Sunday, December 11, 2016

The EuropeCrazy Holiday Hit List: Carcassonne September 2016

One last outstanding post from late summer before I turn my attention to the year-end chart.

Yes it's back!  It's a long time since I've done one of these.  The reason for that is mainly due to going on holiday and not having any music channels on TV, or programmes showing music clips.

However, on our holiday in September in Carcassonne, that wasn't a problem.  Between the W9 and CStar channels, there were lots of current/recent music clips to choose from and even better, about 99% of them were by French artists or other artists outwith the usual loop of overplayed artists.  

"Cette Année-La" - M Pokora.

I'll admit that I was pretty shocked on seeing and hearing this video for the first time.  Why?  Well, for one thing, the blonde hair.  Sorry Matt, but IMHO it's not a good look.  Or is it maybe also a tribute to Claude François' famous blonde hair?

I also didn't expect to see Matt Pokora, one of France's coolest pop stars of recent years - for the uninitiated, think France's answer to Justin Timberlake - performing a cover version of the song best known in the English-speaking world as "Oh What A Night" as performed by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  In the parallel universe of French-language music, the song is better known as "Cette Année-La" as performed by French music legend Claude François, who tragically died in 1978.

But after some research it all became clear, because it was the first single from Matt's Claude François tribute album, which was released in October

This clip probably had the heaviest rotation of all during our short stay in Carcassonne.  It's certainly a strange career move for Matt, who just a few years ago was working with Timbaland and his team, but credit to him for trying something different and acknowledging his French music roots.  In case you didn't know, Claude François was one of France's most legendary singers and songwriters of his time: he wrote and recorded "Comme d'habitude" the original French version of the song later translated to English by Paul Anka and recorded by Frank Sinatra as..."My Way".

"Are We Awake" - Tal.

Another video which was on quite heavy rotation.  I know that Tal's been quite a successful artist in France over the past few years. although I'm not familiar with her music.  This is a nice easy-going pop/r'n'b number which, apart from its English title and the line "time to wake up right now" is in fact in French. I've been quite annoyed of late about the proliferation of the English language in French music, so I'm relieved that there's still plenty of native-language music around, even if a little English slips in here and there.

"On Dirait" - Amir.

Of course Amir used the bilingual approach very well on "J'ai cherche", France's 2016 ESC entry which achieved the country's best result in the contest in 14 years.  Even more pleasant is that Amir seems to be making a successful career post-ESC.  This follow-up single is equally as catchy and likeable as its predecessor.

"Le Lac" - Julien Doré.

Unlike in the UK, where a talent show win doesn't guarantee a long career (with the occasional exception), some artists in France have won talent shows and gone on to have sustained success, whether it's Jenifer and Nolwenn Leroy (Star Academy), Kendji Girac and Frero Delavega (The Voice), and Christophe Willem and Julien Doré (Nouvelle Star - French Idol)

Julien has followed his very individual musical path.  It's a quite epic video for "Le Lac" which is quite a laid-back and hypnotic song with soft, whispered vocals by the man himself.

"Lost On You" - LP.

Our holiday in Carcassonne introduced me to this song which has since gone on to become a very big hit in a number of European countries.  In the earlier years of my blog I used to have my "Great Lost European Hit of The Year" award and this looks like being 2016's winner as so far, this has escaped the attention of the tiresome and stagnant UK singles chart.

LP is American singer/songwriter Laura Pergolizzi is no overnight sensation: she initially established her career as a songwriter for the likes of the Backstreet Boys, Erik Hassle, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera, but she is now finally achieving fame in her own right with this song from her 4th album.

"Vivre ou ne pas vivre" - Coeur de Pirate, Arthur H and Marc Lavoine

A combination of older and younger stars. Many of our earlier holidays in France in the late 90s and early 2000s were soundtracked by Marc Lavoine who has been a big star in France since the 1980s and still remains popular today.  This is quite a haunting and hypnotic tune which grabbed my attention on the music video shows.  

No comments: