La FRRRRRANCE: country of wine, cheese, grumpy French Men, La Nouvelle Vague, le Cancan and some old musical heros.
I quickly stopped listening to music made in France, apart from Brel (a Begian), Brassens (family tradition), Gainsbourg (who doesn't?) and Noir Desir, the only French band deserving the rock title in my then young opinion.
Then in 1995, a new singer from Brittany caught my ear and finally reconciled me with songs en Francais. His name Christophe Miossec. The song: Non, Non, Non, Non
His first album Boire, showcased a very direct, even sometimes violent writing style using unashamedly tough words backed up by sparse but melodic music. He was compared to Gainsbourg by lazy people who had not enough references, but this comparison highlighted the great quality of this album and atypical singer.
The album closes with the great Que Devient Ton Poing
A few years later, in 1997,I was working for Miossec's label and had to take care of his press days. Back then he was a beast of excess, both charming and vulnerable yet defiant and self-destructive. When we worked on the promotion for his second album Baiser (which could be understood as kiss but is here meant as fuck - a great example of the man's cultural dichotomy) he used to like calling me 'salope' with a lot of affection... I keep great memories of these times despite this unfortunate nickname.
Baiser was crude but a stunning album. Like a harsh spotlight on the life of malfunctioning man, it explores themes like (in)fidelity and other couple issues without hiding behind modesty or images. A cock is a cock in Miossec's work
I've always enjoyed his use of the French Language, which he did in a more aggressive and less poetic way than a lot of his contemporaries. He is able to be both disarming and terribly macho in 3 minutes, like he does in Le Celibat. You don't know if you want to pity him or hit him hard in the face...
In 1998 came A Prendre, his biggest commercial success, which I never really connected with. It was followed 3 years later by Brule, an album that completely passed me by.
I became reacquainted with Miossec in 2004, when he released 1964. An album more mature and polished but that hinted more at the compositions of his early career. The first single was the stunningly sad Je M'En Vais
sorry, wiping those tears.
Mio doesn't just sing about relationships, he also enjoys depicting ordinary lives or celebrate his roots, like his hometown of Brest
L'Etreinte, Finisteriens and Chansons Ordinaires were released in 2006,2009 and 2011, but that will be for another time.
PS: thank you @waldorf_be for the inspiration