I am becoming more and more frustrated day in and day out on the hunt for decent french music. Even when I think I have found some, the chanteuse begins to sing – in English. It is driving me crazy. Am I not looking hard enough? Or does French music not float my boat? The horror of Eurotrash lingers largely around me – music on the radio everywhere is often painful; but at least in Ireland and the UK among the chart mundanity the DJs will throw on some old school hits and nostalgic classics. Here it is nothing but thump thump thump, with a woman/man singing/shouting about how he/she can’t wait to dance on s-s-Saturday night. I sound like a terrible old fogey here but I can’t help it. With a deep passion for music comes deep distaste for having to listen to passionless music at all times in the car. I am highly unimpressed with the French music scene. As is Yann Tiersen, and he must be right.
I do not believe that there isn’t better out there. I must look further. I shall perhaps devote the rest of my life searching for decent French MODERN music. Emphasis on the modern – while I love old-school French especially Françoise Hardy et Jacques Brel, I am still twenty two years of age and I can’t continuously listen to music from the sixties. But the sad fact remains that the music industry is dominated by first and foremost the United States, with a long and proud history existing in the United Kingdom (I continously mistype the United Kingdom so that it is the “Untied Kingdom” making it the great kingdom that forgot to tie it’s shoelaces). Ergo modern French artists if they wish to truly succeed must speak English.
While giving in to complete French immersion, my facebook is now in French, and while I study French I am listening to French music at the same time. In fact as I am writing this, I am listening to Jacques Brel, watching BFMTV and as always I am surrounded by my humble companions French Living, French Vocabulary, French in 3 months etc etc. Anyway, while I have done extensive research all that remains in my playlist “French tunes” is 50 songs. As anyone who knows me will testify, that is not a lot. At all. But what can I say I am trying and trying to find good French music on a large scale and it is proving impossible. It is all so bloody cheesy. I am very critical of music (and of the universe and it’s contents in general) but I don’t have much to say about the French music scene. I think perhaps they are too busy eating and drinking to write decent music. Ouch.
The best modern artist I have come across thus far is Coeur de Pirate and she is Québécois (French Canadian); go figure. She is extremely talented, she plays the piano and writes her own music. She’s fluent in English so maybe she’ll record in English some time; though perhaps not, French Canadians are very proud of their French.
For the moment, I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite French tunes.
Starting with Francoise Hardy – “Je n’attends personne” bnsically means I don’t expect anyone/I am not waiting – and now you know that listen to the grit in her voice when she sings it.
These next two are my “I live in France, let’s be dramatic and French and drink red wine and eat Saint-Agur and get blocked arteries” and who better to do that with than Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel (“Ne me quitte pas” is the ultimate drama song but I don’t want to be obvious).
I know this from the radio in the car, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was Vanessa Paradis as I only know her singing voice from the monstrosity that is Joe le taxi.
Some steretypical avant garde Frenchie ladies – Parisians of course. Often the world view of France is actually that of Paris. As people from the countryside in Ireland and England will attest to, they are not Dubliners or Londoners.
What I love most about this video is that I used to watch it back when I lived in Edinburgh, and I didn’t understand the speaking parts at all – and now I do. High five!
I’m feeling very generous today so here’s some half-decent radio stations –