10 Good French Songs 2010
Looking for 10 good French songs 2010? These days, good French music only occasionally makes a buzz among American listeners (the soundtracks to “Amelie” and “The Triplets of Belleville” come to mind as recent examples). Here are ten good French songs from 2010 that you probably didn’t hear unless you’re a Parisian hipster or a regular on French music blogs.
- “La fille de l’après-midi” by Élodie Frégé is the title track of the young French singer’s third album released in October of 2010. The song combines Frégé’s icy, femme fetal vocals with intricate string arrangements and Beatles-esque harmonies to create something equal parts tragic and sexy.
- “P’tit Kawa” by Karimouche comes to us from the multitalented French artist’s debut album “Emballage d’origine” released in 2010. Colloquial French for “a little coffee,” “P’tit Kawa” showcases Karimouche’s rapping and singing talents, as well as her ability to incorporate a range of global sounds (gypsy music, electronica, hip-hop) into her instantly charming, distinctly French style of music.
- “De l’autre côte de miroir” by Ödland features spoken word and hushed vocals that float effortlessly over an absinthe-soaked landscape of dissonant strings, trickling piano lines and metallic percussion instruments. The result is a chilling, category-defying track that recalls the work of the late Serge Gainsbourg.
- English for “think of me,” French artist Luke’s “Pense á Moi” begins with some spoken word and light acoustic guitar before kicking up the volume with its catchy melody and poppy drum beat. The song won’t blow anyone away with its originality, but Luke’s crooning vocals, clever hooks and a laid back approach make this a solid choice for a good French song in 2010.
- On 2010’s “En Fin,” we find the versatile Cecile Hercule blending American folk music with neo-classical strings and a sprinkle of electronic instrumentation. Dark, cooing and visceral, “En Fin” begins with light acoustic guitar that quickly expands into a rich sonic and harmonic palette before entering Hercule’s gripping tune.
- The sunny, upbeat “Ce Jour La” by Fabienne Delsol is a welcome departure from the plethora of melancholy love songs released by French artists in 2010. Borrowing heavily from The Kink’s early hits catalogue, Delsol sings her retro-loving French lyrics with that coquettish, youthful charm common to all great 60s pop music.
- In 2010, France’s under rated hip-hop scene was well represented on “Quitte Moi” by veteran Oxmo Puccino. Reunited with fellow Time Bomb member Booba, Puccino essentially raps about getting older, shedding his hair and losing his prowess with women (the opening line translates to “As men get older not often do they court/Sometimes fatigue exceeds love”), yet the track never feels like a hair loss ad.
- 2010’s “Si peu comprennent ('l'être humain et le réverbère)” by Rocé is another highlight from the French rap scene. Though you won’t hear any identifiable hooks or singable chorus, Rocé’s confident and polyrhythmic delivery will likely keep you rapt even if you don’t speak a word of French. Fans of early 90s American hip-hop who also happen to be learning French simply can’t miss this one.
- On “Je Veux,” Zaz, the stage name of French singer Isabelle Geoffroy, fuses elements of soul, jazz and indie rock, though the real draw here is her throaty, moving vocal style that’s been compared to Edith Piaf. Her self-titled solo debut album wowed French music critics in 2010 and gave rise to this hit single.
- Marie Warnant may be the closest thing to a French Aimie Mann out there, and “Ritournelle” was one of her best tracks in 2010. A lilting pop song with beautiful string arrangements and moving vocals, “Ritournelle” is title track from the Belgian artist’s second full-length album.