When you ask a French person what music they listen to, they’ll most likely rattle off a list of English-speaking artists. “Beyonce!” “AC/DC!” “Gotye!” they’ll tell you. It’s rare to hear any of them mention a French singer or band. The music that’s in ‘fashion’ for les jeunes (the young people) is English music. And most of them have no idea what the songs are about.
This used to be a really bizarre concept to me, but I’ve begun to realise that just because you don’t understand a song, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Music is much more about the actual music than the lyrics. (NOTE: Click on the titles to hear the song)
Listening to French music is a great way to study French, so you might as well find music you like 🙂 I don’t have a huge amount of French music I listen to, but I have found a few gems…
Stromae is actually Belgian but from the French-speaking part. For me the French speaking Belgian’s sound very close to mainland French and I can’t really tell the difference between his accent and the accent from a French person. His song ‘Alors on Danse’ (So we Dance) was a huge hit in France when it was released and other parts of Europe. It has a great beat, some people described his music as ‘hip hop with substance.’ His beats are very commercial but his lyrics have a surprising amount of depth.
Even if you don’t speak a word of French, you’ll probably love this song.
Who knew MIKA spoke French?! …And why am I suddenly attracted to him? 😛 Mika was actually born in Lebanon, to a Lebanese mother and American father who fled war-torn Lebanon to Paris when he was one years old. They lived in Paris until he was nine and then the family moved to London, where Mika attended a French school. As a result he is perfectly bi-lingual in French and English (he speaks both languages without any accent, the bastard).
His first major French hit ‘Elle Me Dit’ (She Tells Me) is a crazy, ‘can’t get it out of your head’ classic Mika pop song. I prefer this song to a lot of his English songs and with lyrics like ‘Are you high or are you gay?’ you’ll be humming this song at odd moments for a while.
Watch Mika talk about his song in perfect French here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_539182&feature=iv&src_vid=NiHWwKC8WjU&v=SlOKnoQR5EA
This song was featured in the last episode of ‘Sex and the City’ when Carrie temporarily moves to Paris. I’m usually not a fan of rap in general, but in French it always sounds so much nicer 🙂 I don’t know of any of MC Solaar’s other music but I love the beat in this song.
It’s also a good example of French ‘anglicisms’ and how much they like introducing English words like ‘bad boy’ into their language.
Took me while to figure out that ‘Coeur de Pirate’ (Pirate Heart) was the name of the singer and not the name of the song 😛
This girl sounds like a French Lisa Mitchell (Australian singer) to me. Her voice is very… dream like and innocent. Her music is like listening to a lullaby and you definitely don’t need to understand French to appreciate it.
Her song ‘Francis’ is very poetic and has beautiful lyrics, I’m keen to discover more of her music…