3 (Nouvelle Vague album)

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Nouvelle Vague - 3.jpg
Studio album by Nouvelle Vague
Released 16 June 2009
Recorded 2008–2009
Genre Jazz
Bossa nova
Label Peacefrog
Producer Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux
Nouvelle Vague chronology
Couleurs sur Paris

3, also known as NV3, is the third album by the French covers band Nouvelle Vague, released 16 June 2009. As with their previous release, the album consists entirely of cover versions, mostly of post-punk and new wave songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Four of the tracks are performed as duets, featuring the song's original vocalist performing alongside one of Nouvelle Vague's female singers.


The band draws on a broader range of musical styles compared to their earlier albums; the covers here are inspired by blues and country music in addition to the familiar bossa nova and jazz.[1] Several of the tracks on 3 are performed as duets, with Nouvelle Vague's female singers joined by the artists who sang on the original recordings. The tracks performed as duets are "Master and Servant" (featuring Martin Gore of Depeche Mode), "All My Colours" (with Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen), "Our Lips Are Sealed" (with Terry Hall of The Specials), and "Parade" (with Barry Adamson of Magazine).[1] David Byrne of Talking Heads and David Sylvian of Japan turned down invitations to appear on the album.[2] The appearance of the original artists covering their own songs led one commentator to describe the record as "without a doubt the most meta covers album released this decade."[3]

In another departure from the earlier albums, 3 also features two French-language songs, including a version of Plastic Bertrand's "Ça plane pour moi".[4] Nouvelle Vague's Olivier Libaux explained, "Ca Plane Pour Moi was supposed to be the first French punk single. The thing is, it was sung by Plastic Bertrand - who was Belgian - and many French people think this song is a bit stupid. But it has been covered by bands like The Damned - so it seems that, abroad, this song is very respected. We chose the song because of this paradox."[4]


The album charted in several European countries, peaking at number 57 in France, number 38 in Germany, and number 20 in Portugal.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[6]
BBC Music Favourable[7]
PopMatters 6/10 stars[1]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[8]

The album received mixed reviews, with several critics suggesting that the concept of Nouvelle Vague itself had grown stale. The Guardian noted that the band had "spun out their quirky cover-versions project into a career that has outlasted that of some of the bands they've covered. That's sobering news for anyone who initially found Nouvelle Vague entertaining but has now had enough of their kitsch bossa-nova takes on indie classics."[8] The review concluded that, "it's time for Collin and Libaux to find a new concept."[8] PopMatters's reviewer agreed: "The project made its point the first time around, and with the arrival of a third record, Nouvelle Vague’s approach has become as subversive and surprising as placing rabbit ears behind someone’s head in a class photo. More importantly, by devoting itself primarily to reformatting the songs into new genres, 3 often loses the soul of the original recordings—be it the giddy anxiety of “Blister in the Sun” or the inflammatory anger of “God Save the Queen”—without offering much in exchange."[1] The Washington Post wrote that, "most of these covers aren't tugged far out of their element ... Nouvelle Vague's interpretations are stylish and pretty, but not especially novel."[9] In contrast, BBC Music described the album as "a sublimely inventive concoction of clashing but surprisingly complementary moods and styles. Happily, NV3 shows little sign of Collin and Libaux running out of ideas or outstaying their welcome."[7]

Critics focused their comments in particular on the tracks performed as duets. For The Guardian, "Barry Adamson and Nadeah Miranda are a modern Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra as they claw their way through Magazine's Parade."[8] Commenting on the same song, AllMusic's critic stated, "Barry Adamson's sneering cool makes a noir version of Magazine's "Parade" the album's standout."[6] In contrast, "the group's version of "Master and Servant" -- which features a Jew's harp and Martin Gore's booming baritone on the chorus -- feels overdone, and not even Terry Hall's cameo can save "Our Lips Are Sealed"'s transformation into a pastoral reverie from seeming a bit silly."[6]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Original Artist Length
1. "Master and Servant" (feat. Martin Gore) Depeche Mode 3:22
2. "Blister in the Sun"   Violent Femmes 3:15
3. "Road to Nowhere"   Talking Heads 3:12
4. "All My Colours" (feat. Ian McCulloch) Echo & the Bunnymen 3:58
5. "The American"   Simple Minds 3:44
6. "Heaven"   The Psychedelic Furs 4:09
7. "Parade" (feat. Barry Adamson) Magazine 4:04
8. "Metal"   Gary Numan 3:50
9. "Ça plane pour moi"   Plastic Bertrand 3:25
10. "Our Lips Are Sealed" (feat. Terry Hall) The Go-Go's / Fun Boy Three 3:30
11. "God Save the Queen"   Sex Pistols 2:49
12. "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"   Soft Cell 5:01
13. "So Lonely"   The Police 3:48
14. "Not Knowing"   Minimal Compact 3:04
15. "Aussi belle qu'une balle"   Taxi Girl 3:32
16. "Such a Shame"   Talk Talk 3:55
17. "Johnny and Mary" (feat. Ania) Robert Palmer 3:49


  1. ^ a b c d Ramirez, AJ (29 October 2009). "Album review". PopMatters. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Renault, Gilles (11 July 2009). "Nouvelle Vague new look". Libération (in French). Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Sawdey, Evan (21 January 2010). "20 Questions: Nouvelle Vague". PopMatters. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Libaux, Olivier (7 July 2009). "Talking Shop: Nouvelle Vague". BBC News. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Nouvelle Vague — 3 (album)". lescharts.com (in French). Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Phares, Heather. "Album review". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Quinn, Michael. "Nouvelle Vague 3 Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Caroline (26 June 2009). "Album review". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  9. ^ Jenkins, Mark (19 February 2010). "CD review: Nouvelle Vague's '3'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 

External links[edit]