Alright, dear friends. I have some news that might shock you. For my French friends, my news won’t be alarming. For many of my non-French friends, you might find this news unsettling. Are you sitting? I think you should sit for this. Here goes…
There is more to French music than Edith Pilaf.
Voila. Are you okay? Please, before you click ‘unfollow’ and throw darts at my picture, allow me to elaborate. First and foremost, Edith Pilaf is a goddess. I worship her. Whenever and wherever Padam, Padam starts to play, I immediately stop whatever I am doing, and I sing hard. Ears bleed. Children cry. Her music transcends time for a reason- she’s perfect. You can bet that in the future, I will write an entire feature on her. That being said, let’s take a moment to realize that she was last active as a singer in the early sixties. French music has greatly evolved since then, and it deserves some more global appreciation. From the American perspective, Elvis Presley is a treasured icon, much like Pilaf is in French culture, but he does not define American music. Can you imagine if the U.S. was only credited for Elvis? No Nirvana. No Madonna. No Britney Spears. I think Taylor Swift would have a huge problem with that. Francophiles tend to revere Edith Pilaf, but I think we can expand our musical palettes a bit.
That’s where À La Prochaine can help. I have started a world over at Spotify, where we can all loudly sing along to some excellent French music, old and new. Sure, you’ll find some Edith in the mix, but you might also find a more current artist that might provoke an intense karaoke session.
I found mine. Voici Louane:
Nineteen-year-old French pop singer, Louane Emera (born Anne Peichert), first surfaced into notoriety in 2013, auditioning for the popular French singing competition, The Voice: la plus belle voix. Capturing the hearts of the audience with her rendition of Imagine, Louane reached the semi-finals. While she did not win the competition, Louane’s not worried. Her 2014 debut album, Chambre 12, became an instant success.
The attraction to Louane is widespread- she’s the complete package. To accompany her sweet, but complex throaty vocal range is a charming and downright adorable young woman. However, don’t mistake a sweet demeanor for weakness. Louane’s songs are an emotional and intense ride. Her chart-topping hit, Avenir, proves that. Easily one of my favorite French breakup anthems, this song, which translates to ‘the future’, describes a tumultuous breakup. The boyfriend dumps the girlfriend, presumably Louane, and entrenched in loneliness and abandonment, she finds herself vengeful toward her ex-boyfriend.
You hate the ex too right? Good. Just checking. If you hurt Louane, then you’re a monster. The lyrics above translate to, “I hope that you’re going to suffer, and that you’ll sleep terribly.” Although spiteful revenge music might not be for everyone. If the story behind Avenir doesn’t interest you, then the beat will. Just listen to the chorus, “Wah-oh, wah-oh, wah-oh, wah-oh, oh, oh,” and try not to get that upbeat jingle stuck in your head. It’s a fun bit in a dark song. For those unfamiliar with French, you can find a decent translation of Avenir here.
As a bonus treat, I have included her performance of Imagine. Her cover of the song launched her stardom, although the background story is tragic. Her father died three months prior to her stint on The Voice. To complicate matters further, Louane’s mother passed away in 2014 due to illness. Make sure you have some tissues with you when you listen to her cover of Imagine, which she dedicates to her late father.
I’m not crying. I swear. Ok, maybe just a little. Since I knew this would get emotional, I’ve included a fun video I found of her covering Imagine Dragon’s, Radioactive. I hope that helps lift the mood.
Regardless, give Louane a try. She’s worth it. Below, you will see the Louane playlist with my favorite songs from Chambre 12. Enjoy!
À la prochaine!
PS- I swear I still love Edith Pilaf.
Louane’s Official Website: http://www.louaneofficiel.com/live/
Louane on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/louane/