Hip French music recommendations?
March 16, 2004 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions of French pop tunes/artists? I know a very kind, lovely 11 year-old girl who is recovering from hip surgery in a dull, rural town. She'll be going to France on an exchange next year, and I'd like to take her there a little early, via a mix-CD. She likes Garbage, Sheryl Crow, Blink 182, Alanis Morrisette and India Arie. Can you help me make something...uh... hip?
posted by stonerose to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
air's the obvious one, i guess.

i have some algerian music that's "interesting" including algerian hip-hop in french (troisieme oeil?) that i bought in paris, but that was some time ago, and i can't remember the names, or even what the genre is called, but maybe someone else can help out. not sure the traditional sounding stuff was partiuclarly hip, though.

then there's that chap currently up for murdering his so. is he a solo artist or with some band (bbc didn't say)?
posted by andrew cooke at 7:21 AM on March 16, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, Andrew. Afro-Franco stuff would indeed be nice - she's very socially conscious, and would appreciate non-corporate, ethnically diverse material.
posted by stonerose at 7:24 AM on March 16, 2004

It's very old but she should like it given her preferences, and it's somewhat fitting:

Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand

It's on the Just Say Yesterday compilation Vol VI of Just Say Yes.
posted by mischief at 7:25 AM on March 16, 2004

NRJ is a big radio station there. they prolly have some good tunes, especially for a pop-minded 11 year old.

here's a belgique link. don't know if they're related.

french culture's music page

here are a bunch of amazon.fr's music lists

j'aime le francais. je suis un francophone, bien sur! j'espère que je t'ai aidé!
posted by taumeson at 7:55 AM on March 16, 2004

ok, here you go - the genre is called "rai": http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=rai+musique&btnG=Google+Search
posted by andrew cooke at 7:57 AM on March 16, 2004

I love Coralie Clément's album.
posted by Utilitaritron at 8:11 AM on March 16, 2004

A few years back I worked with a French woman and we were constantly trading language lessons and music. She was very into Les Nubians (who are okay in a Sade kinda way but never overwhelmed me), and the sountrack to Luc Besson's Le Grand Bleu was a favorite of hers.

She introduced me to a fairly famous French woman singer/songwriter, GREAT stuff and great lyrics. But now I can't remember her name, except that it was two syllables, something like "Lulu," and I think one of her songs was "Folle de toi."

Can anyone help me/stonerose out? She's a great find.
posted by Shane at 8:13 AM on March 16, 2004

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 AM on March 16, 2004

Some suggestions, including specific tracks, since it looks like you're doing more a mix than a CD purchase right now:

Indochine - J'ai demande a la lune anything on Paradize album- more of a rock sound
mickey 3d - Respire, L'amour a 100%, La France a peur (there was a metafilter thread with the video for "respire" on it, but i can't find it right now)
roch voisine - Helene (part in English, part in French) - a bit older, but still enjoyable. his lyrics are usually very easy to understand
Kate Ryan - Desenchantee - Belgian dance music. Her website seems to be slow, Amazon'll do.
Patricia Kaas - Il me dit que je suis belle, Je te dis vous, A saint lunaire - slower rhythm.
posted by whatzit at 8:29 AM on March 16, 2004

Natascha Atlas was born in Belgium of middle eastern parents, school in the UK, worked in Turkish belly dancing clubs, sung with Jah Wobble and Transglobal Underground, as does very funky french and egyptian-language north african/ pop fusion music: "Funky beats, kanoun, oud, string sections, and percussion jostle for attention in the background as Atlas's serpentine vocals entwine the listener in tales of passion, injustice, and the mysteries of life. Recorded both in London and Cairo, Gedida is a truly cosmopolitan melting pot for the '90s, ranging from hip dance-floor grooves to traditional Egyptian orchestral arrangements, and Atlas, equally at home in both, is fast proving herself one of the most intriguing and original artists blending international cultures into a common musical language" according to blurb on Amazon.

No idea if she's hip, though - I'm fat and old and still listen to the Cocteau Twins.
posted by Pericles at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2004

mickey 3d's Respire clip, which she'd probably really like, as well, if she's a socially conscious eleven year-old.
posted by GeekAnimator at 8:46 AM on March 16, 2004

Response by poster: Formidable! Merci, tout le monde. Vive le MeFi libre! Vive le Quonsar libre!
posted by stonerose at 8:59 AM on March 16, 2004

April March does a few songs in French. And she was hip a couple years back. Now, though, who knows.
posted by soyjoy at 9:05 AM on March 16, 2004

I'd forgotten about Natacha Atlas...thanks, Pericles. I also have no idea if it's "hip", but I think it's pretty cool. (I have her album "Halim" and it's pretty good...think I'll see if I can dig it out.)
posted by Vidiot at 9:12 AM on March 16, 2004

Stereolab is from the UK technically, but Laetitia sings in french quite a bit.
posted by daver at 9:26 AM on March 16, 2004

Zazie has done some great stuff, very popular in France, but almost unheard of in N America. THAT was whom I was thinking of.
posted by Shane at 9:38 AM on March 16, 2004

Rachid Taha makes a joyful noise. Algerian "worldbeat" guy who moved to France. He's raucous as hell, and will make anybody dance.
posted by Skot at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2004

My wife and I are really enjoying Sanseverino. He has some great wacky lyrics which will provide challenging hours of interpretation.

The murderer lead singer is with Noir Desir. I've removed those tracks from my iTunes library -- when their songs pop-up I either get teary eyed or angry. Not because I was a fan of Marie Trintignant but because of the horrible nature and sadness associated with such a crime.

I also enjoy Manu Chao (a mix of languages there), Pink Martini does some French language bits, most notably the fun and easy to understand lyrics of "Sympathique". (Note: might encourage smoking. ;-)

Oh, and for something really off the map: (at least most people's music maps) try Raï Kum. (Although I'm not sure, now that I suggest it, that the lyrics are French. I always assumed the artist or band -- don't know much about them/it was located in France but that might not even be correct.)

Email me if you want help with any of my recommended tracks. ;-)
posted by Dick Paris at 9:48 AM on March 16, 2004

For something a little more old-fashioned, try Edith Piaf.
posted by littlegirlblue at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2004

Carla Bruni's "Quelqu'Un M'a Dit" is beautiful. Cool in a very understated way.
posted by *burp* at 10:32 AM on March 16, 2004

A tried-and-true favorite of mine is "The No Comprendo" by Les Rita Mitsouko. Lots of zoomy bizarre music.
posted by contessa at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2004

Jacques Brel tunes never go out of style, non? And why not toss in some Johnny Hallyday for kicks? He's "the French Elvis," after all.
posted by Shane at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2004

Billy Ze Kick; the songs vary between pop-rock and reggae influences, with thoughtful lyrics.

The final track on the Paniac CD is a powerpunk cover of "Non, Non, Rien a Change", which became a cult hit after being used in the videogame MDK.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:50 AM on March 16, 2004

Autour de Lucie. Great band.
posted by biscotti at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2004

alizee - moi lolita?

(more pc than it sounds and huge a few summers ago)
posted by triv at 11:11 AM on March 16, 2004

Paris Combo is lots of fun to listen to
posted by BentPenguin at 11:11 AM on March 16, 2004

Ooh, I forgot to mention MC Solaar for totally funky French rap.
posted by biscotti at 11:51 AM on March 16, 2004

Hey, as long as it's just for a mix CD, throw Tom Tom Club's "L'elephant" on there, from their first album. It's in French, and it's very cool, with Adrian Belew's trademark bellowing-animal solos. I don't see how that kind of thing could ever go out of style with anybody.
posted by soyjoy at 12:07 PM on March 16, 2004

Second MC Solaar. "Prose Combat" is a great album.

And I really like Charles Trenet, though I doubt the 11-year-old in question will.
posted by Vidiot at 12:09 PM on March 16, 2004

Whotta great thread. I'll second Auteur de Lucie (Quebecois?), she'll like them at her age. And, yes, Ca Plane Pour Moi MUST be on the CD. C'est vraiment necessaire (heh, aren't we all pretentious with our bits-o-French.)
posted by Shane at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2004

I'm surprised that nobody mentioned "Air"
posted by niceness at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2004

I'm surprised that nobody mentioned "Air"

You mean, like, as the very first word in the very first comment? : )
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:01 PM on March 16, 2004

Given that I'd probably like everything on the mix cd you described....

a second vote for Natascha Atlas
Calexico - Ballad of Cable Hogue
Chapeau Melon are probably a good bet.

If you have trouble finding them, then email me, I'll send you a link to the referenced songs.
posted by seanyboy at 3:29 PM on March 16, 2004

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 AM PST on March 16

Are you insane? Those are totally inappropriate in this context.
I would suggest the already mentioned Air, Etienne de Crecy or some of the countless Buddha Bar and assorted loungy compilations available, which is what people listen to in France. And some good Francoise Hardy best-of; it is from the sixties, but she, like Dusty Springfield, is timeless . BTW, since "socially conscious" has been mentioned, it's worth noting that back in the 60's France already had several independent, self-assured female singers which became known as the yeye girls. Au revoir
posted by 111 at 3:52 PM on March 16, 2004 [1 favorite]

St Germain. Fairly safe for 11 year olds, but good dancey stuff.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:40 PM on March 16, 2004

Well, having run the fan page for a Franco-Ontarian teen TV show for a couple of years, I saw music videos for a lot of complete shite. But Manau, Prohom, and even the hardcore Tagada Jones have much to be said for them. Even Indochine and les Rita Mitsouko, as suggested. I know some of those songs almost by heart.

Stéfie Shock, maybe. Caféïne? Rinôçérôse? (Some of these are Quebeckers, and admittedly Manau had a stunning and unique Celtic-French-historical-rap-with-bagpipes single and are uneven otherwise.)
posted by joeclark at 7:28 PM on March 16, 2004

I know he's actually Swiss, but Stephan Eicher sings in English, German and French on his half a dozen or so albums. One of his earlier albums, Engleberg, is probably the best.
posted by JollyWanker at 7:55 PM on March 16, 2004

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