When a Formula 1 World Champion retires, what is he to do? Create his own F1 team? No, that’s too boring. Raise his child to become a next-generation driver? No, no — too predictable. Instead, you could follow Jacques Villeneuve’s path and become a singer-songwriter, releasing your very own album titled Private Paradise.
Second-generation Canadian legend Villeneuve released Private Paradise in 2007, a dual-language acoustic rock album composed of 13 songs, nine of which were performed in French and four of which were performed in English. It debuted at No. 49 on the Quebec pop charts, selling just over a combined 800 albums in North America — a quarter of which were sold in Quebec.
Was it a hit? No. But was it good? Well... also no. In an article titled “Jacques Villeneuve sings, just don’t call him an artist,” journalist Alexandra Gill reported that other critics called Private Paradise “old-fashioned” while others said that he lacked vocal range. Jalopnik icon Stef Schrader was also not a fan.
I’d only heard a sliver of Private Paradise, often in the context of memes making fun of Jacques Villeneuve, but in honor of the revived Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, I decided that it was finally time. I would put on my headphones and listen to the entire album from start to finish, ranking each song along the way so that you don’t have to.
But I learned something absolutely hilarious in the process: This album just... doesn’t exist on the Internet anymore. It’s gone. The full album used to be available on YouTube, but you can’t find it there any more. It used to be available on Spotify, but when I tried to access it, I got a “this album isn’t available in your country” warning. I got that same warning several other times, no matter how many different countries I tried to access through my VPN. I couldn’t find it on any other streaming platform. I couldn’t even find a digital copy to purchase.
I spent my weekend trying to source a physical copy within a reasonable drive from my mother-in-law’s home up in Canada. Couldn’t do it. This album was so truly ridiculous that its very existence is nearly erased from the Earth. And honestly, that’s kind of sad. A similar thing happened to the music of Chloe Stroll, who you might know as the sister of current F1 driver Lance Stroll. This is Canadian erasure.
So, this is a warning to y’all: If you have a physical copy of Private Paradise in your collection, hold on tight. You might be in possession of a rare gem.