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Bonjour les amis!

I am participating again this week in what is quickly becoming my favourite blog hop: Jen Kehl’s Twisted Mixed Tape.  To check out others on the hop, be sure to click her funky button here:

TwistedMixTapeTuesday

This week, the assignment was to make a mix of songs that are totally from a genre or style of music that you don’t usually listen to. You know… 5 songs that you love anyway…

I decided what I would do is give you a bit of French Canadian content.  I figure seeing French music has its own section in all the music stores here it TOTALLY counts as a “genre”.

Having grown up in Ottawa – a bilingual city – I did French Immersion all through school.  In my early 20s I also spent 5 weeks in the Saguenay region of Quebec – at l’Université de Québec à Chicoutimi, brushing up on my rusting French skills.  That apparently showed some foresight, as I ended up marrying a Franco-Ontarian.

As such, over the years I have been exposed to a smattering of French music.

Overall?  When hearing it I usually just thought “You poor little French kids.”  But, there have been some that I have fallen in love with.  And I’m going to share my five favourite one’s today.

Also, given I suspect not all of you are fluent in French, mainly courtesy of Lyrics Translate, I will provide a translation of the lyrics should you wish follow along and understand what the heck it is they are singing about.

I’d note quickly that I made a few corrections/edits to Lyrics Translates translations, but they certainly aren’t perfect.  Any suggested corrections from French speakers are more than welcome.

With that said, I start with a video from my all time favourite French Canadian singer: Jean Leloup.  I discovered him while I was in Chicoutimi in my early 20s.  This is “Isabelle” from his second album that came out in 1990.

For those interested in skipping the mini-movie intro – the song starts around 1:30.

Isabelle

She told you she’d be all yours this afternoon;
On the roundabout at the Fontaine St-Louis Square.
You go there, you get there on time, as usual;
But she isn’t there! You’re alone. Like a fool.

It’s nothing, it’s nothing. I’ll phone her.
It’s nothing, it’s nothing. She probably just forgot.
But then just as you’re walking towards the phone booth;
You see her laughing with all her friends.

It’s not easy when Isabelle dumps you;
There’s nothing to laugh about when Isabelle sends you packing.

That bitch! Oh, that cow! But why didn’t she say anything?
That bitch! Oh, that cow! She treats you like a dog;
But your heart is too tender.
And you’d rather wait for her;
In the coffee shop across the street.
Like a spy, like an idiot;
But just as your coffee arrives;
You see her, she’s leaving again on the moped;
Of your friend. Or, well, really, the one you had wondered about.
You tell yourself “It’s over, she left with him!”

It’s not easy when Isabelle dumps you;
There’s nothing to laugh about when Isabelle sends you packing.

[Video pause – Isabelle’s voice telling him that the summer they spent together was great, but to please not come and look for her in New York.  Now don’t forget to eat well and clip your nails!]

At night, you go to her favourite bar;
You get there at ten and it’s empty and anonymous.
But, really, what do you think you look like?
You see many of them laughing;
Talking behind your back;
Making fun of you.
“Where is she? Where is she?” you dumbly ask;
The blonde waitress who’s her best friend.
She answers that she doesn’t know, neither why nor how;
With this innocent look. But you know very well that she’s lying.

It’s not easy when Isabelle dumps you;
There’s nothing to laugh about when Isabelle sends you packing.

My little bee, I still love you.  Tell me you’re sleeping.
My little wonder, tell me that love isn’t dead.

Isabelle, Isabelle, answer me and talk to me!
I didn’t know, didn’t want to, hell, I didn’t do it on purpose.
But she doesn’t say anything anymore, now it’s for real.
Now, right now, love is a nasty business;
Love is a nasty business.

Next up, I’m going to give you the first French song I fell in love with.

By Patrick Bruel, it’s called J’te l’dis quand meme (Je t’aime).  It’s from his 1989 album.

I did an exchange program in Grade 9 where I went to Nancy, France for two weeks and stayed with a French family.  The girl I was matched with, and stayed with – Marion – was a huge Patrick Bruel fan – and made me a mixed tape of her favourite French music before I left.  This was on it.  Here, he is singing with Natasha St. Pier (it was Lara Fabian but that video has gone missing).

As an aside, while researching for this post, I additionally discovered that Patrick Bruel also has a long and varied acting career (mainly in his native France) which included a role in 1995’s Sabrina.  Given I am both an Audrey Hepburn and Julia Ormond fan, it just made me love him all the more.

J’te le dis quand même

We could have told all that to each other;
Elsewhere than at the downstairs café.
Maybe you still would have left;
And maybe still not come back.
But either way what’s sure is we would have laughed about it.

So we’re going to break up just like that?
Like fools in front of the downstairs café?
Like in a B movie;
We both suck.
We’ve made fun so many times;
Of the people who do that.

But I find no refrain for our story;
All the words that occur to me are pathetic.
I pretty much know I’ve said it too much;
But I’m telling you anyway … I love you.

I still want to thank you;
For all the mean words we never said to each other.
Some people are laughing already;
I don’t care, I never liked them anyway.
We looked too happy together;
Some people can’t stand that.

But I find no refrain for our story;
All the words that occur to me are  pathetic.
I pretty much know I’ve said it too much;
But I’m telling you anyway … I love you.

I pretty much know I’ve said it too much;
But I’m telling you anyway … I love you.

… I love you.

Next up I give you another one from France: a band who I first fell in love with based on the name alone: Louise Attaque!

Then there was the album cover:

Louise_Attaque

Then there was discovering the awesome Louise Michel (French Anarchist 1830-1905) that the band is named in tribute of… Until then, I thought the most famous Louise out there was Charles II’s mistress.

With that intro, I give you “Je t’emmene au vent” from their 1997 album.

Who doesn’t love a little rock violin?  Also, it turned out that this was one of my future sister in laws favourite bands – so we had something to talk about in the early days of getting to know each other (ie: why Chris’ anglo girlfriend even knows this band exists?!)

I take you away in the wind

Come on.
I take you away in the wind;
I take you above the people;
And I would like you to remember that our love is eternal and not artificial.

I would like you to stay up front;
To be here now and then;
And I would like you to remember that our love is eternal and not artificial.

I would like you to call me more often;
Sometimes to take the initiative;
And I would like you to remember that our love is eternal and not artificial.

I would like you to be the one I hear;
Come on;
I take you above the people;
And I would like you to remember our eternal and not artificial fling.

Next up, I’m going to be a bit repetitive and give you another one from Jean Leloup.

This is the one we danced to in the clubs in Chicoutimi when I was there in my early 20s.  Such a catchy tune.

I have to admit I only really just now looked at the words… If I had more free time, I’d go down the Internet rabbit hole to try and determine his thoughts in writing this song, because it’s a theme that re-occurred in at least two of the books I remember being forced to read in French class in high school – namely “La Fille Laide” (The Ugly Girl) by Yves Thériault, and Marcel Dubé’s Florence – which – and I’m likely missing nuance here – if memory serves was basically about the awkward/shy/young/whatever French secretary who breaks up with her fiancé to sleep with, and then get dumped by, her boss.

Anyway, I give you “La Vie Est Laide” from his 1998 album:

Life is Ugly

Out of her vaporous hair;
She made herself a blurry frame;
From which her face stands out;
From far away, mysterious.
And that’s where this fateful story gets complicated;
The boss just walked by;
He didn’t even notice her.
Look, she said. I may be ugly, But I am intelligent.

Ugly! ugly!
Life is so ugly;
‘Cause I am not pretty;
Life is so ugly.

He was a born seducer;
A fifty-something blue jeans wearing man.
With graying hair; and married;
Just like in the movies you see on TV.
His wife can’t dress properly;
She’s a tired forty-something woman;
Meanwhile, he doesn’t look his age;
While she does the housework. The dishes… The housework… The dishes.

It has just struck ten o’clock;
She sees a young and sexy girl;
Throw herself into the boss’ arms.
Men are all the same!
From the window, she watches them.
But she never loses hope;
He’ll eventually get tired of this bitch.

Ugly! Ugly!
Life is so ugly;
‘Cause I’m not pretty;
I’m a trash can!
Life is so ugly.

It’s twelve o’clock;
It’s lunchtime, you have to eat.
She passes right in front of him;
He didn’t even notice her.
He makes jokes while he’s talking;
And of course, everyone’s laughing.
He’s got his arm around that girl;
He laughs, and she laughs too.

Ugly! Ugly!
Life is so ugly;
‘Cause I’m not pretty;
Life is so ugly.

One day he’ll calm down;
He’ll get over his youth.
And it’s me he’ll choose;
And it’s me he’ll marry.

So that brings us to my last pick.  This is one my brothers in law and my mother in law use to play in the background all the time when we use to visit while my husband and I were dating.  I remember thinking it was beautiful.

I leave you with Kevin Parent‘s Seigneur from 1996.

This song is also home to one of my favourite phrases from a song ever.  While beautiful in both languages, I’m going to write it out for you in French here because the English really just doesn’t do it justice.  It’s the third paragraph of the translation below.

Mon rôle dans la vie;
N’est pas encore défini.
Pourtant je m’efforce;
Pour qu’il soit accompli.
Je le sais; faut tout que je recommence.

Mais Seigneur j’ai pas envie.

Seigneur

Lord, Lord, what do you want me to say to you?
There’s nothing left to do;
I’m turned inside out;
I’d like to run away;
But I’m trapped.

Lord, Lord, what do you want me to say to you?
Her indifference rips my chest apart;
And all I think about now is dying.

My role in this life;
Is not yet defined.
And yet, I’m doing my best;
To fulfill it.
I know; I have to start all over again.

But God, I don’t want to.

Lord, Lord, I know that you had told me;
To respect your family; to think about tomorrow;
Because patience would bring me nice rewards.

Work with enthusiasm to sooth the hunger;
Of the woman who loves you, because she needs it.

She needs a faithful man who knows how to take care of her.

Lucifer, Lucifer, you took advantage of my weakness;
To make me go through Hell.

But I don’t hold it against you;
It was me who thought I could be friends with you.
But I really got conned by that bastard, Lucifer.

Sex, alcohol, bars and drugs;
Those are the kind of illusions I consume.
If we are what we eat, Lord;
You know all too well that I won’t ever be an angel.

But I want to turn the page;
Move on from my past and take out the thrash.
I’d like to take the time to make peace with some of my sufferings.
Yes, I’d like to take the time to make peace with some of my sufferings.

A la prochaine! (Until next time!)

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