When learning a new language, it is important to immerse yourself in it as much as you can! Not only does this give you insight on the culture, but it also gives you an opportunity to learn new words and sayings. Amongst others, you can do this through movies, TV shows, and podcasts. However, I believe music is especially helpful, as melodies tend to stick in your head. Furthermore, they involve a bunch of slangs that you wouldn’t be introduced to otherwise.
My time in a French school has allowed me to discover some pretty cool French tracks that I think would be helpful for any new learners.
1- Hier Encore by Charles Aznavour
I am starting this off with a classic French song, as they are essential in the understanding of the French music scene! Charles Aznavour, a French-Armenian singer, has produced the most iconic songs in the history of French music. I chose this particular song as it beautifully depicts the intense emotions of regret and nostalgia. This song is about an older Aznavour reflecting on what he perceives as a ruined childhood filled with unattained dreams. It is heavy, but his emotional singing is definitely worth the listen.
2- Les Oiseaux by Pomme
In November 2019, French artist Pomme released Les Oiseaux as part of her latest album “Les Failles”. Translating to “The Birds”, the song is an enchanting and calm ballad. Pomme wrote this song in honor of her special connection to the city of Montreal in Canada. Through the lyrics, she talks about a feeling of liberty. Usually, the French singer has the tendency to tackle heavy themes such as mental health struggles and loss. However, I believe that this makes her music all too relatable. Her soft voice could transport you to another world. I would suggest you to listen to Grandiose, On Brûlera and Les Séquoias as well.
3- Infirmière by Fauve
I’ll admit, this one might be a bit difficult to understand. Nonetheless, I had to include Fauve, an anonymous French band. They quickly rose to fame through their extremely beautiful slam poetry-like-lyrics. Infirmière describes a desperate longing for the person he loves. He uses the word “Infirmière”, meaning nurse, to describe his immense need for her to care for him. Other song suggestions from them would be Nuits Fauves and Lettre à Zoé.
4- Tout Oublier by Angèle ft. Romeo Elvis
Angèle is a pop artist from Belgium and is probably one of the most known francophone singers in the world. I strongly recommend her songs for learning French, as they are super catchy and fun. Her voice is extremely soothing as well, which makes her all too good to listen to. During this stressful period, Tout Oublier is the perfect ballad to listen! It urges the listener to have fun despite the worries in life. Featuring the rapper and brother Romeo Elvis, the upbeat song will automatically make you want to dance. If you are interested in the French rap scene, you should definitely check out Elvis as well.
5- Beyrouth plage by Julien Doré
Julien Doré is a French singer, songwriter and actor who made his musical debut in 2008. He is known for producing rock folk music. Additionally, he also produces a variety of different genres, which makes him accessible for every music taste. Beyrouth plage depicts his time in Beirut, Lebanon. He describes his longing for a love like the beauty of Beirut. If you are interested in his acting career, you should definitely watch “Call My Agent”. Playing himself, he appears in season 2 and 3 as a client of a renowned acting agency. The series is super funny and filled with amazing French talents.
6- Macarena by Damso
The Belgian-Congolese rapper is one of the most renowned in the French rap scene. Damso actually has a bachelor degree in Marketing and Psychology due to the pressure from his parents. However, he has always been a musical person and decides to dedicate his career to that. The eighth track on his album “Ipséité”, Macarena has become one of his most well-known songs. It talks about a rocky relationship and its aftermath.
I think these songs offer a small vision of the French music scene. You can definitely find other gems if you dig deep into the artists I have mentioned. French music has become one of my favorite types of music, and I hope you get a glimpse of the French experience through these songs!
Written by Tia El Chami