Doubtless there have been more captivating years in French music, and actually, it was more a year of single songs than of entire albums. It was a sexy landscape anyway, full of signs and wonders, and populated by so many people finding their voice. Maybe for you as well.
10. Raphaël, Super-Welter. Raphaël’s Chanson pour Patrick Dewaere is one of the most heartbreaking French songs ever. It’s not on this album which obviously deals with his new faible for boxing. Now he sounds like the missing link between Lou Reed, Bowie and Bashung.
09. Françoise Hardy, L’amour Fou. Always hated her nice girl schlager attitude. She was so much older then, she’s younger than that now.
08. Olivier Bloch-Lainé, Mercredi. I listened to this one about a year ago for the first time, at Vaea’s flat in the Marais, and it has never left me since. Fuck 2012. It’s 1976, so ultra-tender like it’s never gonna be again.
07. La Femme, Paris 2012. Surfin’ the asphalt jungle, riotous, juvenile and way cool. Along with Mathieu Boogaert’s Avant que je m’ennuie and Sebastien Tellier’s Cochon Ville video of the year: Say au revoir to the Eiffel Tower.
06. Dionysos, Bird’n’Roll. Mathieu Malzieu doing the Phantom of the Time Warp Picture Show, rollercoaster sonique style, and of course the French never understood what rock’n’roll is about (me neither). The right approach for a grand spectacle.
05. Juliette Gréco, Ca se traverse est c’est beau … Direction liberté. A saint who hasn’t forgotten about la revolution. Adult cinéma including the finest hommage to proto-surrealist poet Guillaume Apollinaire ever written.
04. Daphne, Treize chansons de Barbara. Norman Lebrecht once stated that French chanson legend Barbara was »all about the unsaid«. Daphne’s album is nothing less than a highly intimate approach to the spirit of the animal triste.
03. The Limiñanas – Crystal Anis. From Perpignan, Dept. Pyrénées-Orientales: The Limiñanas (see album cover above) throw Morricone, Gainsbourg and Fabienne Delsol in the garage blender and shake it, psychedelic sex groove style. Cool as shit, and featuring the sharpest fuzz guitar around.
02. Bertrand Burgalat – Toutes directions. Maybe BB follows one or two routes too many, but the ride includes Bardot’s Dance, an extremely infectious 70s style electro/ disco sweeper, as well as the irresistible Sous les colombes de granit, easily qualifying as one of the premier chansons of the year.
01. Marie-Pierre Arthur – Aux Alentours. Catchy melodies, gritty riffs and sweet, at times angelic moods. Aux Alentours is a revelation, starting in Reference Alley, but heading straight to Reinvention Boulevard in that Grand State of the Art.
See you in 2013.