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Top Modern and Classic French Songs

 With final exams and assignments are coming up in just under a month, high-school students are under a great amount of pressure. However, it is crucial for them to take a break at times and immerse themselves in other activities other than academics. As a student who learns French, I have listed a few classical and modern French songs that will pacify your anxiety. For those who study French, this is a great way to improve on the language. And for those who do not, these songs will uplift your day and give you an insight into a new culture. Regardless, the songs will make you feel as if you are in Paris!

Classic

1. Je Suis Malade – Lara Fabian 

Released in 1994, this song is simply beautiful: Fabian’s passion, thoughts, and feelings show in her powerful voice. After hearing a couple of times, the tune will get stuck in your head—in the next minute you will be walking off singing the words ‘je suis malade!’

2. S.O.S d’un terrien en detresse – Daniel Balavoine and Dimash Kudaibergen 

Balavoine is a prominent french singer during the 20th century for inspiring other singers such as Jean-Jacques. One of his famous songs, “S.O.S” became a massive hit globally when it was released. The music is exemplified even more by a modern singer, Dimash Kudaibergen. Try listening to the both and compare the two!

3. Ne Me Quitte Pas – Jacques Brel 

Translated into “Don’t leave me” and released in 1959, this song will pacify your hectic mind with his soothing voice. A perfect song to listen after a long day of studying or working.

4. Non, Je ne regrette rien – Edith Piaf and Madagascar 3 

Other than being sung by a female singer, this short yet potent song may sound familiar when you hear it. Perhaps at a local cafe? At a Jazz concert? Piaf’s vibrant voice with the dulcet instrumental will immerse you into Paris, drinking a cup of coffee. It has also been included in Madagascar 3 as an adaptation; a bit strange but worth a watch!

5. Papaoutai – Stromae 

Having over 400 million views on Youtube, this modern song by Stromae became the top best selling single in Belgium and quickly spread to the world. It is well-known for not only its catchy lyrics ‘Papaoutai’ but also its incredible music video that features a young boy talking to a mannequin father. Stromae later claimed that the absence of the father represented his own as Stromae’s father died in the Rwandan genocide.

6. Derniere Danse – Indila 

Indila is alongside with Stromae in modern day french songs. Besides the eloquence, the song touches on a serious issue in today’s society: racism. For me, Indila’s clear voice aided me in better grasping the French accent and pronunciation in addition to its beauty.

7. On Ecrit Sur Les Murs – Kids United 

Unlike the others listed, this song is sung by Kids who are part of the ‘Kids United.’ If you do not look at the music video, it is nearly impossible to determine whether or not young kids sang it.

8. C’est Chelou – Zaho

Although the music video may seem peculiar, the catchy repetition will remain in you for a long time. The next thing you know, you will be walking out of your exam singing ‘C’est Chelou’!

A lot of the modern day songs tend to spin-offs from classical songs like the Madagascar. Furthermore, the modern ones tend to focus on more of social and personal issues like Stromae and Indila.

The songs are great for students and adults alike to take their minds off of the workload and submerge into the French culture.

—Sarah Se-Jung Oh (’19)

Featured Image: Celine Yoon (’19)

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