donderdag 5 november 2009

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (8)

Pierre Faa, he of Peppermoon AND the man who made those gorgeous Filles Fragiles covers, speaks out his mind. Pictured is Barbara Carlotti (no 1)

1. Barbara Carlotti - Les lys brisés (2006)
Sensual voice, elegant melodies... and I love her rhymes a lot. Some of the best writing in french these last years.

2. Christophe - Comme si la Terre penchait (2001)
I was not a Christophe fan until I met him when he released that album, half-written with Elisa Point. He's such a seducer... I understand why Universal spends so much on him. Listen, I have a theory... I think that songs are some kind of entities, floating in the world of ideas and emotions. When they want to take a shape in our world, they choose a channel (= artist), to bring them down here. Well, Christophe is now channeling songs that Polnareff can't do anymore.

3. Jil Caplan - Derrière la porte (2007)
Probably her best album. I can relate to everything there. I love every sentence of the lyrics, that are very direct and emotional. It's quite rare nowadays. Too many lyricists try to be obscure and hermetic, it's an easy way to look smart, even if you don't have much to say... Jil Caplan doesn't fall in that trap : she writes in a nice AND straight-forward way, it's not so common.

4. Holden - Pedrolira (2002)
Wonderful, creative sounds. Quite good melodies, easily remembered. Interesting, delicate lyrics.

5. Les Valentins - Juke-Box (2001)
Edith Fambuena and Jean-Louis Piérot are some of the most in demand producers in Paris (Etienne Daho, Brigitte Fontaine, La Grande Sophie, etc). But they never got enough credit for their music as a band. Juke Box still sounds good today, and I strongly recommend Le marchand de fleurs as an introduction.

6. Valérie Leulliot - Caldeira (2007)
She's your sweet, elegant, clever parisian songstress. At first, I was not a big fan of her band Autour de Lucie, but I got to love her voice after they did that wonderful song Je reviens. This first solo album is her best so far, and I'm eagerly waiting for new songs from her in 2010.

7. Buzy - Borderlove (2005)
OK, she's a friend. OK, we shared a flat when I arrived in Paris. OK, I have a song on this album... Still, I have other artist friends who are not in this list... I like Résonance a lot, it really tells how I feel when I'm about to fall in love. Alice Botté's guitars fit very well with Buzy's raspy, salty, smokey, powerful voice. I really don't like Stratégie de la solitude and Lequel des deux (boring), but all the rest is interesting.

8. Alain Chamfort - Le plaisir (2003)
His fragile singing, his dandy attitude and sophisticated chords opened doors for Etienne Daho and Benjamin Biolay. With the helping hand of smart lyricists (Gainsbourg, Jacques Duvall, etc), he managed to score hits in the 70s, in the 80s, in the 90s... and to keep a cool profile in the 00s, with this elegant, educated album.

9. Lafayette - Le monde merveilleux (2000)
Because it's a very unique, crazy-strange-glitter-glam artefact. Because I don't know any other french album like this one. Because Lafayette is a very nice guy. Because his song structures are very complex, with so many sophisticated chords... I don't listen to Le monde merveilleux every day, it's too demanding. But I like to know it's somewhere near me, to remind me how weird life can be.

10. JP Nataf - Clair (2009)
Mostly because of the production. I wonder if the lyrics have a meaning or not. Not so sure... Most of time, it sounds like random sentences picked up in a hat - as long as they sound good. But the soundscape is so interesting that it's worth listening anyway. I especially all these little intricate percussions...

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