French Music: Let's Create a Playlist!
Bonjour Duolinguys ! I find that listening to music in French is one of my favorite ways to learn. Music is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the language and culture when you're not able to live in a French speaking country. It helps practice both auditory comprehension, while building vocabulary. Generally what I tend to do, is listen to a variety of songs repeatedly until I recognize some of the words. Then, I'll look up the lyrics, and try to sing along. Over time, I familiarize myself with the pronunciation, vocabulary, and even memorize some of the lyrics. It's also a great way to track your progress, by noticing how much more of the song you understood than last week. If you want to take the next step in your practice, I even suggest watching interviews of the bands on Youtube with closed captioning on. It's always more motivating to learn when you're interested!
Personally, I'm a total punk and metalhead, so here's my list of go-to French speaking bands.
-Eths (A metal band from France with a female singer whose growls and screams are B.R.U.T.A.L. Their lyrics touch on personal struggles and are fairly easy to follow along with.) Pourquoi, Crucifere, Detruis-moi, Bulimiarexia are all good songs to start with
-Grimskunk (They are part of the Quebec punk scene, so you get exposed to some of the differences in the regional dialect with their slang, which is fascinating all in itself. Their lyrics are often insightful and sometimes political, so it helps you learn some diverse vocabulary.) Le Governement Songe, La Vache, Mange D'La Marde are all good songs to start with
-Mononc' Serge (Another Quebec punk band, but this one has humorous elements to their lyrics. This band will help you start to delve into the world of humor in another language.) Je Chante Pour Les Morons, Les Patates, L'age De Biere are all good songs to start with
-Anonymous (The last Quebecois band on our list, but this one is for the metalhead/hardcore crowd. Their lyrics are fairly simple to follow along with, and are good vocabulary builders, since they sing often about their take on the world around them.) L'union Fait La Force, Scandale, La Meche Est Courte are all good songs to start with
-MSS FRNCE (An old fashioned punk band from France, these guys have super short, fast songs. You can limit your daily lessons to only a few minutes and learn small amounts of vocabulary at a time.) Toi Aussi is a good one to start with
Let's hear what French singers, bands. and songs are on your playlist! Please include the musical genre and a song or two that you recommend.
I love Stromae! I'd say he's more of a pop artist. Papaoutai was probably one of his most popular songs, but I also really like his song Tous Les Mêmes. I also love Indila!
Stromae has an amazing voice! I love his song Formidable! And Indila is an angel.
Since I'm an old soul.. I like chanson oldies! Les musique des années 60, 70, 80. I listen to Claude François, Joe Dassin, Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, France Gall, and Hervé Vilard. Depending on my mood, I listen to playlists according to decade and genre. I am currently on an 80s New Wave kick, like Début de Soirée and Niagara.
The most contemporary groups and artists I listen to, and actually first got me into French music, are Yelle and Alizée.
If you like French music, I recommend browsing and discovering artists on the Youtube channel, Ina Chansons!
Joe Dassin! Knew I'd forgotten someone! Et si tu n'existais pas, Les Champs-Élysées, À toi.
Interesting sidenote: His song Le Café des Trois Colombes has a German version, Die kleine Kneipe in unsere Straße.
- Sorry, Strasse. New spelling rules
All great songs and Champs-Élysées is a classic.. such a classic that the Polish duo, Piotr i Justyna, covered it, among other popular French songs, in an entire album. Dassin has many songs in German, Italian, and Spanish! A fun fact is that he was born in New York, and like Claude François, tragically died before his time.
Moi aussi, j'adore CloClo! Est-ce que tu as vu le film sur lui qui a été fait récemment? Il est trop bon
I love slightly softer French music. I'm actually more a metal head with English lyrics, but when it comes to french i like slower, clearer lyrics. Indila, Angèle, and even Kids United. Their songs are nice and simple.
I just listened to some Eths and damn you weren't wrong. That gal can not only sing well, but that growl really is brutal!
On my playlist, a lot of pop/MOR:
Indila, Nara Noïan (her rendition of Hier Encore is wonderful! You would know it as Yesterday, When I was Young), Garou, Roch Voisin (sings in English and French - he's Canadian after all) and from the 1960s, Jacques Brel (Ne me Quitte Pas). Classic!
Don't know any French rock artists, but am willing to learn.
French metal? no doubt. I listened to two of those and so far I haven't understood much of them. That's okay though.
When I listen to French music, it's generally corny old stuff like 40s/50s jazz (e.g., Boum by Charles Trenet, Je suis snob by Boris Vian.)
I really like Ma liberté by George Moustaki.
I also listen to some of the modern pop like Stromae and Black M.
I like the corny old stuff too, likes 'Ma Pomme' by Maurice Chevalier and 'Mayari' by Josephine Baker. And especially that 'Boum' too.
I grew up with French 'chansons' because that's what my parents liked. So, Gilbert Bécaud, Les compagnons de la chanson, Nana Mouskouri etc. Later I discovered Georges Moustaki, Jacques Brel (Belgian) and when I was in primary and high school 'les Poppys' (french boys choir that sang popular music), Michel Fugain et le Big Bazar and Julien Clerc were on our playlist.
I still have all those records. This post made me look them up on youtube. I must do that more often.
I also like Rosina de Peira et Martina. They are a mother and daughter who sing in Langue d'Oc.
More recent: Stromae.
Mes classes de yoga sont accompagnées de music; des mantras pour la plupart, mes parfois aussi gospel, soul, disco et techno, et de temps en temps Michel Fugain (Une belle histoire).
I listen to a lot of French rap & pop. These recs are pop--
Louane, her self-titled album is great. She has really clear French. Fave songs: nuit pourpre, pour oublier l'amour.
Hoshi's self-titled album, she has a smokey rough voice that I love. She packs a tonne of drama in there. Fave songs: manège à trois, ma merveille.
Spotify offers a lot of mixes in every genre/language combo you could want; it's a good way to find new music. (Currently addicted to Polish rap..)
Avez-vous écouté Fatal Bazooka? He is a comedic French rap artist.
Bardzo dobrze! I haven’t gotten into Polish rap yet, but I love classic Disco Polo!
J'adore Coeur de Pirate, ZAZ et Carla Bruni. Aussi "Aimee" by Baptiste W. Hamon est tres bien.
I don't recommend Eths for beginners, the lyrics are very unusual, not regular French. It's more for advanced learners. (Of course if you like the band, keep listening). You can also listen to Lofofora, Mass Hysteria, Tagada Jones, Aqme...
Thanks for your thoughts! I'm curious, since I've been using them to help acquire some vocabulary, is there something specifically I should be mindful of? I'll also check out the bands you listed!
The first singer used a lot of play of words, invented words ("boulimiarexia" is a mix between the words "boulimie" and "anorexie", complicated metaphors... So, it's great if you managed to learn vocabulary ^^ And it made me think that you can also check Kells, there is the singer of Eths in one of their songs :)
Not so sure you'l like this suggestion jynx, being a punk and metalhead, but Joyce Jonathan is great to listen to for somebody learning french. Here are links to 3 of her songs:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxWLybPwBzs