Sexiest Women in French Music Today: Beyond Category

Countdown done, everything finished, and now you know ’em all. Almost. The FS Team chose to choose The One. The hors catégorie girl. We talked Ludivine, discussed Bardot, and of course everybody at FS loves Jane. But beyond category means something different, something that distills myth and magic, someone who transcends time, style, beauty and, of course, ultimate sexiness.

„Jeez“, my friend Matthias says. „I recall vividly how I danced with a fellow lawyer to Déshabillez-moi at his farewell party, and afterwards I had to run to the loo to rinse my mouth, since we had kissed to the final chord. That’s what Juliette Gréco does to you.“ In the beginning, she didn’t even need a voice. Boris Vian, ruling prince of St. Germain, was completely enchanted by the silence of the chain-smoking beauty with the long black hair and the cool black look, and stellar writers Jacques Prévert, François Mauriac or Raymond Queneau wrote lyrics just to hear her sing – she had „millions of poems in her voice“, as existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre tried to emcompass her magnetism. Never being part of France’s huge Babe Squad, Gréco redefined the concept of the female self, and en passant the idea of chanson. In 1959, only 32 years old, she invited a then quite unknown songwriter to her house: Serge Gainsbourg, who was so nervous that he spilled the whiskey she offered him, and couldn’t get out a single coherent sentence. Soon after he wrote Les Amours Perdues, Accordéon and La Javanaise for her, perhaps his finest songs. Better than anyone else, Gréco knew that it was all about finding a voice. That’s what she did for herself, for Serge, and for French song.

Juliette Gréco – Valse de l’au-revoir
Juliette Gréco – Mirabeau sous le pont

Ewa Swann

Intrigued by the cover of this 45? More intrigued if I told you J-C Vannier is behind this, and that’s it’s a very rare find? Go HERE and listen. You won’t be disappointed.

Lisa Leblanc

It takes a real woman to write a guestpost on, well, a real woman. Natasha on fellow Canadian Lisa Leblanc:

When singer Lisa Leblanc belts, “Maybe tomorrow will be better, but today my life is shit”, the Acadian-Canadian singer, who accompanies herself on the banjo, is pouring out her guts for real. The first time I saw her in the video of “Aujourd’hui, Ma Vie C’est D’la Marde” (‘marde’ = ‘merde’ in Canadian French), I was like a moose caught in the headlights, bought the physical CD my first day back in Montréal on holiday this summer and played everywhere.

Leblanc calls her music ‘trash-folk’, and her first eponymous album, which came out in March, is catching on like wild fire in French-speaking Canada. Ironically, she says her music is all about trashing the ‘fi-filles’, the very kind of girly girls you’ll find on this blog. The ones that steal her boyfriends because of their perky assets, the ones that sing lovey-dovey ‘Céline Dion’ type songs and can’t write or play an instrument. Leblanc beats the musical crap out of all them, but sleeps alone, as there’s always a price to pay for being a real woman.

What’s an Acadian? Cajun, Acadian, keep pronouncing them until they sound the same. Those people down in Louisiana are descendants of Acadians from Canada’s Eastern province New Brunswick where 40% of the population speaks French, peppered with lots of English nouns, like fellow female singers Marie-Jo Thério and Edith Butler.

Lisa Leblanc – Aujourd’hui, Ma Vie C’est D’la Marde
Lisa Leblanc – Cerveau Ramolli

Barbara Lune video

Remember to brush your teeth afterwards. It’s bubblegumpop with sugarlevels up to eleven. But, sigh, what a girl.

10 Sexiest Women in French Music Today (1)

And so our countdown of sexy French-singing filles ends. This is the ultimate fille. You guessed it.

1. Béatrice Martin/Coeur de Pirate

Everyone’s’ (well nearly everyone…) favourite tattooed quebecoise Québécoise with the pixie smile and bedroom eyes. There’s an overwhelming desire to wrap her up in cotton wool (or is that just me?). Then again how do you follow up your stellar debut album while breaking up with your beau? Answer – if you’re Ms Martin is to knock them dead with your sophomore offering, “Blonde”. Tougher than she looks, this one. And probably more pregnant too.

Coeur de Pirate – St Laurent

10 Sexiest Women in French Music Today (2)

Though our no. 2 is from Brunette County, she’s always been candidate for the fairest of all seasons. Ah, Marina.

2. Marina Celeste

Marc Collin’s cover band project Nouvelle Vague was even a bit goofy when it started back in 2004, but the girls were pleasantly exhibitionistic, and their lounge versions of Too Drunk to Fuck or Ich möchte ein Eisbär sein were surely genius for a sweltering, if all-too ephemeral moment. Among the Nouvelle Vague filles, Marina Celeste had the most sophisticated aura, combining superchic, tendresse and a late summer sense of Mediterranean saudade – reflected and refined on her solo albums Acidulé, Cinéma Enchanté, or The Angel Pop, all about the eternal theme of „sighing sighs, holding hands“, as American songwriter Johnny Mercer put it all those years ago. At FS headquarters, everybody has a crush on Marina, and according to a British reviewer, she recently performed at East London’s Cargo club in her slip only. As if her voice weren’t enough. But you’re right: Wished we’d been there.

Marina Celeste – Le Vent dans les Voiles

FS in The Guardian

Hello dear Guardian-readers, thanks for checking out Blog Jam, and welcome to FillesSourires. We’re in the middle of counting down the 10 Sexiest Women in French Music Today, tomorrow we’ll publish the number one. Feel free to check out all the posts here, if you want to know more there’s a FAQ. In case you’re wondering if we’re really blogging since 2005, check out our old blog. Hope to see you more often!

10 Sexiest Women in French Music Today (3)

The patroness, who presides with her beautiful eyes over this site, came third in our round-up of sexiest French singing girls.

3. Coralie Clément

Coralie’s first album, Salle des pas perdus, still stands as a classic. Jazzy, sultry, with touches of bossa nova and Michel Legrand-like swing. An album like a lazy Sunday afternoon, best spent on cool white sheets in the shady bedroom. Benjamin Biolay wrote and produced it all for his kid sister. CC made two more albums, the ukelele-based Toy Store and the rockin’ Bye Bye Beauté. Stand-out cd’s too, that somehow did not bring her the fame she deserves. She’s versatile, she’s beautiful, her whispering is ultra-sexy (listen to Beau Fixée), she wrote a blogpost for us (here) – she should record more. And why, Lord, are there only very short clips of these two great songs on YT?

Coralie Clément – L’ombre et la lumière