Year lists (8)

Sorry, sorry, sorry, I’m a bit late with the year list and it looks that most of my FS-colleagues were way better and faster. But I’ll give it a shot.
There were as always disappointments; albums you waited for but that disappointed when they came out. But also pleasant surprises. Actually, there were a lot of them. It was harder to make a list of only ten albums, than a list of, say, 25 good ones. So no Austine, Brigitte, Brigitte Boisjoli,  Catherine Major, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Claire Denamur, Elsa Kopf, Ingrid St-Pierre, L. Liz Cherhal, Lou Lesage, Nous Non Plus, Yelle…
Without further ado: here is my personal top 10

(11). Karin Clercq  – Karin Clercq
A bit odd to start with a Top Ten with eleven, but I had too. when I got this EP of Karin Clercq I was very enthousiastic. Great voice great songs. I even prepared a post, but then I realised I already knew the songs. It turned out that it was an EP for the French Market with songs form her album of 2009. But still one of the highlights of 2011.

10. Lise – Lise
Played this album a lot this year. Fresh songs, pleasant voce. Unfortunately some songs in English, but the French ones are a lot better!

9. Isabelle Boulay – Les Grands Espaces
There are always artist you don’t like. Isabelle Boulay was one of them. I didn’t even bother to listen carefully, it is just “nah, not for me”.  But this year I did and I was pleasantly surprised by her album. French Americana album of the year.

8. Aurélie Cabrel – Oserais-je
One of the pleasant surprises this year. Surprisingly the highest “Daughter of” in My list. Sorry Charlotte…

7. Ödland – Sankta Lucia
European project from Lorenzo Papace, with two wonderful sisters Bingöllü.

6. Chloé Lacasse – Chloé Lacasse
First artist from Quebec on this list and certainly not the last one!

5. Stéphanie Crayencour – La garçonnière
If this list was ranking of hard to find albums, this one wold be very close to number 1. Took a lot of effort to find it, but it was worth it. Highest Belgian artist on this list. (Merci I. for your hard work again!).

4. Claire Keim – Ou il Pleuvra
Highest Claire in My list. It was close but Claire Denamur just dropped out the top 10. Poppy album but this Claire sings just like what we expect of a Fille Sourire…

3. Salomé Leclerc – Sous Les Arbres
Again an album form an artist from Quebec. What a talents are there. And they keep coming!

2. Mélanie Laurent – En t’attendant
Highest singing actress in the list (sorry again, Charlotte). Very balanced album, and just a very pleasant album to listen to. But Maks described it way better here.

1. Coeur de Pirate – Blonde
What more can I say.. as stated, there were a lot of good albums, but only one really superb album this year. And when you are so lucky to see her perform live, you can only agree: Beatrice Martin is a little diamond, that needs more recognition.


Superbien 2011 Yearlist

No, this ain’t the yearlist to end all yearlists. Actually, it was quite an interesting year, full of sleepers, slumbersome French kisses and somnolent earworms. In short, a year to wake up. It was called 2011. So, eleven for a year to remember. There you are:

11. Daphné, Moi plus vouloir dormir seule. I can’t recall any other tune from her Bleu Venise album, but you won’t get more eternity for your money.

10. DJ Le Clown, Making Plans for Houston. Not from 2011, I think, but a premier mashup hooker of a song. Sadly, the YT video meanwhile was banned due to sexual content. Serge vs. Whitney vs. XTC. Jan Willem commented: „Houston, we have a problem.“

09. Marie-Pierre Arthur, Pourquoi. The Quebec No. 1 indie smash hit that never was. Poptastic one, and Marie-Pierre’s not even my type. See also Buck 65 below.

Video here.

08. Vaea Sylvain/ François de Roubaix, Mareva. A song from the Mid-60s I’ve listened to a thousand times this year, and not available on the net. I met Vaea Sylvain in November in Paris, and it’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you some day. Maybe.

07. Nous Non Plus, Bunga Bunga. Album: Freudian Slip. The best intertextual popster band since Dutch Gruppo Sportivo in the 80s, this time with an irresistible hommage to Silvio, Imperator of the Italian Orgy.

Video here.

06. Slove, Carte Postale. Electro isn’t dead. The singer’s name is Sarah Krebs, and for 3:20 min, you can have sex, not with her, of course, but with this tune. It feels exactly like she says: „Superbien.“

05. Benjamin Biolay, Le Bonheur, Mon Cul. The album was, erm, shitty, but this is Biolay’s metamorphosis into God, and that God is fat, sweaty, sleazy, and burns up 1000 rubbers per night. Best chanson title of the year. God’s name is Barry White, for sure.

04. L, Initiale. Mademoiselle Mélo on the boulevard of broken lolitas and bohemiens, and undoubtedly the most consistent French album of the year.

03. Buck 65, Tears of My Heart. Le Nouveau Western meets Piaf and Gréco in Buck 65’s supreme collaboration with lovely Olivia Ruiz. Yo, big one. Album also features Marie-Pierre Arthur, see entry no. 9.

02. Siobhan Wilson, La Javanaise. Her 2010 debut already featured Brel’s Voir un ami pleurer, and except for Serge’s emissions avant-prèmieres version, there has been no better version of La Javanaise in fifty years.

01. La Femme, Sur la Planche. It didn’t get more hypnotic, more sexy, more sonic or more convincing in 2011, and the Biarritz-based band – a cross between the B-52’s and a knife sharpener – isn’t even signed yet. They call that sound Tropical Wave, but its other name is Retro Heaven. And that (see left) was the cover.

Yearlists 2010 (4)

Several FS-readers lists below.

John Holden:

1. Lafille – Tout attaché(e). No idea who she is, but heard this on FS.  Ceci est mon preferé.
2. Poney Express –  Palladium. Didn’t care for their first, but this is much more like it, and holds up to repeated listening very well indeed. (Video)
3. Brune –  Brune. As good as the first EP promised it would be.  Performance of the year on Taratata too. (Video)
4. Babet – Piano monstre. Je Pense À Nous rests my favorite track this year.
5. Sexy Sushi – Cyril. By turns irresistible and annoying, but more irresistible. (Video)

1. Bertrand Belin – Hypernuit. Never heard of him before. Thisis a magnificent album. (Video)
2 Disiz Peter Punk – Dans la ventre du crocodile. Rapper turns electro with astonishing results. (Video)
3. Florent Marchet – Courchevel. Every bit as good as expected. (Video)
4. Ludo Pin – Le temps nous dira. Ok, this is an EP, but more great tracks on it than on the majority of albums. (Video)
5. Suarez – L’indecideur. Not quite as good as their first, but “Qu’est-ce que j’aime ca” makes sure this gets a mention. (Video)

Gary Willis:


1. Lafille – Tout Attaché(e). Sultry, poppy, punky, sexy. I Wanna be Your Cat? Anytime.
2. Lizzy Ling – No Simili. She’s back – my first discovery via the indispensable FS (I was googling Vanessa Paradis). No Simili is an exotic mix of electro, chanson and the experimental. The beautiful La fille de l’ombre with its sparse electric piano and drumming is revisited in English to close the album. (Video)
3. Emmanuelle Seigner – Dingue. A delightfully pleasant surprise from this actress and model. Great songs including a duet with husband Roman Polanski, Qui Étes-Vous? Pure unashamed pop music.
4. Claire Diterzi – Rosa la Rouge. Another welcome return. Although obviously the music for a play based on the life of Marxist activist Rosa, there are some magical Diterzi moments – the clever percussive montage of Cellule 45, and the sublime J’etais Je Suis Je Seral. Diterzi mixes electro, Arabic, opera and Russian Army chorus with her quirky sound montages. The video for the title track in which she builds an AK47 guitar is awesome – and a reverential nod to protest singer Woody Guthrie’s “This Machine Kills Fascists” guitar. (Video)
5. Lou – Et après, on verra. Dark, minimal, sparse. Intoxicating. (Video)

Yearlists 2010 (3)

Regular guestposters and/or French music lovers we love send in their Yearlists. Here are the results:

Mordi, from Blowupdoll:
1. Alizée – Une Enfant Du Siecle. A totally underrated album full of retro casio keyboards, dark, moody disco and space-age melancholy. LOVE IT. (Video)
2. Marie Espinosa – la Demarrante. Another album I was obsessed with this year. I love the different styles of music on the album that brings together all the best bits of other french female singers. (Video)
3. Marie-Amélie – Dans Un Vertige. Having only recently been released, this has quickly become a firm favourite of mine. There are a few amazing songs that burrow into your brain and grab hold of your heart then you’ll be singing them all day long. Can’t wait for the next album. (Video)
4. Charlotte Gainsbourg – I.R.M.. I know it was released in 2009 but it was released where I am in the U.K. in 2010. Going to see her perform this year in London further cemented my Charlotte obsession. (Video)
5. Emmanuelle Seigner – Dingue. Not a perfect album, but the influence of Keren Ann results in some great songs. (Video)

And as for my top 5 male albums……..there weren’t any! Nothing has bettered Benjamin Biolay’s ‘La Superbe’ from 2009.

Thomas Bohnet, from Le Tour:
1. Babet – Piano Monstre. Second solo-album of Elisabeth ‘Babet’ Maistre, singer and multiinstrumentalist of fantastic indierockers Dionysos. Beautiful collaboration with her husband Andy Maistre, Dionysos-singer Mathias Malzieu and others. Indie-Pop meets Nouvelle Chanson and soundtrack styles. (Video)
2. Zaz – Zaz. What a voice! Smoky, full, dark and clear – succesful newcomer Zaz (No 1 in France) with songs between chanson, blues, soul and a bit of jazz. (Video)
3. Coeur de Pirate – Coeur de Pirate. This album came out in France in 2009, this year in Germany. Still a beautiful album and Béatrice Martin also showed that she is a very good live performer. (Video)
4. Françoise Hardy – La pluie sans parapluie. A nice guestlist helped the icon of French pop to release this lovely album: Arthur H,  Thierry Stremler, Jean-Louis Murat. The title song is a reprise of a song by Munichs French addict/actress/singer Nanette ‘Fouxi’ Kurz. (Video)
5. Emmanuelle Seigner – Dingue. After her rock album Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle another nice try for the actress and wife of Roman Polanski in the music world. (Video)

1. Katerine – Philippe Katerine. Masterpiece by one of the most important songwriters and singers of the French scene. An album full of humour and style, minimalistic pop and elements of French chanson, between musical slapstick and sophisticated pop. Unique, surprising. (Video)
2. Arnaud Fleurent-Didier – La reproduction. He’s a sort of a pop intellectual: AF-D wrote THE French pop song of 2010: France culture, a poetic lament about lost culture over a Gainsbourgesque soundtrack. His songs are inspired by movies, art and literature.  Good lyrics and interesting music. (Video)
3. Féloche – La vie cajun. Very special mixture of cajun and indie-pop, French chanson, rock, New Orleans-soul and jazz . Fantastic live act. (Video)
4. Féfé – Jeune à la retraite. Soloalbum of one of the rappers of famous Parisian band Saian Supa Crew. Good mix of hiphop, soul, blues and other stuff. Think of a French Arrested Development. (Video)
5. Coming Soon – Ghost Train Tragedy. French Americana and indie-folk. Reminds me on Herman Düne, Velvet Underground and Jonathan Richman. Seven young friends from of the small city of Annecy near the French alps with their second album. (Video)