posted on February 09, 2010 18:00
On several occasions we've bemoaned the lack of good French-language pop. By 'good pop' we mean a tune you can whistle and hum and sing in the shower - and songs en français these days tend to be monotonous recitals of precious lyrics.
So, allow us to rave about a rare bit of catchy and melodic French music.
Pascal Bizet (right) is from Nîmes, the south-eastern city whose lasting contribution to world culture is the derivation of the word 'denim' - "de Nîmes". (The word 'jeans' is also French in origin - the earliest pairs of denim trousers were made in Genoa, which in French is called "Gênes.) Metallica fans will know of a 2006 concert DVD called 'Français Pour Un Nuit' that was filmed in the city's Roman amphitheatre.
We don't know yet if Pascal is a descendant of Georges Bizet, the Parisian who wrote 'Carmen', but he certainly has musical talent. Your correspondent has just discovered a track called 'Sans Doute' thanks to Canadian DJ Laura Leishman's excellent radio show on French indie station Le Mouv'; perhaps it takes us Johnny Foreigners to appreciate what's best in France.
'Sans Doute', with its pounding piano chords, has a touch of John Lennon's better solo songs. Changing from verse to chorus, Bizet's voice takes on some of Elvis Costello's vitriol and Joe Jackson's angst. The melody rolls along agreeably from start to finish, drawing in the listener without over-reaching for a killer hook or climax. Good work.
There we go: the first decent French-language song of the year and decade. You can hear 'Sans Doute' on Pascal Bizet's MySpace page, which also features some rather dense prose to describe the song's symbol-laden video, directed by Bizet: