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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

French Kiss, en français dans le texte

I rarely listen to any French music, mainly because I think we suck at making quality pop. Maybe it's just not in our DNA. There are fortunately a few exceptions I'll come to write about, starting today with one of my favourite bands, Vendetta.
They're clearly one of the best things that happened to French music over the last decade. They figured it would be a good idea if they started making brit-pop influenced tunes, while singing in french. And boy it was a good idea !
I first heard them back in 2003, when they were Zazie's (another great French pop singer I'll write about later) opening act on her Zizanie Tour. What struck me was how immediate and addictive their songs were and how warm and captivating Sylvie Hoarau's voice was. While buying their EP soon after the show, I ran into her and we started chatting, which was quite a nice moment. They had been touring heavily for years and this opening slot for Zazie was their chance to meet a wider audience every night. Soon after they signed to a Universal Music label (Barclay) and began working on their first proper album. In the winter they released an new EP containing one of their best songs, French Kiss, but unfortunately due to a lack of media attention, it wasn't as successful as it should have been and they remained pretty much unnoticed.

Drôle d'Idée ("strange idea") was released a year later, in May 2004. Despite being packed with potential hits (French Kiss, L'excès, Everest, Assassin, Le Silence...) it received absolutely no support from the label. Barclay clearly ruined their chances to make an impact by not choosing the right first single (Viens, not a sufficiant hit to launch them properly), not making a video even if they had a strong visual universe. Well this first album had "disaster" written all over it, even though it was one of the best records of 2004 (to me at least !). To make it clearer, the album entered the French top 200 at number 198, and left it after only a week...
Still today I can't understand why this album wasn't marketed more professionally, why it failed to make an impact on the radio (some of the songs were perfect for the summer) and why it was dropped so fast. I hope the people who worked on the project are rotting in Hell...

As you can imagine after such a catastrophe, no second album was considered by the label. The band performed a few shows, but never got the attention they deserved. Sylvie then had a baby, and as for now, their Myspace page doesn't say much, except "Vendetta est mort, vive Brigitte" (Vendetta is dead, long live Brigitte). Does it mean they'll be back with a new name, new songs, new projects ? I really hope so, since they still have so much to offer. Oh, and their former website turned into a porn one. wonder if they know ! Or maybe THIS is their new carrer !
For now all seems calm on the musical front, but I'll keep you posted for sure.

Below are some tracks from their first album Drôle d'Idée for you to download (I'm feeling generous today, and anyway this won't hurt their album sales...). Tell me what you think in the comments section !

French Kiss (taken down)
Assassin
Message (renamed Le Silence on the album)

Visit their myspace page here

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