetitions, with a strange musicality. But a piece which is in line with committed rap and which puts everything on its text.