A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[MUSIC] Patsy Gallant, “From New York to L.A.”

Patsy Gallant is a Canadian singer whose reputation in English Canada is based entirely on her 1976 single “From New York to L.A.”

Her musical career is more storied than this, with Gallant carving out a career in music and theatre in Québec and France, largely unknown to an Anglophone audience outside of chance events like Gallant’s 2013 performance at Pride in Toronto. In this Gallant, a Francophone born in small bilingual town of Campbellton in New Brunswick, shares in a common experience of French Canadians in being overlooked.

What interests me most about the song is not the music but rather the deeply ambivalent lyrics. “From New York to L.A.” opens with the singer dismissing her love as less important than stardom.

In my mind there’s a face
On my lips there’s a name
In my life there’s no place
For the man that I love
Cause I’m livin’ my life
Just to sing and be free

Later, we hear the singer tell of a much darker world, one filled with sleaze and death and one where even her love may not have been all that.

The city lights are often blurred
By stories we’ve already heard
Booze and drugs now break my head
Cause all the shining stars are dead

I sometimes close my tired eyes
Look at myself, be hypnotized
Findin’ a reason of lovin’ you
The man I thought was meant for me
But were you really meant for me?

Honestly, I don’t think that the song does a very good job of handling these potentially interesting themes. The consistently upbeat music contrasts poorly with the much darker lyrics at the end. This song’s importance in Canadian pop music aside–one of Canada’s first, and biggest, disco hits–I wonder if it could gone through another draft.

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm

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