Sylvester, host of Het Chanson on Dutch Concertzender, is an FS-regular. This is his countdown:
Father Christmas reigns more than ever in France. Patrick Bruel, Johnny Hallyday, Françoise Hardy, Nolwenn Leroy, Salvatore Adamo, Cali, Francis Cabrel, Julien Clerc and many other big names came with new albums in the last two months of 2012. Commercial yes, but artistically not bad. Especially one or two ballads on ‘L’Attente’, of the ageing Johnny (1943) – I wish he would finally give up ‘rock ‘n roll’ and become a full-time crooner. Also good old Adamo at the eve of his 70th birthday surprised with a charming disk: ‘La Grande Roue’, which only just fell out of my Top 10.
10. Dominique A. – Vers les lueurs
Quality songs, quality arrangements, quality band. Too bad I can’t stand the voice of Dominique Ané (1968), but songs like ‘Ostinato’ are irresistible.
9. Marie-Pierre Arthur – Aux alentours
The second album of this rough female bass guitarist and singer from Québec is has a difficult start, but becomes much better from track 4: ‘Pour une fois‘.
8. Stephan Eicher – L’envolée
Demure album of the renowned Swiss musical wizard, perfect for an evening alone, snowed in on the top of a mountain.
7. La Grande Sophie – La Place du fantôme
I like this album of refreshing pop songs, if only because it contains an homage to my favourite medium: ‘Ma radio’.
6. Juliette Gréco – Ça se traverse et c’est beau…
Beautiful concept-album about the bridges of Paris by the 85 year old legend, once the muse of Saint-Germain des Prés. Highlight: ‘Paris se rêve’, a duet with the rapper Féfé.
5. Zebda – Second tour
Successful restart of this multicultural band from Toulouse. Their lyrics are committed but not always directly political. ‘Les deux écoles’, for example, is about the fundamental choice many youngster face when they approach the age of reason: do I want to fill my brains, or my pockets.
4. Ridan – Madame la République
Another committed album which was issued at the eve of the French presidential elections. The single ‘Ah les salauds!’ was banned from French radio, because it left too little to our imagination: ah the bastards!
3. Barcella – Charabia
Cheerful second album of this 30 year old singer from Reims, whose real name is Mathieu Ladevèze. Great lyrics, great voice, great music, very good indeed.
2. Françoise Hardy – L’amour fou
At 68 La Hardy is still the wallflower she was half a century ago in ‘Tous les garçons et les filles’, but much too elegant to be pathetic. Lovely heartbreaking as ever on her latest album; my favourite is the title track.
1. Barbara Carlotti – L’amour, l’argent, le vent
Carlotti has a fantastic voice, which was professionally trained at a conservatory.
Although approaching 40, this is only her 3rd album, after a debut ep in 2005. It’s full of exciting, sonorous and slightly mysterious beauties.