20 September 2021

20 September 2021 - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - Mama Help Me

In 1990, it was time for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians to release their second album, Ghost of a Dog. Their debut album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, was a blockbuster, but also, that put a lot of pressure on the band to follow up that unexpectedly successful album.

Which, in my opinion, they did brilliantly. I personally think the 2nd album was better than the 1st.  Unfortunately, it didn't sell nearly as well, and ended up, at least temporarily, breaking up the band.     

This song was the lead single from the 2nd album, and while it got a fair bit of MTV airplay, it didn't lead to a whole lot more than that.  Still, the song is complex and interesting, grabbing your ears tightly and not letting go.  It remains one of my favorites to this day.  

17 September 2021

17 September 2021 - Louane - Game Girl

For once, I didn't need a special character for French words.   

You see, this song was commissed by The Pokémon Company to commemorate 25 years of  Pokémon.  Why?  Because Louane fit the fun image of Pokémon - in the words of Colin Palmer, vice president of marketing for The Pokémon Company International
“Louane is an exciting addition to the growing roster of talented artists from around the world helping us celebrate 25 years of Pokémon. Game Girl,’ with its French and English lyrics, is not only an amazing pop anthem for Pokémon Trainers, but also represents the global resonance of Pokémon with international fans.” 
And, Louane - real name Anne Peichert - grew up playing the game.  She did write this lighthearted, lovely pop song expressly for the occasion of the anniversary, with bilingual lyrics, both of which she sings without foreign accent in either, which takes talent.  The song's title is clearly a play on the Nintendo Game Boy, for which several Pokémon games were quite popular. 

The song will be included on Pokémon 25: The Album, released worldwide in October, so hopefully Louane will get some deserved attention outside of France, where she is a superstar.  

16 September 2021

16 September 2021 - Cats On Trees - Sirens Call

"Sirens Call" was the 2013 debut single by Toulouse, France duo Cats On Trees, and it's a delight.  

It's also their biggest hit to date, a top 5 hit in both Belgium and their native France.

The duo consists of Nina Goern, on vocals and piano, and Yohan Hennequin, on drums.  The two of them take those instruments to the fullest, filling all the aural space with their music.  Lyrically, it's in English, but passionate and longing.  

It is very tempting to think that a duo might be resorting to studio tricks to give their song such a rich sound.  Here they are, live in 2014, proving that they are not doing that.  They are just that talented.  

15 September 2021

15 September 2021 - Lilly Wood And The Prick - Middle Of The Night

"But this song is in English?!"

Yep.  It is.  Lilly Wood and the Prick are definitely French, but they perform primarily in English.  

"But I thought this was artists you discovered because that French Canadian woman you constantly post about is in heavy rotation.  However, you've posted Lilly Wood and the Prick before."

Yes, yes I have.  Thanks for reading.   However, you may recall that post was mostly about Robin Schulz.  This one isn't. This post is about a band that keeps getting suggested to me, and not about a Robin Schulz remix (although, to be completely fair, that song is included in the suggestions).  

Can I get on with it, please?

Thank you.

Lilly Wood and the Prick are a folk duo formed in France.  Neither of them is named Lilly Wood.  They got together in 2006 to be a songwriting duo, and ended up making a lot of great music.  Their first big hit was their first single - "Prayer In C" (see above link) - released two years prior to this, but their biggest and best known hit worldwide - "Prayer In C" (see above link.  I explain it all there) - was yet to come.  

By the time they released this song, a minor hit for them, in 2012, they had migrated a bit from the folk sound and branched out into a more disco sound.  It worked for them here, and it continued to work for them.  

14 September 2021

14 September 2021 - Hoshi - Et même après je t'aimerai

Happy birthday to Mathilde Gerner, who turns 25 today.  

Who is Mathilde Gerner?  She is the French singer better known by her stage name, Hoshi.  But you probably guessed that already.  

So named because of her love of Japanese culture, Hoshi writes and performs songs with deep and complex emotion. She's been part of the music scene in France for a decade, between reality music competitions, street music, and finally recording her own music on her own terms.  

She's an underappreciated gem, and thanks to Spotify for pointing her out to me. 

13 September 2021

13 September 2021 - Kyo - Mon époque

I'm just going to put it out there.  

Spotify has noticed whose music I'm playing lately.  And they're suggesting other music I might like.  Not surprisingly, all of these suggestions are in French.  Some of them are old.  Some of them are new.  Some of them are Vanessa ParadisSome of them require me to figure out how to type special characters because I stubbornly refuse to separate the O from the E..

So, this week, I decided to share it all with you.  So, without further ado, music I've discovered solely because Cœur de Pirate is in heavy rotation.

We start with Kyo, a group of French guys who shared a love of American grunge and decided to make a band out of it.  They formed in the early 2000's, took an extended hiatus, and have now come back.  This is their latest single, and it is a banger.  The opening rift is a clear lookback to "Lithium", with the rest of the song hitting some 90's alternative vibes.  Lyrically, it's something of a sad and painful song, with the sentiment "Je ne veux pas rester seul" - I don't want to be alone - repeated throughout.

It was a little cruel of me to start with this song, because the video is actually Chapter 2 in a story.  You would have met the characters in Chapter 1.  I'll have to post that sometime.   

10 September 2021

10 September 2021 - Maria McKee - To Miss Someone & I've Forgotten What It Was In You (That Put The Need In Me)

Imagine 17 year old me, rushing to the record store on the day that Maria McKee released her first solo album.  

Yes, this is what I was listening to as a teenager.  And that album was really the third Lone Justice album - with a lot of the same personnel.  I was a huge Lone Justice fan (still am).  So, I had high expectations of this, and it did not let me down.  The first two songs were a heck of a one-two punch.  This was the 2nd single and 2nd track.  It was a slower, but beautiful and emotion-filled song. 

But that first track - I think I wore my cassette out on this track.  It was the powerhouse vocal I had come to expect from Maria McKee.  There is no video for this song that I could find, but I couldn't not share it, because it's spectacular - right from the first guitar that predated "Laid" by James by several years.   The song just builds and builds, and showcases McKee's vocal range throughout.