J’écris ce poste directement de ma chambre à Paris.
And, in honor of spring break in Paris, I present you with a few of my top French albums (7 of them, because I couldn’t narrow it down to 5). These are French albums near and dear to my heart, some classics (and maybe slightly cliché) but still fantastic. In no particular order:
7. Air—Talkie Walkie (2004)
Maybe sort of obvious to list Air as # 7 on the list, but Air is great and actually well-loved by the French. I could have put Moon Safari instead, but Walkie Talkie features “Alone in Kyoto” so my fondness for Sofia Coppola trumps here. Also, this album may or may not have been named after “Le Talkie Walkie” by Serge Gainsbourg, another favorite on my list.
6. Stereo Total—Musique Automatique (2001)
I love Stereo Total and I love this album. Technically, while they’re not entirely French (the duo is 1/2 German), they make my list for fantastic songs like “Kleptomane” a song about a kleptomaniac.
“alors j’ai piqué du chocolat, un agenda, un pyjama, et plus que ça…”
5. Yelle—Pop-Up (2007)
Ok, I guess it’s sort of lame to put Yelle on this list, as she’s really over-played and all that, but I couldn’t get enough of this album when it was first released, and she’s so cute! This album reached #61 on the French charts, not bad!
4. Oui Oui—Chacun Tout Le Monde (1989)
This is Michel Gondry’s (director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Science of Sleep, etc.) band before he got famous as a director. This album is on this list mostly because of the music videos…which are all incredible. Look up “Les Adventures de Junior et la Voix d’Or” on youtube, so good.
3. Erik Satie—Gymnopédies (c. 1888)
Not really an album, per se, but Erik Satie was an incredible composer (and later part of the French Dada movement). He is considered one of the first minimalists. Gymnopédies is an amazing series of compositions that typifies that era of revolutionary French music. They were later orchestrated again by Debussy (who should have made it on this list, but got beat out by Satie).
2. Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin— Je t’aime Moi Non Plus (1969)
Serge Gainsbourg was a French icon, even though by the end of his life he started to seem more and more like a dirty old drunk Frenchman. This album is great, and includes the title track “Je t’aime Moi Non Plus” which was a worldwide hit, and apparently features Birkin and Gainsbourg, then lovers, having sex in the studio during the song. The rest of the album is great too, Birkin’s sexy, airy vocals are oh-so 60’s fantastic (even though she’s not actually French by origin, she does a good job faking).
1. Monade—A Few Steps More (2005)
Monade is a post-rock group originated as a side project of Lætitia Sadier, 1/2 of Stereolab. A Few Steps More is like Stereolab but better, pure French fantastic-ness.
Voilà! Voici a few of my favorites. There are many more, but I should be out in the city instead of in my room writing blog posts. Enjoy!