29 October 2005

"Je ne suis pas un héros" and other French pop music disasters

While I was eating breakfast this morning, Colin turned on the TV to a French top 20 music countdown show. I'm sure it's no secret that Europeans have, well, very "different" tastes in music than in the US, and yet I continue to be amazed at just how bad things can get. First off, let me state that the French language should never be rapped, especially by a scrawny white kid in baggy clothes. (That kid better stay far, far away from Compton, California, if he enjoys living. The real gangstas of rap would eat him alive. Heck, Vanilla Ice would eat him alive!)

For the first week or so after my arrival, I remember being surprised by how much American pop music I heard in public. Even the grocery store was more likely to play the Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Phunk With My Heart" than something uniquely French. I guess I expected everything to be like the music they play in Express clothing stores, i.e. crazy-fast techno music with some vapid French chick saying random phrases like, "Je m'en fiche" ("I don't care") at odd points. Actually, the song that I hear the most is this one called, "You Can Leave Your Hat On." I don't know who sings it (other than a male singer), but when I heard it on the loudspeakers at an open air market, I realized just how popular English-language music is.

I mentioned my surprise to Muriel, who just shook her head in disgust at the thought of French pop music being played with any regularity. She said that French music is so bad that anyone with a minimal amount of taste would choose just about anything else.

She is SO right.

Case in point: the "hit" song "Je ne suis pas un héros" from the French version of American Idol, Star Academy (or Star Ac' for short). This is, quite possibly, the worst song imaginable. If you thought you hated "A Moment Like This" when Kelly Clarkson first won American Idol, you ain't heard nothing yet. The title translates to mean "I'm not a hero" ... well, you don't have to tell me twice. The whole cast of Star Ac' sings this travesty about how they may appear to be perfect celebrities, but that they actually get tired and break down like regular folks do. Look, if you saw the picture of Pierre on my October 7th blog, you already know that these people are NOT heros, and that no sane person would mistake them as such. Go to iTunes and listen to the sample of this song if you don't believe me.

Need more proof that French music sucks? What if I told you that the #19 song on today's countdown was sung by a cartoon character that looks just like a Power Puff Girl?

What if I told you that the #4 song was a slightly updated techno version of the theme song from the 1980's classic Beverly Hills Cop series?

Still not convinced? Then, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you the number one song in France this week, "Popcorn." According to Colin, this techno abomination is the exact same song that he had to dance to in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GYM CLASS. This makes sense, though, since it sounds like something that would be playing in an exhibit for a children's hand-on museum.

Kind of doesn't make you feel so bad when the Pussycat Dolls "Don't Cha" plagues the airwaves for a bit too long on your local pop radio station, huh?

I suppose it could be worse ... the Germans adore David Hasselhoff, for crying out loud.

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