L’amour à la Gainsbourg

Adjani lookalike Caroline Grimm recorded this one, an élastiquely carribean-ized disco-pop number that made my sister buy her first dessous on Ibiza in 1988.

FS Rerun: Sarah Nixey

Though Sarah Nixey is British, she’s a fille to boot, levitating effortlessly between the realms of innocence and lasciviousness, the subversive and the sublime. With Black Box Recorder – assisted by Luke Haines of Auteurs fame and John Moore, ex-Jesus & Marychain –, she recorded three of the smartest, though too much neglected pop CDs of the last decade. French Rock’n’Roll from Recorder’s brilliant second record Facts of Life echoes the spirit of Jane & Serge, London-style, and features even a few lines in French:

Black Box Recorder – French Rock’n’Roll

Solo, Sarah also did a trippy club cover of Francoise Hardy’s hit Le temps de l’amour, written by Hardy’s future husband Jacques Dutronc in 1962, and Ici avec toi, a gauloised-up translation of her original song When I’m Here With You.

Sarah Nixey – Le temps de l’amour

Sarah Nixey – Ici avec toi

Last not least, another of Sarah’s French connections from the compilation The Worst of Black Box Recorder: Her version of Terry Jacks’ weeper superhit Seasons of the Sun – cover of Jacques Brel’s classic chanson Le Moribond – reverberating an entirely different quality: the dizzy state when awakening from a already half-forgotten dream.

Black Box Recorder – Seasons in the Sun

Yearlists (6)

Indispensable musique-pusher FransS, reader/contributor Anna Maria and FS-fan David send in yearlists as well. Three songs at the bottom of this post. Here goes:

What a strange year it was. No one really stood out, but a lot of very good albums. as can be seen in the other lists. It was hard to make a top 5. a top 10 would be much easier. So my excuses To Babet, Brune, Buridane, Camelia, Chloe, Emmanuelle, Laurence, Marianne and many others.

1. Élodie Frégé – La fille d’après-midi. OK, but if you insist that I choose a female album of the year, there is only one possible winner: Elodie. Great album and great songs that take you by the hand and that lead you to where Elodie wants us to go. [the bedroom, I’d hope – Gbourg]
2. Zaz – Zaz. It is poppy, but giving the airplay she had here in Holland we finally had a contemporary French artist on the radio and Je veux more or less became the soundtrack of summer.
3. Cécile Hercule – La tête à l’envers. The real FF fans still remember her from her EP from 2008. We all knew she was an exceptional talent in the FF tradition. And as we all hoped and expected: she didn’t disappoint us..
4. Marie Warnant – Ritournelle. For me one of the surprises. Because I didn’t want her to be missed in the yearlist, she’s included here.
5. Claudine Muno & The Luna Boots – Noctambul. Luxembourg’s best kept secret.. I don’t know why exactly but I played her album a lot this year…It suits a lot of occasions. It just makes you feel good.

Anna Maria
Sorry, only four Filles-albums:

1. Emmanuelle Seigner – Dingue. Lovely, and relaxed songs with delightful vocals. Bonus points for the Iggy Pop duet.
2. Zaz – Zaz. Cool and worldly sophistication and class. She has a gorgeous voice too.
3. Peau – Premiere mue. Fragile and sweet, yet strong enough to make an impact.
4. Marie-Amélie – Dans un vertige, Sister of Emmanuelle and clearly her own person too. Lovely album.


1. Babet – Piano Monstre. I am very grateful this blog put me onto Babet, definitely my favorite album of the year. La chambre des toujours, I think is the prettiest song I’ve heard, with a simple, heartfelt melody that Babet sings in such a gentle, simple way.
2. Chantal Archambault – La romance des couteaux. Her music is a mix of folk/country/rock – Chantal has a voice with a distinctive edge to it that helps drive her songs, similar in this respect to Olivia Ruiz and Emily Loizeau, with an energy that grows on you.
3. Nolwenn Leroy – Bretonne. In her past albums, I’ve found her voice to be pretty, but without much by way of expression. Here, her voice is perhaps a bit less pure, but I feel like her music is hitting something more real, with a bit of passion. Bro Gozh Va Zadou in particular captures this difference.
4. In-grid – Passion. Lots of movement, with obviously a conscious effort to evoke a ’40’s “big band” feel. A Ma Façon or Papillon Sur Moi, for example, where filles fragiles meets Desi Arnaz with a bit of rock thrown in.
5. Lili-ster – Castafiore. This has a bunch of good tunes, in particular Electric boy and Tombe sur moi. The album has a nice flow to it – I find I can put the album on and listen to it straight through.

Chantal Archambault – La chasse
Marie Warnant – Ritournelle
Peau – Sensuelle

Gillian Hills

La tête à l’envers by 60’s ye-ye legend Gillian Hills is labeled ‘non-seasonal’, ’cause it’s not about Christmas. But the giggly lyrics are set to Jingle Bell Rock, therefore it IS a seasonal track in my book. And on dark days like this, it’s always a pleasure to hear and watch the bubbly blonde, innit?

Gillian Hills – La tete a l’envers

Ödland – Cecidomyiidae

Nicely done video for the brand new 7″ by FS favorites Ödland. Face A, Cecidomyiidae, is a stoned-out Cheshire Cat’s grin of a song, face B, La floraison des bambous, an odd mix of chanson, chamber music, and babypop. I love this stuff, but cannot shake off the feel that it’s more of the same. 200 signed and numbered copies which can be ordered via the band’s website.

Les Classels

We’re keeping it garage-y (see the brilliant 96 Tears cover below) here on FS today, with ‘Quebec Beatles’ Les Classels. You gotta love a band who dressed all in white, dyed their hair blond and played white instruments. Later on, this sixties-yeye-band dropped the white attire for primary colours. They made a few seasonal songs (here, here), this 1966 song about winter evening on a hip beat is one of the best.

Les Classels – Les soirs d’hiver

Gladys Pink

Few people remember Detroit all-Latino garage band ? and The Mysterians, though they had a #1 smash hit with 96 Tears on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than a million (!) copies in 1966. The 7“ generally is regarded as proto-punk and was also featured on the famous first Nuggets compilation. 12 years later the song was covered by Belgian unknowns Gladys Pink who replaced the delirious vox organ of the original with a vicious accordion and recorded one of the most sensational and completely unnoticed singles ever to come from the Lowlands. No need for French lingo here. The spirit should be enough.

Gladys Pink – 96 Tears

Yearlist 2010 by Sky

Great year, fantastic filles, awesome albums, terrific tunes. Here we go:

1. Various Artists – Je Deteste Serge. This is it. The (illegal) album that had the highest rotation at my château this year. 19 strikingly artistic and intertextual killer tracks blending Serge G. with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Sugarhill Gang, Biggie, and loads of others. Bâtard Pop Heaven – for download still available.

DJ Y alias JY – Skee-lo and Clyde

2. Ödland – Ottocento. Lorenzo Papace is the mad hatter behind this absinth-soaked, tenderly hypnotic (and quite humorous) 19th-century-fantasy, Alizée Bingöllü (pictured) the most sexy voice you’ll ever hear from behind the mirror. The album ist just like her: Little girl eyes, big girl ideas.

Ödland – De l’autre côte de miroir

3. Élodie Frégé – La Fille de L’après-midi. She can do without Biolay, and easily. A concept album like a trois-accents-promise, much better than its predecessor, amazingly uncompromising, full of high-class songwriting, suspense, and drama. The record that made Guuz a poet. Ravissante indeed.

Élodie Frégé – La fille de l’après-midi

4. Fabienne Delsol – On My Mind. While nobody noticed, Fabienne clandestinely took April March’s place in girlpopdom. Sixties mood, simple but irresistible melodies, lost love dreamscapes, Rick Nelson feel, fuzz guitars and that certain not-so-innocent voice. Only two tracks en Français here. Somebody who cares?

Fabienne Delsol – Ce jour la

5. Cécile Hercule – La Tête à L’Envers. Lots more versatile and inventive, Cécile is outsmarting everybody’s darling ZAZ by far. Wooing and cooing as a premier art form, and Enfin should have been a huge hit. For the bedroom, and some of those things beyond.

Cécile Hercule – Enfin

Axelle et Aznavour

There aren’t that much certified filles fragiles who recorded Christmas-songs, alas. There’s of course Maryse Letarte (who recorded a whole seasonal album), there’s the EP by Tricot Machine, there’s the songs from FS X-Mas Project (Marianne Dissard, Maud Lübeck, Odile & Manou, etc), but other than that it’s mostly very kitschy, Céline Dion-like. This duet between Axelle Red & Charles Aznavour is from a reasonable album called Noël Ensemble that also sports duets between Katerine & Anna Karina and Calogero & Zazie. And a few turkeys.

Axelle Red & Charles Aznavour – Noël à Paris

French Christmas Corn

Remember those December 24 days when you had to earn your presents? When your Mom put on some record and you were forced to sing along to some way uncool tunes about silent nights, trickling snowflakes and the birth of Christ?  This year, you can show your kids that Christmas is some serious issue: With Annie Lennox’s brand new album A Christmas Cornucopia, chock-full of devotional, stone cold sober hymns from the eurythmical realm where camp and Kunstlied meet. Caution: Do not play after Christmas dinner. The content of your stomach might take its toll.

Annie Lennox – Il est né le divin enfant

Nice version from 2007:

Tom Tom Club – Il est né le divin enfant