France's contribution to music is often underestimated. In the UK, there are occasional fads as well as the odd hit from across the Channel, and of course, every serious music fan has encountered the kind of Francophile who can bore you stupid. Generally, however, we remain focussed on home-grown talent and, largely, whatever comes out of the US. But French pop deserves some props. Like anywhere, there's sure to be plenty of dross, but the best stuff - stretching from the 60s to the present - is excellent and interestingly has some qualities in common: a certain irreverence, a subversive stance, coupled with a flirtatiousness bordering on unreserved sensuality (and often spilling over into downright filth).
These qualities frequently go hand-in-hand with an embrace of new technology, a modernist sheen which, in contrast to Krautrock, is usually tempered by emotion and softness, by a very human sense of yearning. All of this makes French pop an alluring prospect for the discerning music fan, an irresistible treasure trove full of eccentric, overlooked delights waiting to be discovered.
Below Soundblab presents just a few of our favourite Gallic gems . Vive la Pop!
We kick off, of course, with the King of Perve, Serge Gainsbourg, and two excellent duets, one with lover Brigette Bardot and the other a complete inappropriate filth-fest with his young daughter. So wrong but, damn, so right. Amazing videos too.
Next, two 80s acts who deserve to be better known outside their home country.
Finally, two modern groups who have scored notable success internationally.