Nouvelle Vague + Adrienne Pauly

The upcoming album from Nouvelle Vague promises to be brilliant, Marc, Olivier et les filles take on French 80s hits. The tracklist was published here before, now it’s time for the first single. Adrienne Pauly, she of the provocative hit Je veux un mec, sexes up Les Rita Mitsouko’s indestructible Marcia Baila. A song that was covered many times, not always in the right way. Even craterface Ricky Martin recorded a version, that’s not as bad as one would expect. See a French interview with Marc Collin and Adrienne about the new Nouvelle Vague project here.

Nouvelle Vague feat. Adrienne Pauly – Marcia Baila
Les Rita Mitsouko – Marcia Baila
Maria Gasolina – Marcia Baila
RIcky Martin – Marcia Baila
Olivia Ruiz – Marcia Baila

FS Exclusive: Danou & the Midinettes

Connecting sweet, innocent lolita-popsinger Lio to The Social Network, that’s what Danou and his faithful Midinettes are doing in Amoureux Asociaux. Although I first thought he connected Lio tot Gossip’s Heavy Cross – it does sound very familiar innit? Danou insists he ‘captured’ the instrumental track, made by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the movie The Social Network. Danou & The Midinettes, the only place you read about them before was here. Not a real band, the Midinettes are ‘midi-slaves’, just a side-project from a member of this great band.

Danou & The Midinettes – Amoureux Asociaux

What’s the Point of Loving?

On Oct 9, 1962, chanson ueber-legend Edith Piaf, who was already critically ill at the time, married French singer Théo Sarapo, twenty years younger than her. During the twelve months they had left together, they scored a huge international hit with A quoi ca sert l’amour – here’s also documented who wore the pants in their relationship. Márcio Faraco’s 2008 album Um Rio features a classy bossa version of the all-too-seldom covered song, easygoing, laid-back and finding the point in the Brazilian lightness of being.

Márcio Faraco – A quoi ca sert l’amour

In memory of Nico: longing and loneliness

Guestpost by Roger Grund, on Christa Päffgen, best know as Nico.

Liebes kleines Mütterlein

Nun darf ich endlich bei Dir sein
Die Sehnsucht und die Einsamkeit
Erlösen sich in Seeligkeit.

(Mütterlein, from Desertshore, 1971)

The model, actress and singer Nico was born as Christa Päffgen on October 16th 1938 in Cologne and died on Ibiza in 1988. Nico was intimate with the emerging cinema and rock aristocracy of her days in Paris, Rome, London and New York. Andy Warhol deemed her as one of his superstars. Nico sang on the first Velvet Underground album. She inspired Lou Reed to write ‘Berlin’. Nico recorded acclaimed and highly original albums, often with John Cale lending a helping hand. All this is well known and has become part of  rock mythology.

Reading about Nico, the adjective mysterious dominates the word count. Nico remains at a distance even in her more personal, often German-spoken songs. As befits a model the surface is shiny and made-up, but the inside stays out of view. The distance reflects the longing and loneliness of her world view. And this is what resonates still today. It is as if she questions: ‘’What place is there for love? What matters is finding that place, if it exists.’’

If it exists, indeed.

Nico – Eulogy to Lenny Bruce (Roger Grund remix)
Nico – Das Lied Vom Einsamen Mädchen
Nico – Mutterlein

BONUS: Video for Nico singing Serge Gainsbourg’s Strip-Tease.

Ulrich T. Does Charles T.

Even the good old Deutsche Grammophon label – once home of Herbert von Karajan, Daniel Barenboim, or Claudio Abbado – doesn’t offer the same quality choice anymore. Meanwhile, they have broadened their product range a bit: Recently they signed Ulrich Tukur, German tv cop for Europe’s probably worst crime show Tatort and a grandmaster of the overacting art, and produced his song album Mezzanotte, which contains a lovely duet with 90-years-old German movie legend Margot Hielscher, an unscrupulous raping of Friedrich Hollaender’s wonderful and immortal Illusions, and even two French numbers, one of which is a stiff and stilted carnival version of Charles Trenet’s nonchalantly charming 1939 chanson Le soleil et la lune. And history is repeating: In 1940, German troops did to France what Tukur is doing to Trenet in 2010.

Ulrich Tukur – Le soleil et la lune


Raised in the Ardèche, named after etheric oils her grandmother used, Melissmell debuts with an EP that features a rework of the French national anthem. Called Aux Armes. Any Gainsbourg-fan would wanna know what she did with it. I’d say she Raphael-ized it, added dramatic strings, marching band-drums and musical drop-downs (I mean: the music comes and goes), not unlike Raphael did on his majestic Caravane album. There’s a Brel-influence there as well. And yes, she quotes those immortal words Serge uttered: ‘Aux Armes etcaetera’. Serge remixed Rouget de Lisles anthem as a statement about integration (in the late 70s, mind you): you’re really a part of the state if you know the national hymn so well, you can remix it the way you like it. Still powerful, methinks. Melissmell was trained as a graphic designer but drifted into the music. No surprise for a girl who could sing before she could speak. On her album she worked with some big French guns, but I heard only the EP. Not a fragile fille, more a girl with big lungs and big plans. See a nice acoustic session here.

Mellissmell – Aux armes

Cilla K, Ntjam Rosie

Words that are overused on this blog are probably ‘gorgeous’, ‘sensual’, ‘sexy’ and ‘fragile’. The first three apply to Cilla K and Ntjam Rosie. But fragile, no. Both black singers have a French-colonial background (Guadaloupe, Cameroon) and they make gritty, urban music with futuristic touches. Three words that are very underused on this blog. Which is a bit of shame really, ’cause I’m into (modern) soul and funk as much as I’m into soft-sighing French blondes. Cilla K (pictured) worked with some big names in urban music, on her debut-album Fine Line is one track partly in French. One of the strongest tracks, I think. See a great video of another of Cilla’s songs here.
Ntjam Rosie now lives in Rotterdam and just released her second album Elle. Like on her debut there are a few songs in French, but no more tracks in local dialect. Instead, she added a lot more soul, plus world reknown flautista Ronald Snijders. In L’Amour she gets help from Esperanzah from Numaads.

Cilla K – Demain
Ntjam Rosie & Esperanzah – L’Amour

Cathy Claret

Blonde, beautiful, Brigitte Bardot-lookalike, born in Nimes, relocated to Spain and some sort of icon since the 80s when her records were released by Les disques du Crépuscule – meet Cathy Claret. The last time we’ve heard from her was three years ago, all of a sudden there’s a new single. Chocolat is partly in French, partly in Spanish and sung deliciously off-key with that unresistable Lolita-voice of hers. The other track on this single is a rap (!) in Spanish, and so godawful that I promise to post it if this blog ever calls it quits, to scare you all off. Can’t figure out if a new album is in the works as well, but I guess there is. Let’s pray it includes a lot of songs like this one.

Cathy Claret – Chocolat

Different Class Radio

If you want to hear me murder the English language whilst talking about this blog and fragile French girls, be sure to check this month’s edition of Different Class Radio. An excellent English online radioshow that plays excellent music, including French pop. Go HERE.

FS Rerun: Philippe Leroy

Mais non, this ain’t the actor Philippe Leroy, famous for his roles in Le Trou or Milano Calibro 9. According to this YouTube video, we can gather that French singer Philippe Leroy bleached his mane somewhere along the way and transformed into an artist with a quite particular clothing style, peculiar behaviour, and a haircut that tells stories from a trailer park only the boldest coiffeurs would dare to enter. Before Philippe went there, he looked (see right) pretty much like the guy who stole my sister’s bra at the youth hostel in Antibes as a souvenir, and recorded the French version of The Rubettes’ smash hit Tonight. Some people actually had sex while listening to it.

Philippe Leroy – Ce soir

The Rubettes original, also from 1974, remains a charming bubblegum-meets-glam gem. Twenty-five years later, British intellectuals The Auteurs paid tribute to The Rubettes with one of the finest pop songs of the 90s.

Rubettes – Tonight

Auteurs – The Rubettes