It was over 20 years before the release of this album when Indochine reached a mainstream audience and became an instant sensation in the French-speaking countries with their epic “L’Aventurier”. Indochine quickly became a sensation in their native France, being the first band to bring alternative rock music and new-wave in the French language, and creating a very unique sound with their synthesizers mixed with oriental samples. Also, they stood out with songs about subjects such as bisexuality, sexual fluidity and gender, in songs such as “La 3ème Sexe”. Indochine became a cult phenomenon in France and remain so to date, but it was the 2002 release “Paradize” that brought them renewed stardom and fame after a less succesful couple of years.

The album is the first album recorded without the late Stéphane Sirkis, who passed away a few years before due to a long illness. His twin brother, singer Nicola Sirkis, is now the only member of the original line-up to still be part of the band. Is it because of Stéphane’s death that the lyrics are so mature and philosophical? Maybe so. “Paradize” features several songs with lyrics about death, life and religion. Also, although the synthesizers remain present, the album has more of a general rock sound than previous Indochine albums. The album cover shows a topless red-haired young woman against a red-pinkish background light, her breasts covered by the band name and a huge cross, her trousers unzipped and the fingers of her right hand inside her underpants, insinuating she is masturbating.

Opening track is the title track “Paradize”. Synths still play a large role in this track, with very appealing sounds throughout the track, where Nicola asks someone to follow him into paradise, asking this person for directions in life by the end of the song:
“Montre-moi la vie
Montre-moi ce que c’est
Montre-moi tout ce que tu sentiras”

(“Show me the life
Show me what it is
Show me all that you will feel”)


In the second track, “Electrastar”, Stéphane’s death is the subject in a very direct way, as Nicola sings about how he misses him:

“J’aurais pourtant tant aimé nous protéger
Te voir tomber au combat moi je n’oublie pas”
(“I would have loved to protect us
To see you lose the battle, I don’t forget”)


“Je voudrais te revoir
Briller d’electrastar
J’ai envie de te voir
Et cracher sur la gloire”

(“I would love to see you again
To shine electrastar
I want to see you
And spit on the glory”)

“Punker” and “Mao Boy” are excellent examples of the more straight-forward rock sound of this album. In “Mao Boy”, Nicola seems to talk to a child about the struggles of growing up and about life in general:


“Tiens je crois
Que c’est à moi aujourd’hui
de te montrer tout ça
Comment faire pour vivre ici
Mais personne je crois
ne m’a vraiment bien appris”
(“I believe that it is my turn today
to show you it all
How to live here
But I believe nobody
has really well understood me”)


The song also contains one of the several lyrics on this album that reject the concept of a deity:

“Un jour tu comprendras
Des dieux ici ou là
Que tout ça n’existe pas”
(“One day you will understand
that those gods here or there
That all of that doesn’t exist”)


Track 5 is one of the ballads of the album, “J’Ai Demandé À La Lune”, which became a huge hit,  with an emotional lyric about an emotionally wounded person crying out to the moon and asking the reasons for suffering, only to have the moon laughing at him or stating she doesn’t deal with his suffering or wounds. The song contains the beautiful lines

“Je n’ai pas grand chose à te dire
Et pas grand chose pour te faire rire
Car j’imagine toujours le pire
Et le meilleur me fait souffrir”
(“I don’t have big things to tell you
And no big things to make you smile
Because I always imagine the worst
And the best makes me suffer”)

Further ballads and slower songs include the dreamy “La Nuit Des Fées”, and “Le Grand Secret”, a duet with Melissa Auf Der Mauer (known from The Smashing Pumpkins) which became a hit as well. “Le Grand Secret” is one of the songs in which a theme re-occurs which has been sung about often before in Indochine’s career: sexuality (or rather sexual fluidity) and gender. The song contains lines such as:

“Laisse-moi faire comme un garçon
Laisse-moi cette illusion
Laisse-moi être ton roi
Laisse-moi le faire comme toi”
(“Let me act like a boy
Leave me that illusion
Let me be your king
Let me do it like you”)

The subject re-occurs in the rock song “Marilyn” (which was accompanied by a shocking video which had to be censored for TV broadcasting as it shows scenes of same-sex couples, as well as gothic imaginary) where sexuality and same-sex relations are the main theme too. The song describes kissing a boy on the lips in the context of sexual exploration with a man and proverbially “burning” yourself, but being sure you won’t regret it afterwards, as well as lyrics describing similar sexual exploration with a girl. In the last part of the song, the religious theme also briefly occurs as Nicola sings about the guilt of a person after having given in to his feelings (probably for one of the same gender):

Ne plus jamais s’en déplaire
Juste en fermant les yeux
S’imaginer ses dieux”
(“Surrendering yourself
And never again regretting it
Right when you close your eyes
Imagining those gods”)


A central line in and theme of this song is
“Nous on veut vivre
Encore plus fort”
(“We want to live
Even more intensively”)

The best track on the album in my opinion is the almost 6 minute epic “Comateen I”. A story about a girl in a coma (after an overdose of drugs as the lyrics insinuate… “Tu seras tombée dans les crystals”, which translates as “You will fall in the crystals” – “crystals” being a metaphor for white powder, thus drugs) in which Nicola sits next to her hospital bed and tells her he’ll always be proud of her, no matter what. The song starts with an eerie oriental sounding synthesizer sound, then is followed by an oriental sounding synth, the stanzas are relatively slow, but then the chorus is an outburst of heavy guitars contradicted by Nicola’s warm voice telling how he’ll always be proud of her. The track ends in an almost a cappella style with only a piano and Nicola’s voice. The track is a message of hope where the bleak story (a girl in a coma after an overdose) is overpowered by the message of hope in the chorus, sung in a very emotional way:

“Mais moi je suis fier de toi
Oui moi je suis fier de toi
Et de tout ce que tu vas faire
Même de rien d’extraordinaire
Et bientôt tu verras
Et bientôt tu sauras
Que personne ne te remplacera
Montre-moi quand tu reviendras”
(“But I am proud of you
Yes I am proud of you
And of all the things you will do
Even if nothing extraordinary
And soon you will see
And soon you will know

That nobody will replace you
Show me when you come back”)

A beautiful follow-up to “Comateen I” exists, logically named “Comateen II”.


A theme re-occuring throughout the album, is religion. Maybe it is because of Stéphane’s death, but we hear Nicola questioning and openly denying the existance of god and heaven. In several songs the theme re-occurs (see the lyrics of “Mao Boy” quoted above, or a line from “Le Manoir” in which Nicola sings “et puis entraîne-moi … où le ciel n’existe pas” which translates as “teach me … where heaven doesn’t exist”).

“Paradize” has become a lyrically much more mature album than Indochine’s early and most famous works, and with its rock sound the album has become quite accessible to people not familiar with the band yet. A very good album and containing a few of Indochine’s best songs to date!



Sources used for this article :
as well as spontaneous knowledge and interpretations


For translations, I used spontaneous knowledge with some doublechecks using and, although in most cases I chose to not use literary translations but to use the actual meaning of the French phrases. Translating too literally in my opinion would not correctly refect the meaning of the lyrics.