When Gréco Met Apollinaire

Certainly Juliette Gréco’s new record is a must-have. It’s about, yes, bridges. Those places that span rivers, where you can meet other people or the Grim Reaper in case you prefer to jump over the railing. The probably finest song on Ca se traverse et c’est beau might be Mirabeau sous le pont, a clever, multi-layered hommage to the classic French poet, proto-surrealist and enfant terrible Guillaume Apollinaire, written by 80-years-old Jean-Claude Carrière, script writer of Bunuel’s Belle de Jour and 10000 other classics of the French silver screen. Of course, the song works like a movie. And surely it’s adult cinema.

Juliette Gréco – Mirabeau sous le pont

Montréal Magnifique: Marie-Pierre A. (Country Return)

Marie-Pierre Arthur’s brand new album Aux Alentours being a fave drug at FS headquarters right now, we’ve got an excellent reason to throw a retrospective look over the shoulder: Actually, her self-titled 2009 debut features a lot of that distinctive Opal/ Mazzy Star feel from those Early Recordings times when Kendra Smith was still around – including the highly artful Ma tête à off, a super laidback country slow burner with a tenderly floating quality. Similarly captivating: Her version of Nino Ferrer’s 1972 smash hit La maison près de la fontaine, slightly countrified for the Canadian hommage compilation Allo Nino.

Marie-Pierre Arthur – Ma tête à off

Marie-Pierre Arthur – La maison près de la fontaine
Nino Ferrer – La maison près de la fontaine

RIP Whitney

On the day Whitney Houston died, it is good to remember the legendary TV interview from Michel Drucker, with Whitney and Serge, on April 5, 1986.
As a wise man said: Serge said what every one thought back then…

Une fille de 85 ans

Too often reduced to Deshabillez-moi, Juliette Gréco was not only the ultimate Existentialist poster girl of the late 40s, but also the most charismatic chanteuse of the post-Piaf chanson. She still is, her brand new album Ca se traverse et c’est beau featuring stunning lyrics by Amélie Nothomb and Jean-Claude Carrière, among others. Yesterday, the mysterious dark-haired girl who once was asked by Boris Vian why she never said a word, turned 85. Belated bon anniversaire, Muse, Amoureuse, Immortelle.

Verlaine, Baudelaire and the Girls

Here’s an idea: let gorgeous filles like Claire Keim, Jenifer and Camelia Jordana sing poems by Verlaine, Baudelaire, Elouard and Carême. Add some garçons (Arthur H, Marc Lavoine, Babx), some unsinkable legends (Ferré, Hardy, Nougarro) and you have La Bande des Mots. A compilation to raise money for handicapped students, and to help popularize the great French poets. Not every poem is fit to be sung, to be honest. But Verlaine’s Il pleure dans mon coeur by Claire Keim sure makes excellent FS-material. She’s certainly not the first to sing Verlaine’s poem, many classical soprano’s did it before her, but it never sounded this sexy.

Claire Keim – Il pleure dans mon coeur
Camelia Jordana – Spleen

Do Your Math

In 1965, comic illustrator Jean-Claude Forest created futuristic heroine Marie Mathématique for French TV, kind of a little sister of Bébé Cyanure (Baby Cyanide) and 60s icon Barbarella who brought Forest world fame and was played by Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s masturbation blockbuster. Venusian Marie, “la jeune fille comme il faut”, appeared in six all-too short episodes within ORTF’s Dim Dam Dom tv magazine — a pop art kitten sexed up additionally by the low-pitched cool of singer/ storyteller Serge Gainsbourg. Extraordinary stuff, not to be missed. Giggles and chuckles by another outlandish creature: France Gall.

Marie-Pierre Arthur: Aux Alentours

Problem with Jan/ Feb releases is that they usually are forgotten by the end of the year. Not this one. We already fell in love with Québecoise singer Marie-Pierre Arthur after discovering her on Buck 65’s brilliant 20 Odd Years and her first, self-titled solo effort featuring the lovely folk-pop gem Pourquoi in 2009. Her brand new album, Aux Alentours, features finest eclectic fille pop all the way, combining shades of 70s glam rock, intricate touches of 80s dream pop and glimpses of retro attitude: Her voice encompasses the raw and the smooth perfectly, the tunes changing effortlessly between catchy melodies, gritty riffs and sweet, at times angelic moods. Marie-Pierre has claimed somewhere that originality does not exist, but proves herself wrong with almost every single song: Aux Alentours may start in Reference Alley, but heads straight to Reinvention Boulevard in that Grand State of the Art.

Marie-Pierre Arthur – Pour une fois
Marie-Pierre Arthur – Les infidèles

Buck 65 w/ Marie-Pierre Arthur – Final Approach