With football’s European Championships tournament kicking off in Paris over the weekend, we thought we’d add our own pièce de résistance to the proceedings with some of the most popular music coming out of France in 2016. Whether you’re into pop, electronica, or dance here are 25 of the hottest tunes coming out of la France in no particular order.
1. Emilie Mover – “Pret a Porter”
Okay, we’re cheating a little here. This beautiful tune from French-Canadian singer/songwriter Emilie Mover was actually released in 2013, but you might have heard it at the end of last week’s episode of Orphan Black, “The Mitigation of Competition.” And should you be in the market for a free song, we’ve got you covered.
2. Sport – “Muscles”
Speaking of free music, the French punk band Sport’s entire new album Slow is available to stream for free. A follow-up to their 2014 offering Bon Voyage, one of the album’s standout tracks is the catchy “Muscles.”
3. La Femme – “Sphynx”
Coming almost three years after the 2013 release of their previous single, French psych-punk band La Femme‘s 2016 hit “Sphynx” is a deeply hypnotic track, taking us on an acid-induced journey through space and time. It is accompanied by an equally spellbinding music video.
4. M83 – “Solitude”
Named after the group of galaxies of the same name, M83 are major players in France’s electronic music scene. So much so that they merited two entries on this list, the first of which —”Solitude”—is an epic piano/synth ballad reminiscent in style of a modern-day James Bond theme. The second is our next entry…
5. M83 – “Do It, Try It”
This track is perhaps unlike anything else from the M83 discography, calling to mind 1990s electronica, in particular Underworld’s “Born Slippy.” As was the case with the latter, it is easy to see “Do It, Try It” guiding a pivotal scene in an as-yet unmade French remake of Trainspotting.
6. Else – “Mirage”
Fancy taking it down a notch? Why not chill out to this electronic offering from Else, a member of the L’Ordre collective. You can find them on SoundCloud here.
7. Amir – “J’ai cherché”
Fans of the Eurovision Song Contest may well be familiar with “J’ai cherché” (I sought), which placed 6th at this year’s annual event. In true 21st century style, Amir is the product of various other singing competitions, including The Voice: la plus belle voix—France’s version of The Voice. Take a listen.
8. Arnaud Rebotini & Christian Zanési – “Acidmonium”
Check out this retro-looking video – produced in 2015 – from Arnaud Rebotini. While its initial focus on an old-style television set might lead you to think you’ve accidentally clicked on John Farnham’s “The Voice,” the resulting music is quite a world away. The clue, in fact, is in the song’s title: “Acidmonium.” We’ll let you be the judge.
9. Casey – “Places Gratuites”
Here’s one from France’s ever-expanding hip-hop scene, of which rapper Casey is a pretty major player. This one is called “Places Gratuites” (free places).
10. Mylène Farmer – “City of Love”
With a recording history that goes back thirty years, Mylène Farmer is among France’s most successful recording artists of all time. “City of Love” strikes a similar style to the works of post-1995 Madonna, with even the music video incorporating gothic themes in much the same manner as Madge’s 1998 hit “Frozen.”
11. Christine and the Queens – “Here”
Despite the name, Christine and The Queens is not a band, but a solo artist otherwise known as Héloïse Letissier. Her song “Here”—featuring Booba—boasts a combination of rap and CatQ’s own Indie style.
12. Woodkid – “Land of All”
Part of the soundtrack to the Jonás Cuarón (son of acclaimed Gravity director, Alfonso) film Desierto, this track is a powerful ballad that almost sounds as if it came straight from a Coldplay songbook. That’s not to take anything away from Woodkid himself, however, whose breadth of work also includes—under his real name of Yoann Lemoine—music video direction for Lana del Rey’s “Born to Die.”
13. Jean-Michel Jarre & Peaches – “What You Want”
Jean-Michel Jarre probably needs no introduction, having been a pioneer of the electronic scene for over 40 years. It is testament to his compositional prowess that he is still churning out hooks such as that used in “What You Want,” a track that ultimately improves after multiple listens. Jarre has actually had quite the prolific year, also collaborating on the song “Exit” with Edward Snowden (yes, that Edward Snowden).
14. Paradis – “Toi et moi”
Forming in 2011, this duo are still relative newcomers to the house music scene, especially when considering the longevity and international success of their fellow French rivals Daft Punk. But this follow-up to their 2014 hit “Sur Une Chanson En Français” (on a song in French) is a solid toe-tapper.
15. Christophe – “Dangereuse”
From his new album Les Vestiges du chaos (The Vestiges of Chaos), this latest single from French pop legend Christophe offers up a more traditional French sound, with its sense of longing conjured up beautifully by the accompanying string arrangement.
16. Yelle – “Un million”
Formed in the mid-2000s, the band Yelle have released a song here about self-discovery, stripping bear some of the excesses heard on previous hit “Ba$$in.” “Un million” (A million) is electronica simplified and works all the better for it.
17. Keren Ann – “Where Did You Go?”
Originally of Israeli descent but of French residency, Keren Ann is, for me, wonderfully similar in both style and voice to British singer/songwriter Dido. This particularly comes through on “Where Did You Go?”
18. The Algorithm – “Floating Point”
Switching gears somewhat, this juggernaut from the music project The Algorithm is an original hybrid of electronic and metal music, with an old-fashioned guitar solo thrown in for good measure.
19. Jean-Louis Murat – “French Lynx”
As a singer/songwriter, Murat has been on the scene for some 35 years, having recorded almost 30 albums (both live and in the studio). This 2016 track boasts a catchy, high tempo verse that juxtaposes quite nicely with its contemplative chorus.
20. Renaud – “Toujours debout”
This song is to Renaud what “I’m Still Standing” is to Elton John; indeed “Toujours debout” literally means still standing. Only the French veteran’s take on the theme is brought into the 21st century with lines such as “Je fais plus les télés, j’ai même pas internet.” A peach of a tune, it is one of those songs you’d expect to find on a road trip compilation. Allons-y!
21. Breakbot – “Back for More”
Breakbot is a leading figure in France’s disco scene, known for both his remixes and original hit records. Indeed, fans of the video game Gran Turismo 5 might be familiar with both sides of his repertoire, as the game features his remix of Pnau’s “Baby” and Breakbot’s bass-driven original track “Penelope Pitstop.” Check out his more recent hit, “Back for More.”
22. Cocovan – “Chic (Someone to Love)”
For those of us nostalgic for the sounds of the 1980s, rising French pop star Cocovan might be the antidote we need. In “Chic (Someone to Love)”, the artist could almost be channeling Madonna, circa mid-to-late ’80s, while her strong vocals are a pretty good match for Kylie Minogue. She is one French movie soundtrack away from super stardom.
23. Aya Nakamura – “Oublier”
This is a song all about moving on (oublier is French for forget) and its chorus might call to mind “Price Tag” by Jessie J. Either way, it is well worth a listen.
24. Bob Sinclar – “Someone Who Needs Me”
DJ and Music producer Bob Sinclar delivers yet another bright and energetic dance hit to get you up on the floor this summer. And, with what is perhaps an unlikely mixture of Stevie Wonder, Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” and Gaga‘s “Alejandro,” the video isn’t half bad either.
25. Martin Solveig – “Do It Right”
Speaking of hitting the dance floor, this collaboration between DJ Martin Solveig and Zimbabwe-born Australian singer Tkay Maidza hits all the right spots.
What songs would you add to this list? Tell us below:Read More