posted on September 17, 2007 06:25
Remember our recent post on 'Double Je', the brilliant single by Christophe Willem, winner of French TV talent search 'Nouvelle Star' in 2006? Well, these days the 2007 winner has been topping the charts in France.
Julien Doré (right) is his name. His image is that of the sort of meticulously-styled faux-rebel you see in hair gel commercials. His choice of first post-victory single, always an accurate indication of career prospects, is a strange one - a cover of a smash hit debut single by a previous TV talent show winner. What's more, it's an ironic acoustic-rock version of what was a slick pop song sung by a girl.
Naturally, it's awful - ironic cover versions always reek of pretentious snobbishness, but Doré deliberately mangles the melody and rhythm for maximum effect. That's us pop fans taught a lesson, so.
But we're not here to talk about this eejit. Instead, let's look at the song, one which definitely deserves our attention.
The original version of the track in question is a rare instance of a French-language hit that may be familiar to Irish radio listeners - 'Moi Lolita' by Alizée. A brilliant piece of slinky and sophisticated disco-pop, it received a lot of Irish airplay in 2000 (in particular, Today FM seemed to have playlisted it). Something of a dancefloor hit, the single actually reached number 9 in the British charts - the most recent single en français to crack the UK Top 10.
As the title suggests, the song's lyrics are fairly risqué - especially when sung by a squeaky-clean 16-year-old girl. Sometimes the whole thing gets a little too seedy: stuff like "Quand je rêve au loup / c'est Lola qui saigne" ("When I dream of the wolf / it's Lola who bleeds") is just too dodgy even for seasoned Frenchpop listeners. But none of this matters if you haven't a word of French - it's a fantastic track.
After her TV show win in 1999 Alizée was immediately snapped up by Mylène Farmer, a Quebec-born singer and French superstar who specialises in just this sort of disco-perv-pop. Farmer, moving on in years, and her partner Laurent Boutonnat were looking for a young and clean-cut singer to continue their line of saucy-but-bland singles (Remind us to tell you about Farmer in detail sometime). In Alizée they found their girl, and 'Moi Lolita' was written for her. As well as going top ten in the UK, the single was a number one across the continent and in Japan.
After two albums and several record-company difficulties, Alizée split from Farmer and took time out from music to get married and start a family. However, Doré's cover of her most famous hit has renewed interest in her - and her new album 'Psychédélices' will be released in November.
The video for 'Moi Lolita' is terrible. It's a mini-movie where the singer plays a rural girl going to her first disco. This type of pretentious big-budget short film is a trademark of Farmer, who's notorious for appearing naked in her music videos. (Bet you're interested now, aren't you?)
So, here's a television appearance by Alizée, performing one of the best French pop singles of the last decade. Your blogger has been known to (100% unironically) play and sing this on guitar at parties: