Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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2013 Winter playlist, Part 2

You’re welcome, greater Paris region. I’m pretty sure that by closing my 2013 Winter playlist last week, I singlehandedly brought spring to this part of the world.

Winter 2013, Part 2.1

  1. Fanfarlo, “A Distance” (2013) — a-ha for a new generation.
  2. Favored Nations, “The Setup” (2013) — all about the bass line.
  3. FEMME, “Fever Boy” — like the best possible version of The Go-Gos
  4. Gaëtan Roussel, “La simplicité” — see here.
  5. Grizzly Bear, “Speak In Rounds” (2013) — in an alternate universe, this would be on the B-side of Pink Floyd’s Obscured By Clouds.
  6. HAERTS, “All The Days” (2013) — strummy bass line + ethereal voice.
  7. John Newman, “Cheating” (2013) — piano + Gnarls Barkley.
  8. The Killers, “Shot At The Night” (2013) — like pretty much all their songs.
  9. Labrinth, “Express Yourself” (2013) — funky, electro-swing.
  10. Lorde, “Buzzcut Season” (2013) — Suzanne Vega + The xx.
  11. Luca Vasta, “Cut My Hair” (2013) — Germany’s Lykke Li and Ich mag diese.

Winter 2013 Part 2.2

  1. MØ, “XXX 88” (2013) — Danish singer, sultry and similar to other female singers I like.
  2. Nicole Atkins, “Girl You Look Amazing” (2013) — Chrissie Hynde for a new generation.
  3. NoNoNo, “Pumpin’ Blood” (2013) — whistling + Icona Pop / Sophie Ellis-Bextor sound.
  4. Pharrell Williams, “Happy” (2014) — why this album took so long to come out is a mystery to me.
  5. The Rapture, “No Sex For Ben” (2013) — if you like LCD Soundsystem or Radio 4 (the band).
  6. Satellite Stories, “Campfire” (2013) — The Postal Service + Friendly Fires.
  7. Trails and Ways, “Como Te Vas” (2013) — they describe themselves as “bossa nova dream pop.”
  8. Wankelmut & Emma Louise, “My Head is a Jungle” (2013) — another great biking/twirling song.
  9. Wolf Colony, “Holy” (2013) — melancholy piano.
  10. The Wombats, “Your Body Is A Weapon” (2013) — kind of The Futureheads + Artic Monkeys
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2013 Winter playlist, Part 1

[This season’s playlist is really long (partly because this winter is never-ending) so I’m breaking it up and sharing at least the first bunch of tracks now. Otherwise, the post would be too unwieldy.]

This was the first time in many years that I’ve been in the US and able to share a lot of my music with friends. I mentioned to them that Shazam, the amazing app that identifies songs after listening to a few seconds, sometimes doesn’t recognize the songs I want it to. I figure this is probably because my European radio selections aren’t in whatever database Shazam pulls from. This makes me sad because then I have to do additional research (extra work = bad), but the American perspective seemed to be that I must be hearing super cool music.

This anecdote presented to you as an example of why I can’t imagine living in the US again. If my own friends, carefully chosen from the available selection of people for how few fucks they give about such things, are now concerned with how hip and ahead of the mainstream they are… all is lost to me.

Even before this last trip, I was pretty much decided against the country. The whole continent snubbed Kings of Leon’s first three studio albums and four EPs! How could I ever be expected to return to a populace with such poor judgement?*

Anyway, here are some songs and almost all of them are actually from 2013 which is rare. Could the music world finally be coming around to my way of dancing? 2014 really is the year of everything coming up Milhouse!

2013 Winter Playlist 1

  1. Arcade Fire, “Reflektor” (2013) — I don’t really like Arcade Fire but this one’s got actual Bowie on it! Bowie!
  2. Arctic Monkeys, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” (2013) — AM are getting better with time.
  3. Atlas Genius, “If So” (2013) — happy jumpy danceable music.
  4. Beatsteaks, “Atomic Love” (2004) — 80s + Mighty Mighty Bosstones as interpreted by a German band.
  5. The Boxer Rebellion, “Diamonds” (2013) — Interpol + Editors, heavy bass guitar.
  6. Caged Animals, “Cindy & Me” (2013) — crazy polka/dance/funk [no video or links available — wth?].
  7. The Chain Gang of 1974, “Sleepwalking” — The Killers + Editors.
  8. Chlöe Howl, “No Strings (Moto Blanco Remix)” — I want to report this song to the authorities for being too damn danceable.
  9. Chlöe Howl, “Paper Heart” — great pop breakup song. She’s gonna be a big deal, I think.
  10. Cut Copy, “Free Your Mind” (2013) — Deee-Lite + Depeche Mode + Talking Heads. Engineered in a lab to make me have a SERIOUS DANCE PARTY.
  11. The Derevolutions, “Yell It Out!” (2013) — like The Go! Team (peppy and lots of sampling).
  12. Exabyte, “Chapel of The Robo-Priest” (2013) — if a robot sang “Golden Brown” by the Stranglers.

*There was that whole 2004 presidential election thing too. Those people are idiots. 


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2013 Summer Playlist

Summer officially ended over the weekend. The weather turned here a few weeks ago, but I was too wrapped up in reading everything on the Internet to consider that it might be a good time to close out the 2013 Summer Playlist.

The only thing I have to say for myself this time is that since I wasn’t online for two whole months, I didn’t get a chance to hear a lot of new stuff.

2013 Summer Playlist

  1. Arctic Monkeys, “R U Mine?” — if you like AM, Bloc Party, Hard-Fi, etc. this is more of that.
  2. Awolnation, “Sail” — like Muse, but good.
  3. Daft Punk, “Get Lucky” — this is the song that will endure as the song of the summer.
  4. Fitz and the Tantrums, “Out of My League” — if John Hughes were still alive, he’d score a teen comedy to this song.
  5. Kings of Leon, “Wait For Me” — someday, I’m going to stop loving KoL as much as I do.
  6. Kings of Leon, “Supersoaker” — this year isn’t going to be when that happens.
  7. Owl Eyes, “Pumped Up Kicks” — Aussie girl covers a 2011 Spring Playlist selection and makes it more fun.
  8. Reptile Youth, “Speeddance” — this song makes me vogue.
  9. San Cisco, “Fred Astaire” — the happiest of the bunch, kinda like Vampire Weekend.
  10. Andre 3000 and Beyoncé, “Back to Black” — is it wrong that I like this Amy Winehouse cover better?
  11. will.i.am, “Bang Bang” — I’ll grant that the lyrics are terrible, but it’s very catchy.
  12. Woodkid, “I Love You” — a French guy who sings Wall of Sound-ish tunes in English.

The back catalog: 2012 Winter, 2012 Summer


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French Bandstand: Elle me dit

Bienvenue à French Bandstand! This is where I adopt the motto established by Dick Clark on “American Bandstand” and introduce you to French music that’s “got a good beat and you can dance to.”

I have a Best Songs Ever playlist that’s very hard to get into. The songs must be evocative of a specific moment or time in my life as well as being able to make me happy (without fail) every time they come on. There are great sad songs, but they’re on a separate playlist because I don’t want them to come up in the rotation much due to their inherent lack of fun.

Anyway, it’s so tough to get on the list that the most recent track is from 2011. (The oldest one is “Tighten Up,” from 1968.) Today’s artist is a guy who is Lebanese and American and grew up in Paris and London but this is his first single complètement en français.

Voici, je vous présente Mika’s “Elle me dit”

Learn something

The song is called “She tells me” and is about a mother who chastises her son about how he’s wasting his life away in silly pursuits. It starts with her saying that he should write a happy song and become a millionaire and not end up like his father or his brother. (Ouch.)

The chorus, which is pretty great, begins

Elle me dit “c’est ta vie          /       She tells me, “It’s your life
fais ce que tu veux tant pis   /       do what you want, I don’t care
un jour tu comprendras       /       one day you’ll understand
un jour tu t’en voudras”      /        one day you’ll wish you had.”

And then it goes into the super jumpy dance part with repeats of “pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?” [“Why are you wasting your life?”] This is where I learned gacher [:waste, squander] which is a helluva word.


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2012 Winter Playlist

The weather’s been a bit crazy of late, but I feel that it’s safe to say that winter in northern France is over, so here are a bunch of songs you can ignore or enjoy. As a reminder, these aren’t all necessarily new songs, or even new to me, but are connected somehow to the season that just was. My 2012 Winter playlist. Links are to videos or artist sites.

2012 Winter playlist

  1. Skyfall, Adele — instantly one of the best Bond themes
  2. Locked Out of Heaven, Bruno Mars — Like a really good new Police song
  3. Feel So Close, Calvin Harris — Florence Welch does vocals on a propulsive dance beat
  4. Gold Dust (Shy FX mix), DJ Fresh — big brassy beat with a “Verve Remixed” feel
  5. The Head I Hold, Electric Guest — neo-soul with piano
  6. Calipso, Francis White — happy song with hand claps
  7. Major Happy, Fred V & Grafix — like watching the clouds go by on a sunny day
  8. Man Like That, Gin Wigmore — like Amy Winehouse but alive and Australian
  9. Two Weeks, Grizzly Bear — The Beach Boys + Caribou
  10. Don’t Save Me, Haim — The Go-Go’s if they’d had a heavy bass line
  11. Sexual Healing, Hot 8 Brass Band — An amazing brass band cover of the Marvin Gaye classic
  12. Heartbeat, JJAMZ — happy girl version of The Cure
  13. I Wish It Was Christmas Today, Julian Casablancas — The Strokes’ frontman covers one of SNL’s Xmas songs
  14. Disintegration (Mike Luck remix), Monarchy — makes you want to close your eyes and spin
  15. Otherwise, Morcheeba — Morcheeba is like James Bond’s house band with heavy orchestration, sexy vocals and brass
  16. Origins, Tennis — soul + early 60s
  17. Secret Weapon, The Whip — like something Michael Mann would have put on Miami Vice
  18. Skirts, The Other Tribe — like Erlend Øye and Miike Snow (not a typo)

Summer 2012 playlist is here.