code name: Frenchie

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Sunday, January 16, 2005
Leslita reminded me of another mix I made that I really liked. It's official name was Ooh, La La. But it's before-it-was-finished-name (what is that word? I know there is one) was Frenchie. Leslita was going on a trip to Paris, and I realized I had a bunch of french-language songs, and... well, you know. I branched out and decided that anything that was a) in french, b) referred to France was fair game. It was fun to try to find things that I thought would work. I looked all over for Oxo's Whirly Girl She comes from Paris, France/and she can really dance/ooh whirly whirly I tried the iTunes music store, I tried obvious compilations. Finally I found it on an 80's compilation at the library, but it just didn't work. I remembered it being much more fun than it actually is. But that's ok - I found some other good ones to work in its stead.

1. I Love Paris - Les Negresses Vertes - From Red Hot and Blue (the first one, and the best one that I've heard). I had this version, and an Ella Fitzgerald version. I love Ella and wanted to put her first, but hers was much slower and worked better at the end. This gets the accordion theme working hard right off the bat. Hurrah for Cole Porter!

2. Complainte De La Butte - Rufus Wainwright - - From the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. I like how Rufus sings french - I think his voice lends itself to it. I actually think I like him singing french better than english.

3. The Night You Can't Remember - The Magnetic Fields - more accordion, and more importantly ukulele! You were an army officer/and I just a rockette/the night you can't remember/is the night I can't forget I love this song. It is so silly, and so bittersweet at the same time. That's not an easy combination, I think. You don't remember Paris, hon/But it remembers you. From the fantastic 69 Love Songs.

4. Lo Boob Oscillator - Stereolab - I think I got this from the High Fidelity soundtrack. This is great - all french singing, and it sounds like Snoopy and the gang could be dancing to it (wearing berets, but of course).

5. Flying - Chris Isaak - I was playing a club by the Eiffel tower/ taking a break for half an hour . No french, but obligitory Eiffel tower mention. This is a lightly swinging love song to a brief encounter, with Chris singing toward the higher end of his range (which I dig). Monday was the day we met/Tuesday I was flyin/flyyyyyyyyyyyyyiiiiiiiin. Yes, he rhymes it with cryin, that is just his way. I never met a girl like that before/ every day I miss her more. It sounds really good through headphones.

6. Rebel Prince - Rufus Wainwright - More Rufus! Is there a name I am more likely to mangle when speaking than Rufus Wainwright? Only time will tell. This one is mostly in english, but it has plenty of french in it. And my favorite sing-along flower moments, ever. Marigold, marigold, marigoooooooooold

7. Sympathique - Pink Martini - my most favorite sing along french song, ever! (I should have an awards ceremony). Jaunty. French. Swingin'. Just hearing this makes one feel like a cosmopolitan citizen of the world. Unless, of course, one grew over-tired of it when it was ubiquitous. If that is the case, I am sorry for you and hope you can regain the joy that this song is capable of bringing. My rudimentary french indicates that this is one of those songs where the lyric runs counter to the music. I think it is something about not wanting to work, to just sit at ones window and smoke ciggies and forget all the things that are making one miserable. That's sort of in the spirit of French songs, anyway. I recently read that the song Beyond The Sea is originally French, and much more melancholy than the Carnival Cruise lines would like you to believe. In related news, this reminds me of a story I heard on NPR: the summer Sympathique came out it was the number one downloaded ring-tone in all of France! In random news - this also makes me think of one of my favorite english words: Defenestrate. It means to throw out or through a window. WordNet gives the following example: "The rebels stormed the palace and defenestrated the President." Use it in a sentence today!

8. Michelle - The Beatles -This song always makes me think of my high school pal Michelle F and a frosty winter evening begging for canned beans. OK, it was in Florida, so it was more like a 50 degree evening, but still. One winter we were out Ingathering - collecting canned food and money for "the less fortunate." A lot of groups do it (Boyscouts, Pathfinders, etc.) and it is a good cause, but I have never really loved doing anything door to door. We were dropped off in a neighborhood we never went to (we both lived in a dorm, so we didn't go much of anywhere), and let loose. We came across a homeless gentleman who was ingathering on his own behalf. He asked us for our names, Michelle told him, and he proceeded to sing this song to us! Michelle, ma belle/ these are words that go together well/ my Michelle. It was a little strange, but sweet. Paul McCartney does not sing in French as well as Pink Martini, but it doesn't matter because he's a Beatle.

9. The Legionnaire's Lament - The Decemberists - The first time I heard the Decemberists, I was in the back seat of a friend's car, trying to make sense of what I was hearing. Is it Robyn Hitchcock? no. hrmmm. Is it that other guy whose name I don't remember? no. It was a lot to take in while in a moving vehicle, let me tell you. By the time I heard this song, I was a goner. What's not to love about the story of a Parisian Legionnaire longing for the city he will probably never see again? It's been a year or more, since they shipped me to this foreign shore/ fighting in a foreign war, so far away from my home...... the sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine/ Lord I don't know if I'll ever be back again. The Decemberists would probably have to actually run me down in their touring van for me to disavow them. And even then, maybe not. There is a camel in disrepair! There is self medicating in the sun/ pinch doses of lauuuuuudinuuuuuuum, for heaven's sake! (which is a lot of fun to sing out loud, let me assure you.) Like Jill Sobule below, the Decemberists make top-notch story songs.

10. Resistance Song - Jill Sobule - Love Jill Sobule - she is one of the masters of the story song. She is mainly known for her two novelty hits (I Kissed A Girl, and Supermodel). They are both great songs, but neither of them really hint at what a great songwriter she is. I mean, she writes these great little vignettes and has a whole story with characters and story arc, for god's sake - in THREE MINUTES. Amazing. This one had to go on this mix because of the heavy accordion, and of course the Resistance theme. It has a great resistance-style la la la la singalong chorus. I had this dream we were in the Resistance/ somewhere in France fighting traitors and fascists/ you were my mistress, yes you were a woman/ but I knew it was you by the shape of your mouth/ You called me Maurice and I had a small mustache, played clarinet in a decadent band/ until we hid in the bushes, we shot from the bushes, made love in the bushes like there was no tomorrow/ la la la la la la la la la la..... There is a heavy repitition of the word bushes (so much so that my sister calls it The Bushes Song).

11. Lady Marmalade - Christina Aguilera, L'il Kim, Mya, Pink - This song is so trashy, but it also has a certain diva-like charm. Listen, especially for L'il Kim's contributions. She knows how to update a classic: You come through with the money in the garter belts/ let them know we got their cake, straight out the gate/ we be independent women some mistake us for whores/ I'm sayin' why spend mine, when I can spend yours?/ disagree? well that's you and I'm sorry/ I'ma keep playing these cats out like atari/ wearin' high heeled shoes, getting love from the Jews[editors comment: WTF?]/ four bad ass chicks from the Moulin Rouge.

12. Voulez Vous - ABBA To go right in the middle of the rockin' french section of the CD. This is not my most favorite ABBA song ever, but a song can be a mediocre ABBA song, and still be better than most other songs! Voulez Vous!

13. Tour Heart Throb - All Girl Summer Fun Band - Unsurprisingly, I love this song: I hope some day you and I could go to France/ yeah yeah yeah yeah/ We'll hold hands/ and I'll get to see your underpants. The yeah yeah yeahs are reason enough alone to love this song, but you've got to really love a song that says 'underpants.' For real.

14. Canned Candies - Stereolab - More all-french. I don't like this one as much as Lo Boob Oscillator, but it is very pretty and has bells. I have no idea what it is about. Except I think she says un chien at the beginning, and I think that means dog. Or maybe Dogg. Maybe this is a clever Snoop Dogg cover (but I have my doubts).

15. Underwear - The Magnetic Fields - Another equal opportunity song from the Magnetic Fields. A pretty girl, in her underwear/ if there's anything better in this world who cares? and then the french bit - about love and death (what else?) La mort, c'est la mort /mais l'amour, c'est l'amour/ La mort, c'est seulement la mort/ mais l'amour, c'est l'amour And then back to underwear! A pretty boy, in his underwear/ if there's a better reason to jump for joy, who cares?

16. Les Poissons - Rene Auberjonois - Heh. Cheeeeezy (fromagey?) french accent from the chef in The Little Mermaid. Les Poissons, les poissons, how I love les poissons/love to chop and to serve little fish/ first I cut off their heads/ then I pull out their bones.... A children's classic! Sacre Bleu!

17. L'accordeoniste - Edith Piaf - I happened to have an Edith Piaf master series disc, but I it didn't have La Vie En Rose, which is her most famous song (I think). Anyway, that is all sweeping and epic and lovely, but this one really hits the accordion buttons pretty hard, and is fast and rollicking good old-time all-french fun. And has the record-scratchy song, which adds a certain old-french veracity. Plus, not the first thing one would expect to hear when noting there is an Edith Piaf song on a compilation.

18. I Love Paris - Ella Fitzgerald - Ella! the thing I love about Ella's voice is that it is so bright and clear, but also rich. She makes me happy when I hear her, even if it is a sad song. Ella Fitzgerald and Cole Porter are two great tastes that taste great together. I love Paris in the springtime/ I love Paris in the fall/ I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles/ I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles...... I love Paris, why oh why do I love Paris? Because my love is near.
2 comments on "code name: Frenchie"
  1. We listened to this CD in the studio that we rented for the week! Ooooooh, it was perfect! I think my favorites are the two by Wufus and the Bushes Song!

  2. Oh, yay! That makes me happy! I think maybe we better send Jill Sobule an email and let her know that she should just give up and call it The Bushes Song! hee.


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