100 ESSENTIAL BRAZILIAN SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 7: The 2000-2010s

Contemporary music –in Brazil, France and elsewhere- has been greatly influenced by social media, video sharing and music streaming, all trademarks of the 2000s and beyond. Specifically for Brazilian music, this globalizing phenomena has had positive, as well as deleterious consequences: increased foreign songs topping the charts on one side, but also Brazilian mainstream music massively available to the rest of the world. The proof: songs like Mc Fioti’s “Bum Bum TamTam” with more than 1 billion! views on YouTube, and Michel Teló’s “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” with over 800 million views…

Despite globalization, Brazil internal music market has seen a meteoric increase in popularity of regional rhythms during this period, mainly sertanejo. Actually, sertanejo is Brazilian audiences‘ preferred music genre .

No one can deny that Brazil is a country with a powerful musical history. Going through all its music repertoire while preparing this series of articles, I can’t help but admire even more its distinct and perennial beauty. Are things changing though? Is Brazilian music going through a phase of decadence? This is an ongoing debate in the country nowadays… Many music critics are definite: today’s consumer society –they believe- leads to “consumable music”; moreover, they blame the universal predominance of sertanejo as responsible for the lack of musical diversification nowadays. “We always had good music and bad music in Brazil -says one critic- but there was a balance. At this time, at least 90% of what record companies release is totally disposable”. Some go even further and state that pagoda, sertanejo and electronic forró are “a tsunami of musical trash unprecedented in the history of Brazilian music”. Other critics are more optimistic. Véronique Mortaigne, writing an article in The Guardian, states that: “Brazil is surfing a musical new wave that is now reaching Europe”, making emphasis on the quality of certain musicians’ work “not afraid to mix the old and the new, irritating a few purists along the way”.

The debate could go on forever. What is certain is that there are still many bright examples of fine Brazilian music. Check out my list with some of the most remarkable songs of the 2000-2010s, go ahead and Brazilify” your playlist!

87) Bebel Gilberto – “Samba da Bênção” (2000) 

Bebel Gilberto is an extremely talented bossa nova singer, and it couldn’t be otherwise: she is the daughter of Joao Gilberto and Miucha, and the niece of Chico Buarque

She became worldwide known after the release of her amazing album Tanto Tempo.  This particular song was written by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell; it was featured in the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Read more here.

 

88) Pato Fu – “Ando meio desligado” (2001) 

This psychedelic anthem was composed by the iconic band Os Mutantes in 1970; it was listed by Rolling Stone Brazil as the 50th greatest Brazilian song.

Of the many re-recordings the song has had, I like this one, by the Belo Horizonte band Pato Fu.

 

89) Gabriel o Pensador – “Até Quando?(2001) 

Known for his intellectual and controversial lyrics, rapper Gabriel o Pensador (“Gabriel the Thinker”) stepped into the limelight with his provocative composition “Tô Feliz (Matei o Presidente)” [I’m Happy (I killed the President)]. He has had a highly successful career since then, topping often the charts with his gold or platinum-certified albums.

Até Quando? (“Until when?”) was released in the album Seja Você Mesmo (mas não Seja sempre o Mesmo) (“Be Yourself (but not always the same”). Its compelling lyrics address the issue of conformism. It was highly praised by most critics and received an award at Brazil’s MTV Video Music Awards.

 

90) Cássia Eller & Nando Reis – “Relicário” (2001)

Cássia Eller is one of the most successful pop singers/composers in Brazil. Owner of a distinctive contralto voice, she was rated as the 18th greatest vocalist by Rolling Stone Brasil.

This beautiful song was composed by Nando Reis and was included in the live album Acústico MTV, where she sings it together with Reis; it is Cássia’s final album before her death on December 29, 2001 at 39 years old.

 

91) Tribalistas – “Velha Infancia ” (2002)

Tribalistas is a Brazilian musical supergroup consisting of Arnaldo Antunes (ex-Titãs), Marisa Monte and Carlinhos Brown (Timbalada). Their debut collaboration resulted in the popular album Tribalistas, which attained considerable popularity in Brazil and Europe. The curious thing with this popular group is that, despite their great success, they have rarely performed together, deciding to go on a world tour just now in 2018.

Among their most popular songs are “Já Sei Namorar” (included on the video game FIFA Football 2004), “Passe em Casa“, “É Você” and “Velha Infância“, played on the Brazilian soap opera Mulheres Apaixonadas.

 

92) Paulinho da Viola & Marisa Monte – “Carinhoso” (2003)

Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Jr. was not yet Pixinguinha when he began to be called a prodigy, enchanting with his unusual musicality and facility for instruments and improvisations. Considered till nowadays a musical genius,  Pixinguinha is regarded as  one of the greatest Brazilian composers of popular music, particularly within the genre choro. “Carinhoso“,  was recorded in 1928 and has remained as one of the most famous melodies of Brazilian popular music. Incredibly enough, he received heavy negative criticism at that time, with complaints that it was “too Americanized.”

From Marisa Monte to Elizeth Cardoso, from Paulinho da Viola to Francisco Alves, from Elis Regina to Marcelo Camelo, dozens of artists made their impassioned interpretations of “Carinhoso”; one of my favorites is this one, by Marisa Monte and Paulinho da Viola.

93) Zeca Pagodinho – “Deixa A Vida Me Levar” (2004)

Zeca Pagodinho is a singer and songwriter considered a great name of the genre samba and pagode. He has recorded more than 20 albums and has become immensely popular, not only due to his irreverence and jocosity, bur mostly due to his rare talent, praised by critics and consecrated artists.

This song gives name to his 2004 album Deixa A Vida Me Levar (“Let life take me”), it was extremely successful, becoming double-platinum certified.

 

94) Sergio Mendes feat. Stevie Wonder & Gracinha Leporace – “Berimbau / Consolação ” (2006)

The berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument. Originally from Africa, it was eventually incorporated into the practice of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira. The instrument became worldwide known for being the subject matter of this song, which belongs to Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes.

Maybe one of the most famous versions of “Berimbau / Consolação ” is the one performed by Toquinho and Maria Creuza in 1970; nevertheless I love this version, featured in Sergio Mendes’ 2006 Album Timeless, with the participation of his wife, Gracinha Leporace and iconic American artist Stevie Wonder.

 

95) Vanessa Da Mata & Ben Harper – “Boa Sorte/Good Luck ” (2007)

Award-winning, chart-topping singer, composer, and novelist, Vanessa da Mata got her start writing songs for artists such as Maria Bethania and Daniela Mercury. Despite the strength of her voice, it took her several years until she finally decided to record her own material, releasing her self-titled debut in 2002. It was her next album, Essa Boneca Tem Manuel, however, that really pushed her into the limelight, aided by the strength of the single “Ai Ai Ai“. Three years later her third album, Sim, was released. Sim spawned the hit single “Boa Sorte/Good Luck“, a duet with Ben Harper, which peaked at number one in both Brazil and Portugal and was the most played song in Brazilian radio stations in 2008.

96) Criolo – “Subirusdoistiozin” (2011)

Criolo is a rapper and soul singer. With a career starting in 1989, he originally got a reputation as one of São Paulo most important rappers. After the release of his second album, “Nó na Orelha” (Knot in the ear), he saw his popularity grow beyond São Paulo to all Brazil and abroad, leading to a successful worldwide tour. He has been characterized as “ the most interesting and unruly representative of the Brazilian new wave”.

Nó na Orelha” mixes rap, afrobeat, hip hop, reggae, samba and brega. It received positive reviews and was considered the best national album of 2011 by the magazine Rolling Stone. From this album, “Subirusdoistiozin” (Two-Old-Guys-Died) is the most popular track; it describes the general waywardness of favela street culture.

 

97) Marisa Monte – “Ainda Bem” (2011)

Multi-awarded singer, composer, instrumentalist, and producer, Marisa Monte is considered one of Brazil’s greatest singers; in fact, Rolling Stone Brasil listed Monte as the second greatest singer of all time after Elis Regina. She also has two records (MM and Verde, Anil, Amarelo, Cor-de-Rosa e Carvão) among the 100 best albums of Brazilian music.

Ainda Bem (“Just as well”) belongs to her highly praised eighth record O Que Você Quer Saber de Verdade (“What do you really want to know”), was considered by Billboard Brasil the best album of 2011. Originally, “Ainda Bem” was composed by Marisa for Italian singer Mina, who included it in her 2011 album Piccolino.

 

98) Dominguinhos & Arthur Maia – “Lamento Sertanejo ” (2014)

An emblematic representative of the forro music genre, Dominguinhos has had success as a musician, both solo and as a sideman for consecrated artists like Luís Gonzaga, Caetano VelosoGilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Maria Bethânia. But also as a composer, he has produced hits recorded for some of the most important Brazilian artists; he has also written cinema soundtracks and has won four Prêmio Sharp Awards.

This is one of his biggest hits, composed in 1941. Initially instrumental, it was later re-recorded by Gilberto Gil, who wrote its lyrics. The song has received countless recordings and has been included in the soundtrack of several films and soap operas. The original version is beautiful; this version though, by Dominguinhos himself together with the great Brazilian bassist Arthur Maia, it’s just beguiling.

 

99) Adriana Calcanhotto – “Felicidade” (2015)

Adriana Calcanhotto is an MPB (Brazil popular music) singer and composer revealed in 1990, who has had great success in Brazil and helped bring MPB back to the hit parade after the 1980s’ Brazilian rock period.

Felicidade (“Happiness”) was written in 1947 by the great samba-canção composer Lupicínio Rodrigues; it was re-presented to Brazil by Caetano Veloso in 1974 who made it widely popular. Calcanhotto included it in her fourth live album Loucura (“Madness”), which is a tribute to Lupicínio Rodrigues.

 

100) Tiago Iorc & Milton Nascimento – “Mais Bonito Não Há” (2017)

Tiago Iorc is one of Brazil’s new talents. Singer-songwriter and record producer, with his debut album Let Yourself In, he gained notoriety after several of Tiago’s songs were featured on major Brazilian primetime soap operas, TV ads and films. Let Yourself In was also released in Japan with great success and in South Korea, where the public granted Tiago a Best Foreign Artist Award.

In 2017, he partnered with the incomparable Milton Nascimento (who declared being Tiago’s fan) and recorded some songs for the purpose of a national tour. This exquisite song (“Nothing more beautiful”) is the result of this partnership.

 

See also:

100 ESSENTIAL BRAZILIAN SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 6: The 1990s

If there is one word can define the 1990s, that is globalization. With Brazil’s growing openness to the globalized nineties’ culture, greatest influence of foreign musical trends was unavoidable. The youth of that period would increasingly enjoy dancing -in night clubs- to the new electronic rhythms, such as techno, trance and house.

On the other hand, Brazilians revalorized their own historical roots. The great originality and variety of the nation’s music is observed in the creative fusion of diverse influences such as samba, sertaneja, Brazilian rock, samba-reggae, baião, forró, lambada, axé, electronic music, among many others.

Globalization also made easy for Brazilian music to gain worldwide recognition. After pioneers like Carmen Miranda, many other names gave Brazilian popular music international publicity during that decade.

In the 90s, other styles like funk carioca and hip hop became popular among young people of the country’s Southeast, whereas the brega style “resisted” and was renewed, remaining popular especially in the North and Northeast regions.

These are the songs I chose from this period:

74) João Gilberto – “Eu Sambo Mesmo ” (1991) 

One of bossa nova’s fathers, João Gilberto is a consummated artist since the fifties, with enormous international recognition since then.

His 1991 album João, with orchestrations by Clare Fischer, featured songs in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, plus old sambas and his version of Caetano Veloso’s “Sampa”. This song (“I Really Samba”) is the opening track of this wonderful album.

 

75) Sergio Mendes – “Magalenha” (1992) 

Sergio Mendes doesn’t need much introduction. Superstar from the 60’s, with a prolific career and enormous international success, he is “indelibly identified with the pop side of the bossa nova boom”.

“Magalenha” was composed by musician Carlinhos Brown and is the second track of Sergio Mendes studio album Brasileiro. The energetic vocals by Carlinhos and the explosive rhythm of the Bahian percussionists are just electrifying … I dare you not to dance when you listen to it!

“Magalenha” appears in the soundtrack of the 1998 film Dance with Me .

 

76) Daniela Mercury – “O Canto da Cidade(1992) 

“The Queen of Axé” Daniela Mercury is well known for popularizing axé music, not only throughout Brazil, but also internationally. As a matter of fact, she enjoys a goddess-like worship in Salvador da Bahia.

Her second album, O Canto da Cidade (1993) was a national phenomenon, establishing her as the most popular Brazilian performer of the early ’90s. The title track of this album (“The tune of the city”), a celebration of her native Salvador, became a sensation and topped the charts. Not only was O Canto da Cidade the first Brazilian album to top a million in sales, but it remains her best-selling album to date, with millions of copies sold -and it continues to sell today.

 

77) Timbalada- “Beija Flor” (1993)

In the late 1980s the talented drummer Carlinhos Brown started to form percussion ensembles in his hometown Salvador; he simply gathered people in the streets and taught them basic percussion patterns. Eventually these gatherings grew into a band called Timbalada.  Timbalada is credited with the revival of the timbal (a kind of drum used in candomblé), which had been nearly extinct before they began featuring it. Moreover, the band melted the rhythms of Bahia with those of Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean origin, such as samba reggae and axé and added some pop elements; the result is an interesting, extremely prototype sound. The band’s aesthetics also has a distinctive character: the vocalists make heavy use of body painting, which provides a tribal touch and adds to their originality. Timbalada is also well known for its regular participation in Salvador de Bahia’s Carnival.

Due to their innovative music and particular aesthetics, it didn’t take long until the band caught the attention of Brazilians -and the entire world, gaining deserved, huge popularity. Their first album, released in 1993, has one of their major hits, Beija-flor (“Hummingbird”).

 

78) Ivan Lins – “Madalena” (1993)

Songwriter, vocalist, and pianist, Ivan Lins came to fame in Brazil in 1970 when Elis Regina recorded his song “Madalena” and made it a hit. He has been an active performer and songwriter of Brazilian popular music and jazz since then, with numerous of his compostions recorded by remarkable Brazilian and foreign and artists, such as George BensonMichael Bublé,  Ella FitzgeraldQuincy Jones, Sarah VaughanSting and Barbra Streisand.

He did release his own version of “Madalena” in his 1993 Minha História; in here though I include this marvellous, live version with Elis Regina, featured in the album Elis Regina e Ivan Lins – Juntos (Ao Vivo).

 

79) Chico Science & Nação Zumbi – “Da Lama Ao Caos” (1994)

From the mud flats of his natal Recife, Chico Science began to experiment with music, blending maracatu with reggae, funk, rap, and rock. The mixture of ancient folkloric Northeastern rhythms with world pop and electronic music would become referred as mangue beat (“mud beat”). Mangue beat eventually grew into a musical movement, one of the most characteristics of Brazil’s musical scene of the 90s.

After being recognized in his region, Chico Science joined Nação Zumbi; their first collaborative album, Da Lama Ao Caos, was released in 1994, from which the eponymous track was a major hit.

 

80) Mamonas Assassinas – “Pelados em Santos” (1995)

Characterized as a satirical rock band, Mamonas Assassinas‘s sound consisted of a mixture of pop rock with influences of popular genres such as sertanejo, brega, pagode, forró, and vira. The only studio album recorded by the band, Mamonas Assassinas, with the hits Pelados em Santos“, “Vira-Vira” and “Robocop Gay” had a meteoric success, rapidly becoming diamond-certified.

Unfortunately, their career was tragically interrupted in March 2, 1996, when the group was the victim of a plane crash which caused the death of all its members, and a great national commotion. In spite of their brief success, the band continues influencing the national musical scene and being celebrated even now, more than two decades after its end.

 

81) Carlinhos Brown – “A Namorada” (1996)

Not only a talented percussionist, Carlinhos Brown is also a greatly praised composer and vocalist. After his success with Timbalada (see above), he decided to display all his musical virtues in his solo album Alfagamabetizado. For the album’s release, Carlinhos Brown performed many shows throughout Brazil, The United Status, Japan and Europe. The track “A Namorada” was the biggest success, even being included on the soundtrack of the film Speed 2, where he also made a cameo appearance performing the song.

 

82) Skank- “Garota Nacional” (1996)

Belo Horizonte band Skank became one of the most popular bands in Brazil in the ’90s. Mixing influences of pop music, reggae, ska and rock & roll, Skank reached the market with their first eponymous album. Their 1996 album O Samba Poconé includes one of their greatest hits, Garota Nacional. Although “Garota Nacional” literally translates to “national girl”, the song is not about the women of Brazil, as usually believed: it refers to the “girls of Bar Nacional”, a bar and nightclub in Belo Horizonte famous in the early 1990s for its beautiful female patrons.

83) Simone and Martinho da Vila – “Ex-Amor” (1996)

One of the greatest Brazilian female artists of all time, Simone is a sensuous singer with a signature low, mellow voice. Although having a more activist repertory in her beginnings, she later abandoned it in favor of more mainstream, romantic songs, with which she has enjoyed international success.

In this song she unites her voice with that of another iconic MPB and samba singer/composer: Martinho da Vila.

 

84) Chitãozinho e Xororó – “Luar Do Sertão” (1996)

With a 30 year-career, 30 released albums and the impressive 30,000,000 sold copies, Chitãozinho e Xororó are a real phenomenon in Brazil. The two singers were the first artists to successfully promote the fusion of “redneck music” (caipira) with urban pop, opening the field for a millionaire craze which would become known as sertanejo romântico, a genre that ultimately took all regions of Brazil -and many other countries. Indeed, Chitãozinho e Xororó have performed with artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Reba McEntire and the Bee Gees.

This song, Luar do Sertão (Hinterlands Moonlight in English) is a popular, old Brazilian song, one of the most recorded Brazilian songs of all time. Its simple verses praise the life in sertão (English: hinterlands or countryside). It appears in their album Classicos Sertanejos and counts with the participation of Simone.

 

85) Quarteto Jobim Morelenbaum – “A Felicidade” (1999)

A felicidade (“Happiness”) was composed in 1958 by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes for the film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus). The theme of this mesmerizing bossa nova song is the fragility of happiness: “Tristeza não tem fim. Felicidade sim” (“Sadness has no ending. Happiness does”).

“A felicidade” has had many re-recordings throughout the years; I love this one by the Quarteto Jobim-Morelenbaum, which features Antonio Carlos Jobim’s son, guitarist/vocalist Paulo Jobim, and his grandson, pianist/vocalist Daniel Jobim, along with cellist Jacques Morelenbaum and his wife, vocalist Paula Morelenbaum. With the exception of Daniel, all of the group’s members were members of Jobim’s final band before his death in 1994.

 

86) Ney Matogrosso – “Poema” (1999)

Famous for his singular countertenor voice, but mostly for his provocative stage costumes, make-up and daring movements, Ney Matogrosso has always been regarded as a controversial character. What nobody can deny is that Ney is an extremely talented artist. In fact, he was ranked by Rolling Stone as the third greatest Brazilian singer of all time.

He is best known as a member of the glam rock group Secos & Molhados, a phenomenon band during the 1970s. After the band split up, Ney pursued a successful solo career in Brazil and abroad, obtaining several Gold and Platinum records.

This song (“Poem”) belongs was released in Olhos de Farol, an album that celebrated 25 years of Ney’s solo career.

 

Coming soon:

  • The 2000s – 2010s

 

100 ΕΜΒΛΗΜΑΤΙΚΑ ΓΑΛΛΙΚΑ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙΑ ΠΟΥ ΠΡΕΠΕΙ ΝΑ ΑΚΟΥΣΕΙΣ – Μέρος 7: Η δεκαετία του 2010

 

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Το συναρπαστικό μας ταξίδι στο χρόνο μέσα από την γαλλική μουσική έχει φτάσει στο τέλος του. Επιστρέψαμε στη σημερινή εποχή!

Είναι πραγματικά εντυπωσιακό να δούμε πώς έχει εξελιχθεί η γαλλική μουσική όλα αυτά τα χρόνια. Και όσο ετοίμαζα αυτά τα άρθρα συνειδητοποίησα πως η πορεία που ακολουθεί είναι, αναπόφευκτα, ένα σημάδι των καιρών:

Από τη δεκαετία του 1930 μέχρι τα ’60, η Γαλλία είναι η απόλυτη trend-setter. Τα γαλλικά τραγούδια ακούγονται σε όλο τον κόσμο, ενίοτε μεταφρασμένα σε άλλες γλώσσες, ακόμα και στα αγγλικά.

Κατά τη διάρκεια της δεκαετίας του ’70 όμως, η αγγλοσαξονική επιρροή γίνεται όλο και πιο εμφανής στην γαλλική μουσική σκηνή, και σταδιακά η République Française χάνει την δύναμή της ως καλλιτεχνικό μοντέλο. Παρόλα αυτά, πολλά σπουδαία τραγούδια αυτής της περιόδου έχουν παραμείνει ως all-time classics.

Από το 1980, η παγκοσμιοποίηση είναι πανταχού παρούσα, και η μουσική δεν αποτελεί εξαίρεση: η Γαλλία ακούει όλο και περισσότερη αγγλόφωνη μουσική. Και η δεκαετία του ’90 με την ευρεία διαθεσιμότητα του διαδικτύου μεγεθύνει το φαινόμενο. Προκειμένου να διατηρηθεί η γαλλική γλώσσα και να την προστατεύει από την “αγγλοσαξονική πολιτιστική εισβολή”, η γαλλική κυβέρνηση παίρνει μια τολμηρή απόφαση: περνάει τον επίμαχο νόμο Toubon. Σε ισχύ από 1/1/1996, ο νόμος αυτός υποχρεώνει τους ραδιοφωνικούς σταθμούς να μεταδίδουν τουλάχιστον το 40% των τραγουδιών στα γαλλικά. Δυστυχώς, υπάρχει ένα πρόβλημα: η γαλλικοί ραδιοφωνικοί σταθμοί υποστηρίζουν πως, μετά από 20 χρόνια που εφαρμόζεται, αυτό το 40% που τους επιβλήθηκε έχει γίνει ασύμφορο. Καταγγέλλουν την έλλειψη ποιότητας της σύγχρονης γαλλικής μουσικής, καθώς και τη μείωση καλλιτεχνών που τραγουδάνε στα γαλλικά. Όπως τονίζουν χαρακτηριστικά: “Μόνο 242 γαλλόφωνα άλμπουμ κυκλοφόρησαν το 2014, έναντι σε 718 το 2003, ήτοι μια πτώση κατά 66,3% στην παραγωγή γαλλικής μουσικής σε λίγο πάνω από δέκα χρόνια”.

Γιατί αυτή η ανησυχητική πτώση στην κυκλοφορία γαλλόφωνης μουσικής; Μήπως φταίει η έλλειψη δημιουργικότητας; Η απάντηση είναι: καθόλου! Τώρα πια οι Γαλλόφωνοι καλλιτέχνες τραγουδάνε στα αγγλικά!! Με το boom των electro pop και house μουσικής (σήμα κατατεθέν των 2010s), καταξιωμένοι καλλιτέχνες όπως ο David GuettaDaft PunkBob Sinclar,  καθώς και άλλα αξιόλογα συγκροτήματα όπως οι The Avener,  SynapsonChristine and the Queens, τώρα τραγουδούν στα αγγλικά, προκειμένου να προσελκύσουν ένα πιο διεθνές κοινό.

Το μέλλον της γαλλικής μουσικής δεν διαφαίνεται και πολύ υποσχόμενο: πρόσφατα, ως αποτέλεσμα της πίεσης που ασκούν οι ραδιοφωνικοί σταθμοί, το υποχρεωτικό 40% γαλλικής μουσικής μειώθηκε στο 35%. Αυτό είναι λυπηρό! Η γαλλική μουσική δεν πρέπει να εξαφανιστεί! Θα ήταν μια τεράστια απώλεια, όχι μόνο για τη Γαλλία, αλλά και για ολόκληρο τον κόσμο…

Αλλά ακόμα υπάρχει λίγη ελπίδα: μερικοί Γαλλόφωνοι καλλιτέχνες, είτε λόγω της εμπορικής τους επιτυχίας, είτε λόγω της ποιότητας της δουλειάς τους, επιμένουν στο να είναι “πολιτιστική εξαίρεση”. Έτσι λοιπόν, ας υποστηρίξουμε τη γαλλική μουσική!! Δείτε αυτή τη λίστα με μερικά ωραία τραγούδια της δεκαετίας και… βάλτε λίγα γαλλικά στη ζωή σας!

91) Zaz – “Je veux” (2010)

Με το μοναδικό της στιλ “τσιγγάνικου τζαζ” και με την θελκτική της φωνή, η Zaz κατάφερε να κάνει όχι μόνο τη Γαλλία, αλλά και όλη την Ευρώπη να τραγουδά το εθιστικό “Je veux”. Το άλμπουμ της, Zaz, έγινε διπλά πλατινένιο στη Γαλλία, ενώ το τραγούδι “Je veux” έμεινε στην κορυφή των περισσότερων ευρωπαϊκών charts για αρκετές εβδομάδες. Διαβάστε περισσότερα για τη Zaz εδώ.

 

 92) Mika – “Elle me dit” (2011)

Ίσως είχατε ήδη ακούσει το Mika, ο οποίος έγινε παγκοσμίως γνωστός με το τραγούδι “Relax, take it easy“. Ο Μίκα είναι Λιβάνο-Βρετανός, αλλά έχει ζήσει και στη Γαλλία. Αυτό το τραγούδι μιλάει, όπως δήλωσε ο ίδιος: “για όλα τα φρικτά πράγματα που μια μητέρα μπορεί να λέει στο γιο της για να τον διώξει από το σπίτι της”. Στο βίντεο πρωταγωνιστούν γνωστοί Γάλλοι καλλιτέχνες, όπως η εκπληκτική Φανή Αρντάν. Ήταν το γαλλόφωνο hit με τις μεγαλύτες πωλήσεις το 2011 στη Γαλλία.

 

 93) Camille – Le banquet” (2011)

Σίγουρα δεν είναι για όλα τα γούστα, αλλά κανείς δεν μπορεί να αρνηθεί ότι η Camille είναι εξαιρετικά ταλαντούχα, και ότι έχει μια καταπληκτική φωνή. Και τα τέσσερά της άλμπουμ έχουν λάβει διθυραμβικές κριτικές, ενώ το single “Ta douleur” έγινε μεγάλη εμπορική επιτυχία. Αντισυμβατική και πρωτότυπη (αν και ενίοτε θυμίζει τη Bjork), έχει συνεργαστεί με τους Nouvelle Vague, και έχει γράψει τραγούδια για το soundrack των ταινιών Ratatouille και Le petit prince. Αυτό το κομμάτι ανήκει στο τελευταίο της άλμπουμ Ilo veyou (αναγραμματισμός του “I love you”).

 

94) Maître Gims – “J’me tire” (2013)

Πολλοί το λατρεύουν, άλλοι το σνομπάρουν, αναμφισβήτητα όμως ο Maître Gims είναι μεγάλο όνομα στη Γαλλία. Ήδη γνωστό ως ηγέτης του rap συγκροτήματος Sexion d’Assault, το 2013 έκανε σόλο ντεμπούτο με το δίσκο “Subliminal”. Αν και οι κριτικές δεν ήταν οι καλύτερες, το άλμπουμ ήταν τεράστια εμπορική επιτυχία και έγινε διπλά διαμαντένιο. Σε αυτό το τραγούδι (στα ελληνικά: “Αποσύρομαι”) περιγράφει πώς μερικές φορές η δημοσιότητα τον εξαντλεί, ότι θα ήθελε να φύγει και να πάει κάπου όπου οι άνθρωποι δεν θα τον κρίνουν.

 

95) Stromae – “Papaoutai” (2013)

Το 2010, όταν κυκλοφόρησε το πρώτο του άλμπουμ, ο Βέλγος μουσικός Stromae μας ανακοίνωσε: “Η ζωή είναι χάλια, οπότε ας χορέψουμε”. Και έτσι ξεσήκωσε όλη την Ευρώπη, που χόρεψε στο ρυθμό του απόλυτου hit  Alors on dance. Αλλά με το άλμπουμ του Racine Carrée, ο Stromae μας απέδειξε πως είναι ένας σπουδαίος καλλιτέχνης. Παρότι τα τραγούδια του έχουν πιασάρικες μελωδίες, περιέχουν ένα ισχυρό κοινωνικό μήνυμα, είτε αν μιλάμε για το AIDS, τον καρκίνο, τις σχέσεις, ή τα σεξουαλική κλισέ… Το τραγούδι Papaoutai (Papa où t’ai, δηλαδή “Mπαμπά πού είσαι;”) μιλάει για τους μπαμπάδες που απουσιάζουν από το σπίτι. Πραγματικά αξίζει να δείτε το εκπληκτικό βίντεο, όπου ένα αγόρι χρησιμοποιεί ένα κούκλο βιτρίνας για να αντικαταστήσει τον απόντα πατέρα του. Μάθετε περισσότερα για τον Stromae εδώ.

 

96) Indila – “Dernière danse” (2014)

Αυτό το τραγούδι (“Τελευταίος χορός”) είναι το πρώτο single από το ντεμπούτο άλμπουμ της Indila. Το εντυπωσιακό μουσικό βίντεο περιγράφει την ιστορία μιας νεαρής μετανάστριας που ζει στο Παρίσι και πέφτει θύμα ρατσισμού. Το άλμπουμ Mini World έγινε διαμαντένιο στη Γαλλία, και ενώ το Dernière danse δεν έφτασε ποτέ στην κορυφή των chart (πήγε μέχρι τη δεύτερη θέση), έγινε τεράστια επιτυχία σε πολλές χώρες, όπως Ελλάδα, Ισραήλ και Τουρκία, όπου παρέμεινε αρκετές εβδομάδες στην πρώτη θέση.

 

97) Louane – “Jour 1” (2015)

Η Louane Emera, ή απλά Louane, ήταν ήδη γνωστή από το 2013 λόγω της συμμετοχής της στο talent show The Voice. Ωστόσο, η μεγάλη αναγνώριση ήρθε το 2014 με το ρόλο της στην ταινία Η οικογένεια Bélier, για το οποίο κέρδισε ένα βραβείο Σεζάρ για την πιο υποσχόμενη ηθοποιός. Αυτό το τραγούδι ανήκει στον πρώτο της άλμπουμ, Room 12, το οποίο έγινε διπλά διαμαντένιο, και κατάφερε να είναι το πρώτο σε πωλήσεις άλμπουμ το 2015 στη Γαλλία.

 

98) Julien Doré – “Le lac” (2016)

Ένα ακόμα αστέρι που ανέδειξε ένα talent show. Ο Julien Doré ήταν ο νικητής του Nouvelle Star το 2007, και από τότε έχει μια πολύ επιτυχημένη καριέρα. Τα τρία πρώτα στούντιο άλμπουμ έχουν όλα φτάσει στην πρώτη τετράδα στο επίσημο Chart γαλλικών άλμπουμ. Πρόσφατα κυκλοφόρησε το τέταρτο του άλμπουμ, “&”, από το οποίο το single “Le Lac” (Η λίμνη) έγινε αμέσως το πιο downloaded single στα charts.

 

99) Céline Dion – “Encore un soir” (2016)

Για την Σελίν Ντιόν δεν χρειάζεται εισαγωγή: είναι, χωρίς αμφιβολία, ένα απόλυτο αστέρι. Παρότι ήταν ήδη γνωστή από τις αρχές της δεκαετίας του ’80 στην πατρίδα της, τον Καναδά, ή μεγάλη αναγνώριση ήρθε όταν η Ντιόν, εκπροσωπώντας την Ελβετία, νίκησε στο Διαγωνισμό Τραγουδιού της Eurovision το 1988 με το τραγούδι “Ne partez pas sans moi. Από τότε τραγουδάει με μεγάλη επιτυχία στα γαλλικά και στα αγγλικά, και στη δεκαετία του 1990 ήταν ένα από τους καλλιτέχνες με την μεγαλύτερη εμπορική επιτυχία παγκοσμίως, ιδιαίτερα μετά το σούπερ hit “My heart will go on”. Μετά από ένα διάλειμμα 4 ετών, η Σελίν ξαναχτυπά! Και αυτή τη φορά με ένα γαλλικό άλμπουμ: “Encore un Soir” (Μια νύχτα ακόμα), το οποίο έχει λάβει εξαιρετικές κριτικές και έφτασε στην κορυφή των charts στη Γαλλία (όπου έγινε 4 φορές πλατινένιο), Κεμπέκ, Ελβετία, Λουξεμβούργο και Βέλγιο.

 

100) Christophe Maé – “Il est où le bonheur” (2016)

Ο Christophe Maé θεωρείται ένα πραγματικό φαινόμενο: μετά την κυκλοφορία του πρώτου του δίσκου το 2007, όλα τα άλμπουμ του έχουν φτάσει στην κορυφή των γαλλικών charts. Και το πέμπτο του άλμπουμ, L’Attrape-Rêves, που μόλις βγήκε δεν αποτελεί εξαίρεση! Στο βίντεο του τραγουδιού (ο τίτλος σημαίνει “Πού είναι η ευτυχία;”) ο σαραντάχρονος τραγουδιστής ταξιδεύει στο χρόνο και γίνεται νεότερος ή μεγαλύτερος, χάρη σε πολύ επιτυχημένα οπτικά εφέ. Με τη μοναδική χροιά της φωνής του, ο Maé μας υπενθυμίζει ότι δεν χρειάζεται να ψάχνουμε την ευτυχία, διότι συνήθως είναι ακριβώς μπροστά μας και εμείς δεν το καταλαβαίνουμε.

 

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100 ΕΜΒΛΗΜΑΤΙΚΑ ΓΑΛΛΙΚΑ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙΑ ΠΟΥ ΠΡΕΠΕΙ ΝΑ ΑΚΟΥΣΕΙΣ – Μέρος 6: Η δεκαετία του 2000

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Κατά τη διάρκεια της δεκαετίας του 2000, η Γαλλία αναβιώνει την υπεροχή του chanson Française με τη εμφάνιση μιας γενιάς αξιόλογων καλλιτεχνών που συλλογικά ονομάζονται “Νέα γαλλική σκηνή” ή “Νέα chanson”. Η τάση αυτή είχε ήδη αρχίσει, δειλά δειλά, στην δεκαετία του ’90. Σε μια εποχή όπου τα talent shows αναδεικνύουν τα ανερχόμενα αστέρια, αυτή η νέα γενιά τραγουδιστών επικεντρώνεται περισσότερο στους βαθυστόχαστους στίχους παρά στην θεαματικότητα των εμφανίσεων τους, ενώ παράλληλα εκσυγχρονίζουν την κλασική γαλλική μελωδία με την εισαγωγή στοιχείων ποπ, τζαζ και electronica.

Ταυτόχρονα με αυτό το ισχυρό νέο κύμα, μουσικά στιλ όπως ποπ, ροκ, dance και χιπ χοπ είναι πανταχού παρόντες στη γαλλική μουσική σκηνή των ‘00s.

Αυτά είναι 10 από τα πιο εμβληματικά τραγούδια της δεκαετίας του 2000:

81) Philippe d’Avilla, Damien Sargue & Grégori Baquet – “Les Rois du monde” (2000)

Το τραγούδι αυτό (στα ελληνικά “Οι βασιλιάδες του κόσμου”) γράφτηκε για το μιούζικαλ Roméo et Juliette. Στη Γαλλία έγινε τεράστια επιτυχία, παρέμεινε στην κορυφή των charts για πολλούς μήνες και έγινε ένα από τα singles με τις μεγαλύτερες πωλήσεις της δεκαετίας του 2000.

 

 82) Alizée – “Moi… Lolita” (2000)

Η Αλιζέ έγινε διάσημη με τη συμμετοχή της σε ένα talent show, και κυκλοφόρησε το “Moi… Lolita” όταν ήταν μόλις 15 χρονών. Τους στίχους του τραγουδιού τους έγραψε η Μυλέν Φαρμέρ, και κάνει λογοτεχνική αναφορά στο “Λολίτα” του Βλαντιμίρ Ναμπόκοφ. Ήταν τεράστια επιτυχία, όχι μόνο στη Γαλλία, αλλά και στο εξωτερικό.

 

 83) Yannick – “Ces soirées-là” (2000)

Ο Γαλλός ράπερ Yannick ερμηνεύει αυτό το τραγούδι (ελληνικά: “Εκείνες τις νύχτες”), το οποίο περιέχει ένα sample από το “Oh what a night” των The Four Seasons. Ήταν τεράστιο σουξέ στη Γαλλία, μάλιστα, είναι το τρίτο σε πωλήσεις τραγούδι της δεκαετίας και μια από τις μεγαλύτερες επιτυχίες όλων των εποχών στην Γαλλία.

 

 84) Noir Désir – “Le vent nous portera” (2001)

Το Noir Désir είναι ένα από τα πιο αντιπροσωπευτικά συγκροτήματα εναλλακτικού ροκ της Γαλλίας. Αυτό το όμορφο τραγούδι είναι το πιο γνωστό της μπάντας, το οποίο το ηχογράφησαν σε συνεργασία με τον Γάλλο καλλιτέχνη Manu Chao.

 

85) Indochine – “J’ai demandé à la lune” (2002)

Παρότι έλαβε διθυραμβικές κριτικές από τότε που σχηματίστηκε το 1981, αυτό το ποπ/ροκ/new wave συγκρότημα βρήκε ευρεία αναγνώριση με την κυκλοφορία του άλμπουμ Paradize το 2002. Αυτό το τραγούδι (στα ελληνικά “Ζήτησα από το φεγγάρι”) έγινε αμέσως επιτυχία, πουλώντας πάνω από ένα εκατομμύριο αντίτυπα. Πολλές ερμηνείες έχουν δοθεί στους στίχους του, οι οποίοι παραμένουν σκοτεινοί και μυστηριώδεις.

 

86) Carla Bruni – “Quelqu’un m’a dit” (2002)

Φαντάζομαι πως οι περισσότεροι από σας έχετε ακούσει για την Κάρλα Μπρούνι ως πρώην Πρώτη Κυρία της Γαλλίας. Αλλά πιθανόν πολλοί δεν γνωρίζουν ότι είναι τραγουδίστρια, και μάλιστα πολύ καλή! Quelqu’un m’a dit (“Κάποιος μου είπε”) ήταν το ντεμπούτο άλμπουμ της, το οποίο γρήγορα έφθασε στην κορυφή των γαλλικών Album Chart, όπου παρέμεινε για 34 εβδομάδες στην πρώτη δεκάδα. Αυτό το όμορφο και μελαγχολικό τραγούδι μπορεί να το έχετε ακούσει στην θαυμάσια ταινία (500) Μέρες με τη Σάμερ.

 

87) Calogero & Passi – “Face à la mer” (2004)

Αυτό το κομμάτι το ηχογράφησε ο Calogero μαζί με το ράπερ Passi. Έγινε επιτυχία σε όσες χώρες κυκλοφόρησε, και μέχρι σήμερα παραμένει το πιο εμβληματικό τραγούδι του Calogero. Ένα άλλο ωραίο τραγούδι του είναι “Si seulement je pouvais lui manquer”.

 

88) Zazie – “Je suis un homme” (2007)

“Je suis un homme” (“Είμαι ένας άνθρωπος”) είναι το πιο επιτυχημένο solo single της Zazie στη Γαλλία και στο Βέλγιο. Οι στίχοι καταγγέλλουν την ανθρώπινη συμπεριφορά απέναντι στο  περιβάλλον και στον καταναλωτισμό. Μην χάσετε το βίντεο: είναι πολύ κομψό, καλλιτεχνικό και προκλητικό.

 

89) Cœur de pirate – “Comme des enfants” (2008)

Η Καναδέζα τραγουδίστρια Cœur de pirate κατάφερε, με το μοναδικό της στιλ, να κάνει γνωστό το chanson française σε μια ολόκληρη γενιά νέων στο Κεμπέκ. Αυτό το τραγούδι από το ομώνυμο, πρώτο της album κέρδισε πολλά βραβεία τόσο στη Γαλλία όσο και στον Καναδά. Μια ορχηστρική εκδοχή του τραγουδιού αυτού χρησιμοποιήθηκε το 2014 για μια διαφήμιση του Disneyland Paris.

 

90) Benjamin Biolay – “La Superbe” (2009)

Ο Μπενζαμάν Μπιολέ είναι αναμφισβήτητα ένας από τους πιο ταλαντούχους καλλιτέχνες της γενιάς του. Με το διπλό του άλμπουμ “La Superbe” εντυπωσίασε όχι μόνο τους κριτικούς, αλλά και το ευρύ κοινό: έγινε μια τεράστια εμπορική επιτυχία και κέρδισε πολλές διακρίσεις. Περιέχει πολλά σπουδαία τραγούδια, από τα οποία επέλεξα αυτό που έδωσε το όνομα στο άλμπουμ.

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100 ESSENTIAL FRENCH SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 7: 2010-2016

 

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This fascinating trip through French music is over! We arrived to the present time!

It’s amazing to see how French music has changed throughout the years! Having the whole picture in front of my eyes while preparing this series of posts, it really got me thinking on how France’s music scene evolution is, unfortunately, a sign of the times.

From the 1930s till the 60s, France was the absolute trend-setter. French songs were heard worldwide, many times translated into other languages, including English. During the 70s, Anglo-saxons’s influence on France’s music style becomes slowly evident. We start witnessing the decay of la République Française as a music model; nevertheless, many great songs of this period have remained as all-time classics.

From the 80s, globalization becomes omnipresent, and music is not an exception: more and more English music is being heard in France; the 90s widespread availability of the Internet certainly magnifies this phenomenon. In order to preserve the French language and protect it against the “Anglo-Saxon cultural invasion”, the French government takes a decision: the controversial Toubon law is issued. Effective 1/1/1996, this law forces radio stations to broadcast at least 40% of songs in French. But there is a problem: French radio stations believe that, after 20 years of being applied, this 40% quota has become unsustainable. They denounce a lack of quality of contemporary French music, as well the reduction in the number of artists performing in French. As they point out: “Only 242 francophone albums were released in 2014, against 718 in 2003, representing a 66,3% drop in the production of French music in a little over ten years”.

Why this alarming drop-off in Francophone music? Are French artists lacking creativity? The answer is: not at all! They are performing in English!! With the boom in electro pop and house music, a trademark of the 2010s, mainstream artists such as David Guetta, Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar, as well  as other remarkable, less-known bands such as The Avener,  Synapson, Christine and the Queens, are now singing in English in order to attract a more international audience.

The future of French music doesn’t look bright: recently, as a result of the pressure exerted by the radio stations, the 40% French music quota was reduced to 35%. This is sad! French music should not disappear! This would be a huge loss, not only for France, but for the whole world…

But there is some hope: outstanding Francophone artists, either because of their commercial success, or due to the quality of their work, still insist on being “a cultural exception”. So, let’s all support French music!! Check out this list, go ahead and Frenchify your playlist!

91) Zaz – “Je veux” (2010)

With her gypsy jazzy style and her sultry voice,  Zaz  managed to have not only France, but all Europe singing the addictive “Je veux”. The album went diamond-certified in France, while the song “Je veux” stayed at the top of most European charts for several weeks. After this massive hit, she became the most listened French singer abroad and, according to an Internet survey in France, the favorite French musician in 2010. Read more about Zaz here.

 

 92) Mika – “Elle me dit” (2011)

Yes, it’s the same Mika of “Relax, take it easy“. Actually, Mika is British-Lebanese, but he has also lived in France. This song (English: “She tells me”) is, according to himself:  “about all the horrific things a mother can say to her son to get him to f..k out of her house”. The video features a well-known ensemble of French actors, including the great Fanny Ardant. It was the most commercially successful francophone hit of 2011 in France.

 

 93) Camille – Le banquet” (2011)

She may not be for everybody’s taste, but no one can deny she’s got a great talent -and an amazing voice. Quirky and original (though at times she may remind us of Bjork), Camille’s all four studio albums are definitely worth listening to. Almost unanimously acclaimed by the critics,  her single “Ta douleur” has been also a commercial success. She has collaborated with the band Nouvelle Vague, and composed songs for the soundrack of the films Ratatouille and Le petit princeThis song belongs to her last album Ilo veyou (anagram for “I love you”).

 

94) Maître Gims – “J’me tire” (2013)

Worshiped by some, snubbed by others, there is no doubt though that Maître Gims is a big thing in France. Already well-known as the leader of the notorious rap group Sexion d’Assault, in 2013 he went solo with the album “Subliminal”. Although the album got mixed reviews from critics, it was a huge commercial success, becoming double-diamond certified. In this song (English: “I withdraw myself”) he describes how he feels sick of fame sometimes, and that he would like to leave and go some place where people won’t judge him.

 

95) Stromae – “Papaoutai” (2013)

By 2010, when his first album was released, Belgian musician Stromae spread the word: “Life sucks, so let’s dance”. And he got all Europe on its feet, dancing his major hit Alors on dance. But with his 2013 album Racine Carrée, he clearly demonstrated what an accomplished artist he is. Besides the easy-listening, catchy melodies, all his songs deliver a strong social message, whether they talk about AIDS, cancer, relationships, or sexual clichés…The song Papaoutai (“Papa où t’ai/Papa where are you”) talks about absent fathers. It’s really worth watching the amazing music video, where a boy uses a mannequin to replace his absent father. Learn more about Stromae here.

 

96) Indila – “Dernière danse” (2014)

This song (English: “Last dance”) is the first single from Indila’s debut album, Mini World.  The beautiful music video is a short film that takes place in Paris, and describes the story of a young immigrant who is a victim of racism. Mini World would become diamond-certified in France; although the single Dernière danse never made it to the top of the chart (it reached the second place), it became a huge success in many other countries, such as Greece, Israel, Turkey, remaining several weeks at the top of the charts.

 

97) Louane – “Jour 1” (2015)

Louane Emera, or just Louane, was already well-known since 2013 for her participation in the talent show The Voice. However, she becomes a national star in 2014 with her role in the film La famille Bélier, for which she won a César Award for the Most Promising Actress. This song belongs to her first album, Room 12, which became the biggest selling album of the year 2015 in France (two-times diamond-certified).

 

98) Julien Doré – “Le lac” (2016)

Another star arising from a talent show, Julien Doré was the winner of Nouvelle Star in 2007. Since then, he has had a very successful career; his three previous studio albums have all reached the top four on the official French Albums Chart. Just now (October 2016) he released his fourth album, “&”, from which the single “Le lac” (The lake) became instantly the most downloaded single in the charts.

 

99) Céline Dion – “Encore un soir” (2016)

There is actually not much need for introduction: Céline Dion is, without any doubt, a true star. Although already known from the early 80s in her homeland Canada, further recognition came when Dion represented Switzerland in the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, winning with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi. Singing with great success both in French and English, by the mid-1990s she became one of the best-selling artists in the world, particularly after the super massive hit “My heart will go on”. After a 4-year break, she’s back! And with a great French album: “Encore un soir”(One More Night) has garnered positive reviews from music critics and topped the charts in France (where it went 4 times platinum), Quebec, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium.

 

100) Christophe Maé – “Il est où le bonheur” (2016)

Christophe Maé is considered a real phenomenon:  since the release of his first album in 2007, all his albums have topped the French charts. And his fifth album, L’Attrape-rêves, which just came out is no exception! In the video of this song (the title means “Where is happiness?”) the 40 year-old singer travels through time, becoming younger or older thanks to very successful visual effects. With his unique voice, he reminds us that we should not run after happiness because it is right in front of us, although but we do not always see it.

 

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100 ESSENTIAL FRENCH SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 6: The 2000s


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During the 2000s, France witnesses the revival of the chanson Française with the establishment of a generation of popular artists collectively called “New French scene” or “New chanson”; this trend had already began, timidly, during the 90s. In a decade where talent shows deliver rising -and falling- stars, this new generation focuses mostly on the engaged content of their lyrics, rather than performance, while they introduce the fusion with other musical influences, such as of pop, jazz and electronica.

Nevertheless, alongside with this strong new wave, genres such as pop, rock, dance and hip hop are omnipresent in the French musical stage of the 00s.

These are 10 emblematic songs of that decade:

81) Philippe d’Avilla, Damien Sargue & Grégori Baquet – “Les Rois du monde” (2000)

This song (French for “The kings of the world”) was written for the world-wide successful musical Roméo et Juliette. In France, the single was a massive hit, topping the charts for many months and becoming one of the top selling singles of the 2000s.

 

 82) Alizée – “Moi… Lolita” (2000)

Alizée, who became famous after her participation in a talent show, recorded “Moi…Lolita” when she was 15; the lyrics were written by Mylène Farmer. The song, which makes allusion to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita character, achieved a huge success not only in France, but also abroad.

 

 83) Yannick – “Ces soirées-là” (2000)

Falling in the category “One hit wonder”, French rapper Yannick recorded this song (English: “Those nights”) which contains a sample of The Four Seasons’ “Oh what a night”. It was a tremendous success in France, becoming the third top-selling hit of the decade and one of the best selling hits of all time.

 

 84) Noir Désir – “Le vent nous portera” (2001)

Noir Désir is one of France’s most representative alternative rock bands. This beautiful song (English: “The wind will carry us”) is the band’s most successful piece, which was recorded in collaboration with French artist Manu Chao.

 

85) Indochine – “J’ai demandé à la lune” (2002)

Although formed in 1981 and critically acclaimed since them, this pop/rock/new wave band found its way to stardom with the release of their album Paradize in 2002. This song (“I asked the moon” in English), quickly became a national success, selling over a million units. Many interpretations have been given to its lyrics, which remain quite dark and mysterious.

 

86) Carla Bruni – “Quelqu’un m’a dit” (2002)

I have little doubt that you heard about Carla Bruni as the former First Lady of France. But many people don’t know she’s also a singer, and actually a good one! Quelqu’un m’a dit (“Someone told me”) was her debut album, which quickly reached number one on the French Album Chart, spending 34 weeks in the Top ten. This melancholic song, from which the album draws its name, speaks of the sadness of life: “They tell me that our lives are not worth very much, / They pass in an instant as roses wilt…”. It was included on the soundtrack of the wonderful film (500) Days of Summer.

 

87) Calogero & Passi – “Face à la mer” (2004)

This song (French: “Facing the Sea”) was recorded by Calogero together with rapper Passi. It achieved success in the countries in which it was released, becoming to date his most successful single on the charts. Another great song by Calogero is “Si seulement je pouvais lui manquer”.

 

88) Zazie – “Je suis un homme” (2007)

“Je suis un homme” (“I am a man”) is Zazie’s most successful solo single, being a top ten hit in France and Belgium. The insightful lyrics critizise human behavior regarding environmental issues and consumerism. Don’t miss the video: it’s artistic, stylish and thought-provoking.

 

89) Cœur de pirate – “Comme des enfants” (2008)

Canadian singer Cœur de pirate is credited with “bringing la chanson française to a whole new generation of Quebec youth”. This song (the title means “Like children”) from her first studio album Cœur de pirate won many awards, both in France and Canada. In 2014, an instrumental version of the song was used in an advertisement for Disneyland Paris.

 

90) Benjamin Biolay – “La Superbe” (2009)

Benjamin Biolay is regarded as one of the most gifted artists of his generation. With his double album “La Superbe” he managed to impress not only critics, but also the general public: it became a huge commercial success and won many awards. The album contains many great songs; I chose the eponymous La Superbe.

 

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