So Frenchy, So Chic: Unofficial Soundtrack to the 2011 Alliance Française Film Festival
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So Frenchy, So Chic: Unofficial Soundtrack to the 2011 Alliance Française Film Festival

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Popular culture, for all its pretensions to universal attraction, is a localised beast, defined and constructed by the subjective cultural whims of the instant demographic.

Popular culture, for all its pretensions to universal attraction, is a localised beast, defined and constructed by the subjective cultural whims of the instant demographic. In that context, French popular music can be a hit or miss affair when exposed to English-speaking ears. Most of us have endured a shower of Europop shite raining wantonly throughout a French retail store; equally, many a hidden electronic dance gem has been discovered in the soundtrack to an intriguing French film.

It’s in the latter category that the So Frenchy, So Chic series falls into. Billed as the unofficial soundtrack to this year’s Alliance Française Film Festival, the 2011 edition of So Frenchy, So Chic is just as eclectic and impressive as its 2010 predecessor. Cécile Hercule’s Roger is slick and sexy with a distant nod to John Lennon’s Imagine, Cocoon’s Dee Doo wraps bubblegum pop in an fashionable French cloak, The Rodeo’s On The Radio has an arid, bluesy edge rarely closer to kd Lang than anything hitherto associated with France, while Robin Ledue’s Laissez-moi passer is so riotously funky it’s worthy of a pop revolution.

The French brand of electronic punk gets full view in Disiz Peter Punk’s Dans le Ventre, while the psychedelic folk of Syd Matters’ His Life could be a lament for Syd Barrett’s lost world.

The second disc of the double-disc set has plenty of its own highlights, from the country-folk-pop of Zaz’s Le Long de la Route, to Keren Ann’s elegant My Name Is Trouble to Brigette’s cocktail lounge Battez-Vous. Melanie Pain’s Cent Mille Fois is as sultry as Jane Birkin under Gainsbourg’s watchful eye, Féfé’s Dans Ma Rue splices The Passenger with a hip-whipping Caribbean edge and Gaëtan Roussel’s Help Myself is 1960s British pop infused with the grooving beats of a 1990s discothèque.

French cinema has long had a reputation for artistic depth and precision that leaves its English-speaking cousins in the cinematic dark. So Frenchy, So Chic, suggests that French pop has its own claim to cultural excellence.


Label : Cartell Music

BY ELDINE BAPTISTE