Friday, July 25, 2008

Discovering French Music, Volume 2

Here's the volume 2 of the internet mixtape series Discovering french music. You'll find some classics of chanson (Brassens, Barbara, Ferré) and some new chanson (Renaud, Têtes Raides), a chanson-jazz singer (Nougaro), some underground rock (Négresses Vertes, Noir désir, Brigitte Fontaine), some house (Daft Punk), and some hip-hop/dub crews (High Tone, L'armée des 12, IAM, Saian Supa Crew). 15 great french songs that I hope you'll enjoy listen. I chosed three of them with english lyrics so that you can understand them (Noir désir, Daft Punk, and Brigitte Fontaine). Cover's picture is the great Brigitte Fontaine.


1. Jeanne Moreau – Le Tourbillon De La Vie (Cyrus Bassiak, Chante 12 Chansons De Cyrus Bassiak, 1962)
2. Saïan Supa Crew – A Demi Nue (X Raisons, 2001)
3. Georges Brassens – Les Amoureux Des Bancs Publics (1953)
4. Les négresses vertes – Zobi La Mouche (Mlah, 1988)
5. IAM – L’Empire Du Côté Obscur (L’école du micro d’argent, 1997)
6. Claude Nougaro – Le Cinéma (Michel Legrand, Claude Nougaro, 1962)
7. Barbara – L’Aigle Noir (L’aigle Noir, 1970)
8. Dogs – Shakin’ Linda (Too Much class for the neighborhood, 1982)
9. Daft Punk – Around The World (Homework, 1997)
10. Renaud – Dès Que Le Vent Soufflera (Morgane de toi , 1983)
11. Noir désir – Des Visages des figures (Des visages des figures, 2002)
12. Léo Ferré – Avec Le Temps (1970)
13. Brigitte Fontaine – Je t’aime encore (Moustaki & Areski, Kékéland, 2001)
14. Charles Aznavour - je m’voyais déjà (1960)
15. Ray Ventura et ses Collégiens - Qu'est-ce qu'on attend (pour être heureux) (Paul Misraki, 1937)
16. Lunatic - Le Son Qui Met La Pression (Mauvais Œil, 2000)
17. Django Reinhardt & Jean Sablon - Je sais que vous êtes jolie (Swing, 1935)
18. Les Têtes Raides - L'hermaphrodite (Le bout du toit, 1996)
19. Jacques Brel - J'en Appelle (Philips n°2 - Quand on a que l’amour, 1957)

Klub des Loosers - Under the V Sign (French rap)

Klub des Loosers (Losers' Club) is an atypical French rap band. Most of French rappers are used to same cliches. Some claims to be thugs, successful with women and money, almost all pretend to come from poor and violent cities and talk about social and political issues.

Klub des Loosers is all the contrary. The rapper Fuzati is depressive, unable to date any girl, and coming from a rich and fancy family. Nevertheless, like other rappers, he describes and criticizes his social environment.

His main hit is Under The V Sign. V for Versailles, a very fancy city in the West of Paris (famous for the Palace of Versailles) where Fuzati is from. He describes conservative and hypocrite habits of Versailles inhabitants stuck in the past. He also describes the bored youth, pretending to be rebel but having nothing to struggle against and unable to overcome the family pressure.

The song is produced by the world famous electro band Air.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's Start By The Best

Here's the first post of French Kisses (the previous one was just copied from my French-speaking blog berceuse electrique). I'm glad to start with one of the most amazing French song, a classic among classics. Its called There is no happy love (Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux) by the chanson master, Georges Brassens.

Brassens has been covered hundreds times and his most famous songs are known by heart by most French people.

The lyrics are based on a poem of Louis Aragon, a great writer of the XXth century. Lyrics are extremely important in Brassens' songs so I'm glad I've found a video with English subtitles. Enjoy.

Georges Brassens - There Is No Happy Love

More on wikipedia - Buy on amazon

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Discovering French Music: An Internet Mixtape

 I've always been very disappointed by anthology's tracklists of French music made by and for foreigners. I'm gonna try to show what is the very best of popular French music according to French people, in its diversity and not only focusing on old chanson française. I have gathered some of the best songs of the best French artists. Obviously, everybody won't agree with this selection but I think it gives a good overlook of what French music really is, from the great songwriters of the 30s to new sounds such as french touch and underground hip-hop.

Some of them are famous abroad (Edith Piaf, Air) but most of them didn't get popular (except for some in other French speaking countries). I will also mention some Belgian artists who have influenced widely the French music and made most of their career in France.
I didn't put any songs of contemporary classical music but there are some great french composers such as Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, Erik Satie, Edgar Varèse or Oliver Messiaen.

Cover: Brassens

The 30s and 40s

Charles Trenet,the founder of modern chanson.
Edith Piaf, the most famous French singer abroad with a powerfull heartbreaking voice.
Django Reinhardt who mixed gyspy music, French musette and jazz to create jazz manouche, is one of the greatest guitarist of all time.

The 50s

Boris Vian, singer and writer of the St Germain-des-Prés time, he introduced jazz and rock in chanson.
Georges Brassens, the master of chanson française who has given the greatest masterpieces to the genre. He and the other great French songwriter Léo Ferré introduced poem and slang into chanson.
Jacques Brel, the Belgian singer is the third master of French chanson with Brassens et Ferré. 

The 60s and 70s
Johnny Hallyday, inspired by american rock'n'roll, he sang widely popular pop songs and became the first big teen idol. Other famous yéyé artists are Eddy Mitchell, Antoine, Claude françois, Françoise Hardy.
Serge Gainsbourg, first created a real french adult pop and opened it to many styles (reggae, rock, hip-hop, jazz, classical music).
Magma is the most famous french prog-rock band.

The 80s

Bérurier noir is the greatest underground punk rock band, in the same time violent and festive. Listen also to Garçons Bouchers, Mano Negra, Negresses Vertes, Ludwig von 88, Rita Mitsouko, Pigalle.

Alain Bashung, sings an intellectual and dark music between rock, experimentations and chanson.

The 90s

Mano Solo mixes the power of alternative rock with sensibility and songwriting of old chanson. Listen also to Têtes raides, Debout sur le Zinc, Négresses Vertes. For a blend of chanson, rock or reggae, listen to Tryo, Louise Attaque, Sinsemilia, Massilia Sound system.

NTM, most famous and pioneer of French rap who defined the sound of what we call French hip-hop . For other great old-school French rap, listen to IAM, Assassin, Mc Solaar.

The 00s

TTC, leader of the new French rap, influenced by anticon's artists, pop and electro. Listen also to Klub des Loosers, La Caution, James Dellek, Saïan Supa Crew.

Air, influenced by house and rock of the 70s (like Serge Gainsbourg) is one of the famous member of the French electro called “French touch”. Listen also to Daft Punk, Motorbass, DJ Cam, Laurent Garnier, Justice.

Nosfell uses human beatboxing, guitar and cello to give a deep and original music. Other good bands in Dub/abstract hip-hop/jungle are High Tone, le peuple de l’herbe and Ez3kiel.

1. Fréhel - Où sont mes amants (Vandair - Charlys , 1935)
2. Charles Trenet – La Mer (1946)
3. Edith Piaf – L’Accordéoniste (Michel Emer, 1940)
4. Django Reinhardt and Grappeli – Les Yeux Noirs (1940)
5. Boris Vian – Le Déserteur (Harold Berg, 1954)
6. George Brassens – Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux (Aragon, 1943, 1953)
7. Jacques Brel – Amsterdam (Olympia 1964, 1964)
8. Barbara - Si la photo est bonne (Le Mal de vivre, 1964)
9. Johnny Hallyday – Killy Watch (1960, The Cousins)
10.Léo Ferré - La Mémoire Et La Mer (Amour Anarchie, 1970)
11. Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade De Melody Nelson (Histoire de Melody Nelson, 1971)
12. Magma -Mekanik Kommandoh (Mekanïk Destruktïẁ Kommandöh, 1973)
13. Bérurier Noir – Je t’aime Elsa (Macadam Massacre, 1984)
14. Mano Solo – Allez Viens (La marmaille Nue, 1993)
15. Alain Bashung – La Nuit Je Mens (Fantaisie militaire, 1998)
16. NTM – Seine Saint-Denis Style (Suprême NTM, 1998)
17. TTC – Dans le club (Bâtards sensibles, 2004)
18. Air – Dead Bodies (Virgin Suicides OST, 2000)
19. Nosfell – Your Servant To The Ground (Poma e klokochazia balek, 2005)