French Pop

By Aidan Morales

One of the most influential artists within French Pop is Françoise Hardy, with a career spanning across 50 years. Her influence in music can be seen across the French-speaking world, such as Québec and French-speaking Africa. With more than 30 albums released, she continues to influence French music forever and is still without a doubt a national icon. Her self-titled album is her most popular album by far and also my favorite, containing my personal favorite song: “Tous les garçons et les filles.”

In duo with Hardy, another French musical icon is Étienne Daho. Daho was and remains a pioneer in the Chanson and French pop music scene and even the new wave scene, which heavily contrasted the British invasion sound popular during the time of his career peak. Having more than 20 albums to his name and counting, his music career is still very healthy and he enjoys fans from every corner of the world. His sound is akin to the popular soft-speaking Chet Baker of the United States, which gives him a soothing vibe that makes anyone feel at peace. A not very popular album, but my favorite, is La notte, la notte with my favorite song being “La Grand Sommeil.” This album was remastered in 2014, providing a soft and high-quality sound.

France Gall, another Yé-yé artist, was another hit in France, akin to Hardy. Although not possessing the same vocal popularity as Hardy, she was competing solely with Hardy in some areas, as their sound of music were very similar and were one of a kind during the peak of their careers. Sadly, at the age of 70, she passed away in 2018. With her death, she left behind a legacy of music that will never be forgotten. My favorite performances from her would have to be her live duets with various singers, however my favorite studio song from her is “Résiste,” which quickly became a French pop standard.

Last but not least, Brigitte Bardot was and is an absolute hit in France. Her acting and singing career spans decades and will continue to influence French pop forever. Starting her music career with the album Bonnie and Clyde but skyrocketing it with the release of “Bubble Gum,” she has few albums but many hits. Though the song “Bonnie and Clyde” is the most popular, my favorite song has to be “Ça Pourrait Changer,” which I think embodies the Yé-yé spirit.

You don’t have to speak or understand French to enjoy these hits, as seen by these singers’ international popularity; Music transcends language and these artists proved it. Do yourself a favor and take a dive into French pop, Yé-yé,  and Chanson. 

(Also Paris is overrated. Go to the countryside if you ever visit France.)