TRACK REVIEW: Coeur de Pirate “Wicked Games”


Coeur de Pirate Beatrice Martin

Francophone singer/pianist Coeur De Pirate (that’s French for Pirate Heart) recently released a new album of covers of her favourite English songs for the Canadian television show Trauma. Arguably, the best song on the album is her version of a track by another Canadian artist – The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games”. Coeur De Pirate, whose real name is Beatrice Martin, has released two full albums in French. Trauma marks her first full length English album, and it does not disappoint.

Martin is Quebec born and raised, which holds a particularly special place in my heart and is one of the main reasons I first started following her work a few years ago. When I first moved to Montreal, the only thing I listened to for the first six months (religiously!) were Martin’s first self-titled album Coeur De Pirate (2008), and her second album Blonde, released in 2011.

Those familiar with Martin’s work know that the common themes in her songs are heartbreak and unrequited love, and she delivers them with a sweet but painfully lovelorn voice. Her rendition of “Wicked Games” is no different; something about the way she sings it gives you the feeling that her heart is actually breaking at the moment. Armed with only a piano and her voice, Martin delivers a version of the song that will haunt you. Having been fortunate enough to watch her do her thing live (twice) in her hometown of Montreal, I can say that her talent is as mesmerizing on a stage as it is coming through speakers.

It is obvious that Martin wanted to strip the song into her own raw form; “Wicked Games” doesn’t sugarcoat anything and is as beautiful as it is hypnotizing. The original version of The Weeknd’s alternative R&B song is sultry, smooth and exquisite, but Coeur De Pirate was able to take the song to a whole new amazing level. Elsewhere on Trauma, Martin tackles Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”, Kenny Rogers’ “Lucille”, and the ever classic “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, though you should probably just play “Wicked Games” on repeat all day – just saying.

Trauma is available for purchase and download via the artist’s bandcamp. Check out Martin’s video below, and compare it to The Weeknd’s original.