5 songs to listen to when learning French
With the French popular music chart often saturated with American r&b and dance tracks and many artists in France writing their songs in English, it can be hard to find French language music of real quality, beyond what we might give the blanket term of ‘eurotrash’. However, in recent years the French hip hop scene has grown stronger than ever, and by digging a little deeper you discover there are some great things happening on the continent across all genres. Here are 5 French songs you should add to your Spotify if you are learning French.
Nekfeu – On Verra
French rapper and producer Nekfeu, already a member of successful hip hop groups 1995 and S-Crew, caused a big splash across la Manche with his debut solo album Feu picking up a Victoire (French equivalent of Brit Award) for best urban music album. The chilled-out vibes of On Verra recall Kid Cudi, while the lyrics about youth urban culture will also be familiar to anyone acquainted with US rappers like Mac Miller or Wiz Khalifa.
If you enjoy this check out Ma Dope, another good single from Nekfeu.
Fauve – Blizzard
The mysterious collective of musicians, videographers and graphic designers who call themselves Fauve emerged in 2010 via Youtube. Their unique combination of ambient indie instrumentals and confrontational hard-hitting vocals blur the lines between rap and spoken-word, poetry and conversation. Listen to Blizzard and it is easy to see why Fauve were offered recording contracts by nearly every major label in France (all refused, bien sur).
Fréro Delavega – Le chant des sirènes
Pop duo Fréro Delavega entered the public eye when they reached the quarter finals of France’s version of The Voice under the guidance of celebrity judge Mika. However, obviously unphased by their elimination, they released a chart topping debut album in 2014. Le chant des sirènes is a catchy summery acoustic tune, with a few electronic touches, though admittedly the syrupy vocals may not be for everyone.
Christine and the Queens – Paradis Perdus
Performing songs in a mixture of English and French, Christine and the Queens is the eccentric synth pop alter ego of Héloïse Letissier. The mellow Paradis Perdus cleverly samples the chorus from Kanye West’s Heartless, and if you’re a fan of artists like Sia or Emilíana Torrini this one could be for you.
Maitre Gims – Zombie
It would be an injustice to make a list of current French music and not include Maître Gims. A longtime member of the rap group Sexion Assaut, the rapper and singer has more recently achieved fame throughout Europe with two hit solo albums. He’s a great singer with a distinctively powerful voice and his songs have witty, intricate lyrics. Zombie is a personal favourite, but listen to Bella and J’me tire from his debut album as well.
I left him from this list as he will be familiar to most people learning French, but of course Stromae is also an amazing artist who spans countless genres. Be sure to check out his second album racine carrée.