Albums

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French Music - Released October 19, 2009 | Naive

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks
Hailed as the wunderkind of a new generation of French songwriters, Benjamin Biolay has often divided opinion, as his undeniable talents are not always exempt from narcissism. His sprawling double-album La Superbe will provide both admirers and critics with plenty of ammunition. While many contemporary French artists have unabashedly attempted to present themselves as the natural heir to Serge Gainsbourg, Biolay is arguably the strongest contender to the throne. He is a consummate master of the sultry boy/girl dialogue against an ostinato motif of swirling strings that Gainsbourg patented in the '60s, and that since the '90s has seemingly become the Holy Grail of a hefty chuck of the alternative scene (Pulp, Divine Comedy, Tindersticks, Blur, Portishead, Placebo, Suede, etc.). Nowhere is this more evident in La Superbe than in "Brandt Rhapsodie," where Biolay and Jeanne Cherhal act out an entire French film of the "couple conversation" genre inside of a five-minute pop song, with results that are -- much like those films -- as seductive as they can be infuriating. The same applies for much of this album. Biolay is clearly at the top of his game as a composer and arranger, and indeed La Superbe sounds like the ultimate decalogue of French sensuality, but there is a limit as to how many long-winded, cinematic, spoken monologues on sex, the futility of life, and languid bitterness a record can hold. This ambitious but definitely self-indulgent project plays almost like a suite and can too easily become a sensuous sonic blur, one where it becomes hard to discern individually memorable songs. It should be noted, however, that La Superbe was greeted with rave reviews in France, many judging it to be Biolay's masterpiece. Still, in spite of its impeccable realization, one cannot help but to recommend the perfect pop conciseness of early Biolay albums, such as Rose Kennedy or L'Origine, to the lush abandon and excess of La Superbe. ~ Mariano Prunes
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French Music - Released October 17, 2011 | Columbia

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - 3 étoiles Technikart
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French Music - Released June 21, 2010 | Naive

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks
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French Music - Released June 18, 2007 | Sentinel ouest

Distinctions Victoire de la musique
For his seventh album, Chapitre 7, French rap icon MC Solaar traveled to New York City and proceeded to record an adventurous album. Almost immediately on Chapitre 7, Solaar signals his desire to veer far from the French rap norm: a distorted electric guitar rips away during the opening seconds of the first song, "Carpe Diem"; the next song, "Paris-Samba," is a full-on samba workout en français with a steadily grooving backbeat; the next song, "Clic Clic," is a reggae exercise; and then comes "Da Vinci Claude," a maze-like song that kicks into rock gear after a half-minute. The remainder of the album is no less adventurous, though it's admittedly more in line with the style of sophisticated jazz-rap with which Solaar made his name during the 1990s. Producers Eric K-Roz and Alain J helm Chapitre 7 in tandem, and despite the freewheeling stylistic experiments that characterize the opening tracks, they give each song a similar feel that helps the album sound of a piece. Overall, Chapitre 7 is a showcase for Solaar and his production duo; only a few songs feature guest vocalists, namely Bambi Cruz ("Si on T'Demande"), Black Jack ("Sous les Palmiers"), and Issara ("Ben, Oui!"). Given Solaar's accomplished career to date, Chapitre 7 will likely be met with high expectations, especially by those acquainted with his earlier, much-celebrated work in the 1990s. Though not a classic album on a par with his past work, let alone a latter-day masterwork, Chapitre 7 is nonetheless an impressive accomplishment for Solaar. He sounds fearless here, eager to explore new styles and break free of expectations, even if the adventurousness and experimentation of Chapitre 7 might alienate those looking for a more traditional style of French rap from Solaar, or perhaps a return to the jazz-rap of his early work. At 18 tracks, each unique in its own way, Chapitre 7 is long, complex, and sometimes difficult. But it's rarely dull, at times curious, and overall a worthwhile investigation for anyone fond of Solaar or drawn to the fringes of French rap. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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French Music - Released June 2, 2004 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions Victoire de la musique
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French Music - Released May 20, 2003 | Jive

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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French Rock - Released February 28, 2002 | Indochine Records

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their triumphant 2002 comeback, Paradize + 10 is a two-CD special edition of French new wave stalwarts Indochine's ninth studio album. Written off as has-beens before its release, the ever-changing Parisian outfit instead went on to achieve the biggest success of its career, selling over a million copies and scoring its first number one single in 15 years. A decade on and it still seems remarkable that such a dark and brooding record managed to restore them to their former glories. From the distorted post-punk of "Popstitute" to the My Bloody Valentine-esque shoegaze of "Dunkerque" to the gothic industrial rock of the opening title track, it's an album that screams cult hit rather than multi-platinum chart-topper. Other than the dreadful tinny piano-led chanson of "Un Singe en Hiver," it's held up pretty well, particularly the more melodic New Order-inspired moments ("Mao Boy!" "Le Manoir"), but it's the second disc of "odds and sods" that will provide the most intrigue for their loyal fan base. As you'd expect, the 11 remixes range from the reductive (a misjudged chamber folk reworking of "Comateen") to the inessential (the utterly pointless Bootleg Indochine vs. Cassius mix of "Punker") to the rather impressive, particularly Tricky's claustrophobic take on Melissa Auf der Mar duet "Le Grand Secret" and Curve's French Kiks Mix of "Marilyn," which turns the Muse-esque glam-tinged tribute to Manson into a turbocharged Chemical Brothers-style knob-twiddling anthem. The two B-sides included, the aggressive space rock instrumental "Glory Hole" and Depeche Mode pastiche "Le Doigt sur Ton Etoile," are equally hit and miss, ensuring that while new converts should enjoy discovering the original album, the package as a whole is only likely to appeal to Indochine completists. ~ Jon O'Brien
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French Music - Released June 15, 1992 | Ariola

Distinctions Victoire de la musique
$22.49

French Music - Released December 10, 1990 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions Victoire de la musique
$11.49

French Music - Released January 1, 1985 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Genre

French Music in the magazine