Interesting feature in The Guardian, a list of 10 songs that catch the diversity and Frenchness of French pop throughout the decades. Some excellent choices, the challenge is of course to better this list. I would’ve traded Sylvie Vartan for Jacques Dutronc, changed Mylène Farmer for Keren Ann or Coralie Clément and I would leave out Nicoletta, and add Le 22 Bar by Dominique A. and Francoiz Breut, as the official start of la nouvelle scene Française. Or maybe add Les Négresses Vertes. Or Camille. Or Benjamin Biolay. Not as easy as you think.
Post your lists (with explanation!) in the comments.

Written by guuzbourg

French girls, singing. No, sighing. Making me sigh. Ah.

This article has 10 comments

  1. BRUNO

    Not so easy, even for a french boy who lives with pop since he’s 12.

    – Gainsbourg – everything (ok, all Melody Nelson if it’s too much…)
    – F. hardy – la Question
    – Taxi Girl – Je rêve encore de toi (Velvet Underground french version)
    – Dominique A – L’Amour
    – Jean-louis Murat – Par mégarde
    – Katerine – Je vous emmerde/Louxor
    – Cali – Pensons à l’avenir
    – Benjamin Biolay – Trash Yéyé (all the album; oh ok, well, all his music)
    – Motion soundtrack from the movies “Les chansons d’amour” & “Les bien aimés”
    – Emilie Simon:Fleur de saison

    @SteveinSoCal: Mylene Farmer? is that a jock???

  2. Olivier

    Françoise Hardy – Dans le monde entier
    Michel Polnareff – Tous les bateaux, tous les oiseaux
    Michel Sardou – Une fille aux yeux claires
    Yves Simon – Diabolo menthe
    Jean-Jacques Goldman – Au bout de mes rêves
    France Gall – Ella elle l’a
    Alain Souchon – Foule Sentimentale
    Les Innocents – L’autre Finistère
    Olivia Ruiz – La femme chocolat
    Zazie – Je suis un homme

  3. SteveinSoCal

    I know, but you also knew that I’d bite! 🙂

  4. guuzbourg

    (2) That said, it IS an interesting challenge. The hard part, I think, is to come up with artists to cover the bestest parts of the 90s and 00s.

  5. guuzbourg

    @Steve I was merely pointing out the uneasy task of putting together a list of just 10 songs to cover over 60 years of French pop. Every name you drop leads to more names.

  6. SteveinSoCal

    Guuz – you couldn’t resist having a pop at Mylene on the pages of The Guardian – shame on you… Frankly, any mention of the (recent) history of French pop without mentioning Mylene Farmer would render such an article meaningless. Regardless of whether you like her or not, she has remained relevant, has constantly re-invented herself and took a huge risk with her last album “Bleu Noir” without long-term collaborator Laurent Boutonnat, producing arguably her strongest and most-confident album since “Innamoramento”.

    Keren Ann? Love her to bits – but it’s interesting to note that her recent albums have been in English only and on last year’s US tour had to be almost cajoled to sing anything (one song!)from her (arguably) superior French language albums. Coralie Clement? The only album widely available hhere in the States is Toystore, which rates a 3.0 on the “Meh” scale

    What I would agree with is how difficult – impossible – this is. I couldn’t list my top 10 Mylene songs, that alone ten from the past few decades of a whole language!

    From my perspective, any histoire without France Gall, Niagara, Les Rita Mitsouko, Zazie, Yelle, Axelle Red, Jean Jacques Goldman (lest I be accused of only being interested in les filles), – even the cheesy punk of Telephone or Les Calamites (good call, alextwist) is pretty meaningless, but is going to take more than 10 songs!

    And why limit yourself to artists from France (or Europe), I’d argue that some of the most innovative and relevant French music today is coming from Quebec.

  7. Seb Seb

    Impossible to choose.

  8. alextwist

    let’s go for this

    Jacques Dutronc – on nous cache tout on nous dit rien
    France Gall – poupée de cire poupée de son
    Nino Ferrer -madame robert
    Ophiucus – univers
    Marie et les Garçons – rebop
    Taxi Girl – cherchez le garçon
    Les Calamités – le supermarché
    Gamine – shandy street
    Les Coronados – revanche
    Les Shades – l’enfant prodige