A new album by Johnny Hallyday is no small matter, he's an artist described lazily as 'The French
Elvis' , but given his influence and the shadow he casts over the French music scene, he's pretty much the French Beatles, the French Chuck Berry, and the French Bruce Springsteen as well.
Rester Vivant is his eighth number one studio album in a row, a run that began with 1999's Sang pour Sang.
But the commercial success is all very well, but does Johnny still matter artistically?
An initial inspection finds the voice in good form, the songs well crafted and the production - by Don Was, who has worked with veteran rock acts similar to Hallyday like Dylan and the Stones - is sympathetic.
To these ears it's better that L'Attente, his 2012 collection that I always though a bit on the safe side compared to its predecessor, 2011's Jamais Seul, which felt more like an artist tying some new ideas.
Of course, L'Attente was a massive seller in comparison to Jamais Seul, so it just shows what I know.
If anything this album charts a course between these two previous albums, and there's no shortage of songs that could fit effortlessly into the canon of Hallyday classics, whether the more introspective Seul or A nos promesses, which wouldn't be out of place on a recent Springsteen album. If Bruce had recorded in French, bien sur.
Hallyday could easily tread water in terms of releasing new material, but listening to this gives the impression that he's still got the drive to push himself.
While he's never going to step too far from what he does best, this collection still has plenty of pleasant surprises.
It may not be American Recordings period Johnny Cash in terms of an artist redefining his career through his later period releases, but compared to Hallyday's contemporaries like Tom Jones, Elton John or Neil Diamond, Hallyday remains very much an artist vivant.
Le live du 24-10 (Johnny Hallyday - Rester... by f1334235678