2015 Année Erotique

stellaSebwax is one of the regulars of formidable bootlegger hideaway BootlegsFR who also participated in La Masheillaise; the guy has a quite rewarding website as well. His amalgam of French hip-hoppers NTM and Gainsbourg’s „Je t’aime“ is as fresh in 2015 as it was when released two years ago.

Sebwax – Serge est encore là (93 vs 69)

Always in for a soixante-neuf, fellow mash-up artist DRA’man fuses Serge with Missy Elliot … Jeez, that sounds like an awful lot of fucking, just like bro-in-mind Serge intended it to be.

DRA’man – 69 Lick Shots

Talking Gainsbourg, how about a splendid instro version of La Javanaise you always wanted to hear, but were afraid to ask? French classical guitarist/ composer Roland Dyens makes an intimate song an even more intimate experience.

Roland Dyens – La Javanaise

For adepts of The Order of the Fragile Vocals: A no less inspired Javanaise version by stunning blonde Stella Le Page (see b&w pic), including an equally ravissant cello and Cinemascope arrangement. Eat your heart out, CdP.

Stella Le Page – La Javanaise

Quite more mundane is Harry J’s fairground loop Je t’aime version from 1969’s Liquidator album, probably the incentive for Serge to try again reggae-style with Sly & Robbie on Aux Arms et Caetera. Caution: Rrralph’s Vomit Bag required after three rounds of listening.

Harry J All Stars – Je t’aime

Last not least for the Sixty-Niner’s nephew. Serge’s nephew Alain Zaoui, but record-wise, Monsieur Alain Ravaillac for you. In 1982, SG produced Ravaillac’s sleaze funk epic La Discométhèque with Goblin-like synth sounds and the immortal opening: „La queue à la main, joint au bec, la Discométhèque“. An overdose of testosterone poetry that Serge commented with a single word: Brill.

Alain Ravaillac – La Discométhèque

Best of 2014 (part 8)

fillemystereGee. Last year’s choice was an easy one, crisp, inspiring, animating. But 2014? Maybe I’ve missed out on the really wow albums and songs, but … Salome? Nope. Coralie? Naah. Even Vanessa C. sounded like she caught the more-of-the-same disease, and Stéf Lapointe’s Les amours parallèles was, sorry, Guuz, fourteen fragile touches too much, surely the worst Lolita impersonation I’ve heard in many anni horribili. The most consistent, if quite conservative album concept of 2014 doubtless was Fredda’s Le chant de murmures, a coolly slumberous and laidback Americana hommage heading straight to Paris, Texas, including a highly charming cover version of Francoise Hardy’s Träume.

The song of the year is so fuckin’ Eighties bébé disco pop that even the most technically advanced time machine would immediately crash in the stroboscope blizzard. Especially listen to the no-wave guitar. Actually, the song is from 2013, but what the hell. And now try your music recognition app, s’il vous plait.

See You in 2015

Françoise 70 (13): Hardy/ Dewaere

franpatrFrançoise H. knew ’em all, and among her countless duet partners also was Patrick Dewaere, probably the most gifted French actor of his generation – see Blier’s Les Valseuses, Corneau’s Série Noire, or certainly Granier-Deferre’s Adieu Poulet. Still a legend today, though virtually unknown outside of France, Dewaere called it quits on July 16, 1982, after a phone call from his wife Elsa who had run away to Guadeloupe with his best friend Coluche; the tragi-cynical dénouement being that Dewaere shot himself with a calibre .22 rifle that he had received as a gift from Coluche not long before. When Hardy heard of his suicide, she doubtless recalled the moment when she had seen Dewaere – a nobody then – perform a decade ago at the famous Café de la Gare, where she had also asked him if he had a song for her. In 1971, they recorded T’es pas poli (You’re Not Polite). It’s not a very good song, but a charming one, and among all those interchangeable daughter-in-law schlager ditties in Hardy’s œuvre a different, peculiarly private and precious moment.

Françoise Hardy/ Patrick Dewaere – T’es pas poli

Raphaël – Chanson pour Patrick Dewaere

Morphée Carla Dance 2013 Year List (5)

liminanas_medium_imageThere’ve been better years in French music, but we’ve seen worse. So: Loads of retro, a bit of tongue play, an actress you probably never heard about (I hadn’t), one of Steve’s faves, a Biarritz gang in love with Germany’s capital, and of course a few little French songs.

11. Actually, Vanessa’s Love Songs were a bit of a letdown, especially the Biolay chansons. The most fun is the Glam-inspired Mi Amor, written by BB Brunes’ Adrien Gallo.

Vanessa Paradis – Mi Amor

10. La Masheillaise 1 & 2. If you’re into Gallic pop bâtard, this is the thing for you. Two mash-up compilations featuring few flakes, part playful nonsense, part premier cool. Free download here and there, FS favorite being:

Chocomang – Quel Modèle Veux-Tu

09. The Limiñanas, Costa Blanca. Pictured. More of the same, but still an intriguing blend of hypno guitar minimalism, tongue-in-cheek morbidezza and cinemascope retromania, think Mazzy Star with Edie Sedgwick on vocals, lysergic style.

Limiñanas – Votre Coté Yéyé M’emmerde

08. Jeanne Balibar, Slalom Dance. An album from 2006 I discovered only this year, definitely not the kind of stuff you’d expect of a singing actress, gritty, eccentric, touching, think Gréco produced by Alain Bashung. Balibar also did a fine version of La putain for the compilation project Autour de Reggiani in 2002.

Jeanne Balibar – Sex & Vegetables
Jeanne Balibar – La Putain

07. Hotel Morphée, Des Histoires des Fantômes. A bit too folky for my tastes, but Laurence Nerbonne is a spellbinding – and peculiarly sexy – raconteuse amidst the overcast aura of this gloomy Canadian sunday. Music to listen to with the shades drawn.

Hotel Morphée – La Bête et la Mitraille

06. Malcolm McLaren, Paris. Almost twenty years old, this one was the most-played record on my turntables this year. For some reason, I never had heard of it, and therefore it qualifies as brand new, as witty, literate, upper-class British and intertextual as it gets. Blame it on my awful tastes.

Malcolm McLaren – Miles and Miles of Miles Davis

05. Charles Trenet. Of course, we celebrated the 100th birthday of Trenet in 2013, the national idol who wrote La Mer on a train ride in twenty minutes, writer of almost a thousand chansons, surrealist, poet, entertainer, genius. Here’s his take on immortality again.

Charles Trenet – L’âme des Poètes

04. Helena Noguerra, Année Zero. An uneven one with a two or three bummers, but breathing a hidden, clandestine charm, also featuring one of the most beautiful chansons for some years to come: Appelle moi, written in collaboration with her ex-husband Katerine, a heartbreaker of a song about yesterday, today, and forever.

Helena Noguerra – Ceux Que J’ai Embrassés
Helena Noguerra – Appelle Moi

03. Carla Bruni, Little French Songs. Bruni’s best album, a ravissante roundup of perfect earworms, the ultimate love song for the really big guns (Mon Raymond), a gorgeous shit-eating grin, and a superb Italian version of Charles Trenet’s Douce France.

Carla Bruni – Dolce Francia
Charles Trenet – Douce France

02. Alka, La Première Fois. Maybe someday somebody will find an explanation why this one went down the drain. Oscillating between libido opera, Jane B. breathlessness, highly infectious funk and holy intimacy, La Première Fois is chock-full of vibrant grooves and feels like a long wet kiss on the mouth.

Alka – Pas la Peine Te Dire Adieu

01. La Femme, Psycho Tropical Berlin. Despite the tacky cover and daft title, this is it. The most catchy album of 2013, shamelessly retro, openly aggressive, super girlish, the ideal instrument to club oneself to death. That baise-moi beat rips your shirt off and goes right for … well, you tell me.

La Femme – Amour dans le Motu

Novembre Toute L’Année

amantsparaFive years have passed since Vincent Delerm’s Quinze Chansons, a premier album including the downright gorgeous Et François de Roubaix dans le dos. Echoes of Roubaix can also be heard on Ils avaient fait les valises dans la nuit from his new CD Les Amants Parallèles which tells an histoire d’amour between un garçon et une fille in thirteen songs – actually, quite a melancholy tale with predominantly monochrome and (g)rainy moods. Though fine chansons like Robes, featuring Moriarty singer Rosemary Standley as raconteuse, capture the forlorn feel perfectly, Delerm gets a bit lost in his November frame of mind. And with hardly more than half an hour playing time, this love story is already over when most wouldn’t even have begun.

Vincent Delerm – Ils avaient fait les valises dans la nuit
Vincent Delerm – Robes

Faux French Fellas

amourettesThe masterminds behind Les Chauds Lapins are New York’s Meg Reichardt and Kurt Hoffman who formerly worked with indie celebs They Might Be Giants or the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The songs of chanson genius Charles Trenet – »our quintessential art-pop guy« – inspired them to found their very own rive gauche French music hall of mirrors, echoing the surrealist wit of the 20s and 30s. Their 2011 album Amourettes features the funny, cheeky and irresistibly swingin’ Je t’aime, a vocal version of Django Reinhardt’s Swing ’39 with lyrics by the unforgotten Jacques Larue. If you’re looking for the missing link between faux French fellas Pink Martini and Nous Non Plus, this is it – a folie du jour to boot, and certainly a most sexy one.

Les Chauds Lapins – Je t’aime

François & Françoise

The new François Ozon movie, Jeune & Jolie, features four chansons by FS favorite Françoise Hardy, among them the solemn Première rencontre from 1973. Caution: Don’t listen sans parapluie et dix mouchoirs.

Deconstructing Pablo

utelempIn the 70s, his verses always lay right beside the diaphragm on the bed stand: Pablo Neruda’s Collected Love Poems were the latest chic among cultivated female students, and some of them later even recognized that the Chilean Nobel Prize laureate of 1971 was hardly more than a pompous cheesemeister. German singer/ diseuse Ute Lemper obviously did not. Her brand-new album with the cheapo title Forever, erm, celebrates the works of Neruda in a quite singular manner one might call Ute-style. Lemper, who also was in charge of production, artistic concept and compositions, is undoubtedly out to transcend the poetry as well as the music. And delivers: Each and every title sounds like an expressionist exercise in speech therapy, an endless progression of blubbering, wailing, seething and Kunstlied whining, the French language opener La nuit dans l’ile additionally being garnished with an unhealthy dose of bandoneon and tango kitsch. Reportedly, Kaas chante Piaf didn’t have the hoped-for effect at Guantánamo. Probably they’ll give it another go with the Fräuleinwunder experience.

Ute Lemper – La nuit dans l’ile

The Seductive Skills of Miss Panton

secondAnother Canadienne, a sexy redhead being heralded to sound »like the sweetest bird you’ll ever hear« – probably a bit too much promo praise, though we’re certainly dealing with a fille fragile to boot here. Diana Panton’s fourth album, To Brazil With Love, pays homage to bossa nova and the sounds of Baden Powell, Jobim or Marcos Valle, including also five French language versions of Brazilian song material, among them a welcome adaptation of Samba Saravah with vibraphone swing, and a classy reworking of the lesser known, but equally immortal Tu sais je vais t’aimer a.k.a. Eu sei que vou te amar, written in 1970 by Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, with French lyrics by Georges Moustaki.

Diana Panton – Samba Saravah
Diana Panton – Tu sais je vais t’aimer

The Holydrug Couple

Apt name for this band/ duo from Santiago, Chile that transforms Serge & Jane’s Je t’aime into a spaced-out psych-popper somewhere between the realms of Procol Harum and Tame Impala. And while we’re already floating on the psychedelic pillow, don’t forget to feed your mind with the Wooden Shjips‘ version of Gainsbourg & Bardot’s Contact.