French music has always been a part of my life. One of my earliest favorite songs was Jacques Brel’s Les flamandes because it’s totally upbeat and bouncy (despite having terribly sad lyrics). When my mother would play it, I would go crazy dancing around and shaking my arms trying to play air trombone. (This is extra funny since the lyrics specifically remark that the women are dancing without quivering/shaking [frémir].)
In later years, my taste in French music was heavily influenced by the songs we sang in my high school French classes once a month. Joe Dassin’s Les Champs-Elysées still resides in my Best Songs Ever playlist purely out of nostalgia.
When I got to France, I found a ton of stuff that’s really good and right in line with my general musical taste. Gaëtan Roussel’s first solo album came out around my arrival and I basically lost my shit over “Dis-moi encore que tu m’aimes” [Tell Me Again That You Love Me] because it embodies everything I love about pop music (including hand claps!).
Recently, I’ve been going deeper into the archives and coming up with amazingly awesome 80s French pop music. I vehemently disagree that the 80s was the worst decade for music — sure there was a lot of crap — but there were also incredibly enduring bass lines and beats that won’t stop till you’ve had enough.
I was in the shower recently when I heard a French New Order-ish song and I got really excited. I had a “Jiiiiimmmmmaaaaayyyy!” moment because it’s fantastic when these things happen, and they always seem to do so in the shower.
The song is Indochine’s 1985 hit, “3ème sexe” which sounds an awful lot like another track that resides in my Best Songs Ever, New Order’s 1987 “Bizarre Love Triangle.” Hear for yourself.
UPDATE: RIP Henry Hill. You were the kind of guy that made us root for the bad guys in the movies.