2022 Holiday playlist - 30 top modern French songs - Top 20-10 French rock songs
20. Alcest - Autre Temps
I have included this song for 2 reasons. Firstly, the band are local boys, coming from a town up in the Cevennes mountains (Bagnols-sur-Cèze), just an hour north of where I live. The second reason, is that both musically and lyrically, it is just brilliant.
Alcest are actually a French metal band and I have to say that their other stuff leaves me cold. But this song hits the spot. When I say that this is probably one of their light, more upbeat tracks, then you get a good idea what their other stuff is like.
This song was released in 2011.
19. Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains - La Fille Aux Cheveux de Soie
This is such a beautiful song that I had to include it in the playlist. Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains are a French/British band operating out of Bristol in the UK and Brussels in Belgium. The band is led by François Marry, who used to play with Camera Obscura.
The band have released 3 albums all of which have been praised by the music critics. This particular song was released in 2014 from the album Piano Ombre. The song title translates as the "The girl with the silk hair".
18. Stuck in the Sound - Tender
Stuck in the Sound is a French indie band from Paris. I wouldn't say that they have been majorly successful in France, but this record did get a lot of airplay. I just love the singer's voice.
A lot of their other stuff is more in the mode of Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Soundgarden - grunge-sort-of-music.
17. Sidoine - On Ne Vit Qu'Une Fois
Sidoine actually took part in the French version of the Pop Idol TV Show (Star Academy). He was eliminated in the semi-finals. But unlike most of the other contestants, he did have some relative success with this song he released in 2013. I think it is quite catchy. I saw a comment on YouTube which said that he was the French Harry Styles, which I think sums him up perfectly. Possibly a one-hit-wonder? But you never know.
16. Malajube - Luna
Maljube are actually from Montreal, Quebec. They sing purely in French, yet they became one of very few Quebec bands who achieved success in the rest of Canada.
If you watch the video to this song it is actually quite dark and depressing, as well as pretty surreal. It starts off with a girl looking at a homeless guy lying in the street and ends up with a synchronized swimming display and then the homeless man (who turns out to be a life guard saving her from drowning. Watch it if you don't believe me.
But I really like the melody on this song. I can't really compare to anything else I have heard.
15. Rose - la liste
This was the first CD that I bought in France. When we arrived it was on the radio all the time and you just found yourself singing along to it. To me it is a typical French song. But I really like her voice.
14. Monogrenade - Ce soir
I really don't know anything about this band except that they are another band from Quebec. I don't think that they are still together. But is a lovely song
13. Renan Luce - La lettre
I don't think that you could get a more French sounding song if you tried. Acoustic guitar, rasping vocals, complex lyrics - but it is great to listen to.
It is no surprise that Renan Luce counts Georges Brassens and Bob Dylan as his greatest influences. He was brought up in Brittany, but then went to study in Toulouse (at the same University where my eldest son is now studying). He then moved to Paris and started getting support slots on a number of tours.
This song was released in 2006 and is probably one of his more famous songs.
12. Ben L'Oncle Soul - Petite Soeur
This has got a great Motown feel about it (and he is actually signed to Motown Records). The singer has a really good voice. He originally started off in a Gospel group and he got his name because he used to wear bow ties all the time and his friends thought that he looked like the guy on the Uncle Ben' Rice box.
Ben L'Oncle has played at all the major Jazz festivals in Europe, as well as the Montreal Jazz festival. He is also a regular on the Jools Holland show in the UK.
He also does a great soul version of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.
11. Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un m'a dit
This is Carla Bruni, as in wife of the former French President. I have no idea how she ended up with him. She is a former model, about 7 foot tall and at the time a good song-writer. Unfortunately, for the both of them their marriage seemed to but both their careers on a downward spiral. Sarkozy started off his Presidency in a blaze of positive initiatives and I had high hopes that he would make France much more business-focused. But he seemed to just run out of energy. Maybe having a stunning wife 20 years his junior was just too much. I remember saying to a friend of mine, Olivier, how disappointed I was in Sarkozy. He just shrugged and stated in a matter of fact way that the reason was that "He was up all night shagging". There was not doubt about is. This was not an hypothesis, but a clear statement of fact.