We’re back again, compiling our favorite tracks at the end of the year, once more. In this case, just as we did with French music in 2017, which we divided into three parts, it’s time to continue reviewing current French music, but here we focus on the best French songs of 2023 and before. As you’ll see, there aren’t many changes in terms of musical genre. The Nouvelle chanson francesa continues to evolve, somewhat stagnant, yet maintaining its freshness thanks to the new voices that emerge year after year in the market. A market, on the other hand, that seems inexhaustible, for our well-being.
Before we start, we don’t want to forget other important current French songs like “Ma Dernière Chanson Triste” by Lonepsi; “Habibi” by BB Brunes; “C’Est Quoi Ton Nom (#CQTN)” by Blankass; “Est-Ce Qu’On En Revient” by Caroline Savoie; “Oui” by Eiffel (who have returned); “Ça C’Est Rock” by Elmer Food Beat; “Le Chat Souris” by Feu! Chatterton; “Le Beau Monde” by Louise Verneuil; “Horizon” by Mon Doux Saigneur; “C’Était L’Hiver” by Radio Elvis; “Tricheur” by trap rapper Nekfeu; “Revues” by Pépite; “Tout Doit Disparaître” by Tété; anything by Bon Entendeur, and many more that we can’t recall at this moment, but that define what the French year of 2019 has been.
The best French songs of the moment
We start this new list at the last position. As you work through the top, the result will hold greater meaning and enjoyment for you. Some names will be quite familiar if you’ve followed the adventures of this blog or if you’re a follower of French chanson. If, on the other hand, this is your first time here and you have no idea about the artists we’re mentioning, we strongly recommend that you open up to discovering them. French music is always in style.
Maybe the list that follows won’t surprise you, but you should know one thing: French music is always very French.
Téléphone by David Giguère
Canadian in origin, in this case, we’ll have to talk about songs in French and not French. We’re not familiar with the success of his career beyond the seas, but he’s quite good with music and videos. It’s no wonder that David Giguère is a familiar face on this blog thanks to his previous songs. Moreover, he appeared in the film “Starbuck” playing one of the protagonist’s children and performing one of his most well-known tracks.
In “Téléphone,” we find the same sound that he left us with, returning to us after several years of silence. We see that little of what we liked back then has changed in this new venture. A song that reminds us of the happiness of shared freedom.
Au Revoir Flemme by James Baker
Goodbye to laziness. A wish or promise that arises at least once a year, especially around the end of the year or the start of the next. During the time when we set new challenges and still believe we can better ourselves.
“Au Revoir Flemme” fights against laziness through electronic and urban music, eliminating any remorse that might be present within us. Everything that stops us from waking up and doing something with our lives on a Sunday, for example, disappears with James Baker’s music.
Porcelaine by Luke
Luke is a rock band from the ’90s that enjoyed some fame back then and until the mid-2000s. Their song “La Sentinelle,” within the alternative scene of 2004, stood out so much that it’s still remembered today. Contemporary to bands like Eiffel (who have also returned this year), Saez who sang “Jeune Et Con” (and who seems to bid farewell to their followers this year), or Mademoiselle K, over time their influence has been evident in bands like “Juste Avant La Ruée” by Radio Elvis, for instance, one of the most interesting in the current French scene.
Summer Slow 88 by Le Noiseur
With a style that closely resembles the best of Benjamin Biolay, Le Noiseur brings us a very French song, classic in its form, which may remind you of many other French voices from previous periods, going back to Serge Gainsbourg or even earlier.
If, in addition to listening to the music, you watch the video, it’s quite likely that you’ll enter a mental state of warmth and slow-motion. “Summer Slow 88” is a calm song in all its expression.
Superchérie by M
M, a famous French artist with a flamboyant appearance who, if he were to go bald, would have to wear a wig (though he might already be wearing one), has been giving his fans great singles for years. If, in addition to that, you manage to ignore his appearance that has nothing to do with his sound, you’ll likely think you’re facing a very normal song, but with something special, perhaps the chorus, or maybe the production, but whatever it is, it becomes addictive.
Comme Si by Les Yeux D’La Tête
With a somewhat folkloric cover that doesn’t make much sense, Les Yeux D’La Tête enters the fifth position on the list with “Comme Si.” It’s true that “Comme Si” is purely French. It has the classic rhythm that we enjoy so much and that the French repeat so well, and only they know how to enhance. If you’ve heard or remember any songs by Zaz, Tryo, or Manu Chao, for example, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s no coincidence that this type of sound was grouped together in the early 2000s as Nouvelle chanson due to its great similarity to the previous style, which combined jazz, pop, and, yes, the folklore of previous decades.
Une Sirène À Paris by Dionysos
If you read our article about “Jack and the Mechanics of the Heart,” you’ll know that we’re big fans of Dionysos and also of its composer, Mathias Malzieu, whom we came to know by name thanks to the book “The Mechanics of the Heart,” not knowing until then that he was the author behind songs we loved like “La Métamorphose de Mister Chat” and, of course, the entire album “La Mécanique du Cœur,” whose concept gave rise to the book that made him a successful author beyond his country, despite having done the same with the previous album, “Monsters in Love” (2005).
Since then (though with the 2005 album, he also published a similarly titled book), his career has flourished equally in literature and music. Each Dionysos album is conceptual, and the album’s story is translated into a book. “Bird ‘n’ Roll” (2012), “Vampire en pyjama” (2016), and “Surprisier” (2020) were accompanied or followed by a book.
Dilemme by Lous And The Yakuza
Another carefully crafted song with a video that matches or even exceeds the level of the song. “Dilemme” is an urban track, performed by a beautiful voice and a sublime flow. The aesthetics of the music video are magnificent, both in terms of the chosen colors and the represented choreography. In it, the female protagonist stands out, demonstrating great talent that places her at the center of our attention, awaiting to see her evolve.
Mandela by Saez
We already talked about this song when we compiled the saddest songs of 2019. If you like Saez, you’ll love “Mandela”; if you know Saez, you’ll know what to expect here. If, on the other hand, Saez’s personal style doesn’t appeal to you very much, its second position on our list might seem quite exaggerated. That’s what being a fan does.
En Nuit by Videoclub
To wrap up, the number one spot goes to a duo that might, in a few years, Videoclub be considered a guilty pleasure above all else. Their videos are innocent in the French style, the singers are enamored both within and outside their ’80s aesthetic, and the music is so catchy that you can’t help but enjoy it like a piece of gum.
They’ve surprised and hooked us so much that we’ve decided to place “En Nuit” in the top spot. Its synthesized production in the pure style of ’80s and ’90s pop, its joy of living, and the melody make it impossible to stop listening to it. Moreover, if you add to that the fact that the voice of the very young Matthieu Reynaud reminds us of Fauve and Adèle Castillon’s voice is pure magic, the result is always good.
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.