New Benjamin Biolay album

Benjamin Biolay released an album with Charles Trenet covers, including a duet with Vanessa Paradis (in J’ai ta main). This is the first single:

Alka Balbir

Alka BalbirAlka-Balbir-talons-334x500 is a French actress and singer (and girlfriend of Justice’s Gaspard Auge). Her album drops after summer (on Naive), she sings in a very Isabella Adjani-an style on the new album by French electronica experts Chateau Marmont. See a very enchanting, subtitled interview with Alka here. See this clip by Lafayette as well. And see her in a very sexy red dress, duetting with Benjamin Biolay, here. French interview here. (Merci Sami!)

Chateau Marmont & Alka Balbir – Affaire Classée

10 Sexiest Women in French Music Today (5)

We’re approaching #1 of our list of the ten sexiest French singing filles today. On the number 5 spot, a fiery seductress.

5. Élodie Frégé

To quote acclaimed Dutch biologist Midas Dekkers, ‘Red-haired women are the comfort par excellence for everthing that went wrong with creation.’ Look at the picture above. Don’t you want to be comforted by Élodie? If you’re not convinced yet, watch this clip from the movie Potiche, in which she plays a younger version of Cathérine Deneuve. The latter tells her husband (yep, Depardieu) that she cheated on him. Several times. Élodie re-enacts the adultery. She doesn’t speak, but boy, is her acting convincing. She’s a temptress (with an excellent voice, we might add), as this supersexy video for La Ceinture showed earlier – keep watching until the end! Heck, her third album La fille d’après-midi is all about being the girl on the side. It’s a theme we hope she will explore some more.

Elodie Frégé – La fille d’après-midi

Julia Stone & Benjamin Biolay

Honey-voiced Australian singer Julia Stone teamed up with French hero Benjamin Biolay for the first single off of her new sophomore album, By The Horns. A rework of Julia’s single Let’s forget all the things that we say. The album, by the way, also features a cover of The National’s Bloodbuzz Ohio. Album’s out in May, this single is, as far as I know, only available in France.

Julia Stone & Benjamin Biolay – Let’s forget

Best of Biolay

The Best of Benjamin Biolay is out now, featuring one inédit. Solid tracklist, though I’m not a fan of that electronically enhanced version of Los Angeles, and I would’ve include Little Darlin’ (from Négatif) and the Lendemains-duet with Françoise Hardy. Still, this Best Of is an impressive body of work, it confirms his status as one of France’s greatest songwriters. He should be one of Europe’s best loved artists, in my opinion. How can you NOT love a guy who wrote songs like La Superbe, Les cefs volants, Négatif and La ballade du mois de juin? In 2008 I made a mix of inédits and songs BB wrote or produced for others. Shall I re-up that? You can download that from HERE (Wetransfer-link)

Benjamin Biolay – L’eau claire des fontaines

Isabelle Boulay

Les Grands Espaces, Isa Boulay’s new album, is produced by Benjamin Biolay.  He plays various instruments, most notably organ and trumpet on the Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra-cover Summer Wine. And yes, Biolay takes on the Hazlewood-role of the silver spurred cowboy who’s seduced by the ‘strawberries, cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring’. Biolay, singing in English. Not for the first time, but hopefully this is where it ends. I don’t mind Frenchies singing in English, but Ben sounds like a comedian. Try for yourself via this streaming service. The Bio-Boulay-duet aside (Isa’s team up with Dolly Parton is a quite allright), there are some great Americana-tinged tracks on Les Grands Espaces. Voulez-vous l’amour (written by Biolay) for instance, first single Fin octobre, debut novembre but the biscuit is taken by J-L Murat’s contribution, Amour aime aussi nous voir tomber. Slow, seductive, with gentle strings, twangy guitars and Isa’s burgundy voice, this says ‘autumn leaves’ like very few else.

Isabelle Boulay – Amour aime aussi nous voir tomber

Isabelle Boulay

No, Benjamin Biolay did not write Isabelle Boulay’s Fin Octobre, début Novembre, but he sure sat on the producers chair (see here and here). He produced Boulay’s new album (out Nov 8), this is the first single. Now, when it comes to Isa, there’s always some reservation. Yes, she’s absolutely gorgeous. Yes, she has a fine voice. But her songs border on bland, mainstream territory. Be that as it may, I  loved Chanson pour les mois d’hiver, I loved her duet with Julien Clerc, I can name more than a handful of other great songs by Isa. Fin Octobre, nothing wrong with that one either. Dutch biologist and writer Midas Dekkers wrote an ode to redheads, wonder if he knows Isabelle and what he thinks of her.

Isabelle Boulay – Fin Octobre, début Novembre

Benjamin Biolay

Benjamin Biolay acted before, in this film for instance, now he’s the leading men in Pourqoui tu pleures. Directed en written by Katia Lewkowicz, it’s a film about a groom getting cold feet. I haven’t seen the movie, but from what I read so far, I think this Variety-review hits the nail on the head: ‘a name cast indulging in plenty of French-style rude behavior, this not-particularly-amusing comedy of (bad) manners centered on a group of unsympathetic characters seems destined for niche domestic audiences, and is unlikely to translate in non-French lingo countries’. Biolay wrote an  album with songs used in the film, and inspired by the screenplay. It features a duet with co-star Emmanuelle Devos, and solo’s by other stars Sarah Adler and Anna Zimmer. This album comes hot on the heels of BB’s masterpiece La Superbe, in comparison this soundtrack isn’t as strong (no surprise there). There are a few solid songs, like the Barry White-styled Le Bonheur, Mon Cul and the Devos-duet. Music-wise not a highpoint in BBs career.

Benjamin Biolay & Emmanuelle Devos – Pourqoui tu pleures

La Fiancée

Cover-albums. Usually a sign of artistic fatigue (like the double live album), but Claire La Fiancée is just starting. And because the songs on her first two EP’s (especially the first one, that ended high in the FS Yearlist in 2009; see here) were fresh and sensual, we believe her when Claire states that on Trois she’s covering the songs she loves, her way. Songs by Benjamin Biolay (Bien Avant), It’s Immaterial (Driving away from home, a duet with original singer John J. Campbell), The Zombies (Smokey Day, that now sounds like something Serge could’ve written for Jane in the 70s), Etienne Daho (Ouverture), Brigitte Bardot (Une histoire de plage, see Claire do a live version here) and Jil Caplan (Tout ce qui nous separé). Interesting choices, very nice result. She really gave the songs a La Fiancée makeover.

La Fiancée – Tout ce qui nous separé