Change

I’ve written a couple times about what’s changed for us, for me, since Littlest was born. About tears that come easily when watching movies, about looking at other women and parents differently, about having to look at any baby in any stroller that wanders past (okay maybe I hadn’t gotten to that one yet—it’s an obsession).

It took me a long time to find a good song to dance to with my dad at our wedding—every song about love seemed to be about romantic love, or really cheesy mainstream country-style paternalistic crap. I knew when I heard Louis Armstrong singing “Sunrise, Sunset” that it was the right one.

Now when I listen to songs on the radio, I’m intrigued by the rare ones people write for their children. Christophe Maé (Marcel), the Dixie Chicks (Godspeed), Atmosphere (Little Man), Beyoncé (Blue), and, of course, Renaud (Morgane de toi). There are songs that I want to be about children but that don’t necessarily seem quite to fit.

And then there are the songs that I think I always heard wrong, and am only hearing right for the first time.

Mon enfant nue sur les galets
Le vent dans tes cheveux défaits
Comme un printemps sur mon trajet
Un diamant tombé d’un coffret
Seule la lumière pourrait
Défaire nos repères secrets
Ou mes doigts pris sur tes poignets
Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai
Et quoique tu fasses
L’amour est partout où tu regardes
Dans les moindres recoins de l’espace
Dans les moindres rêves où tu t’attardes
L’amour comme s’il en pleuvait
Nu sur les galets

Le ciel prétend qu’il te connaît
Il est si beau c’est sûrement vrai
Lui qui ne s’approche jamais
Je l’ai vu pris dans tes filets
Le monde a tellement de regrets
Tellement de choses qu’on promet
Une seule pour laquelle je suis fait
Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai
Et quoique tu fasses
L’amour est partout où tu regardes
Dans les moindres recoins de l’espace
Dans les moindres rêves où tu t’attardes
L’amour comme s’il en pleuvait
Nu sur les galets

On s’envolera du même quai
Les yeux dans les mêmes reflets
Pour cette vie et celle d’après
Tu seras mon unique projet
Je m’en irai poser tes portraits
À tous les plafonds de tous les palais
Sur tous les murs que je trouverai
Et juste en dessous, j’écrirai
Que seule la lumière pourrait…
Et mes doigts pris sur tes poignets
Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai

My Favorite French Music

When I arrived in France as an assistant in 2006, I knew almost nothing about French music, and the French, alternatively, knew nothing about the music I listened to. It was hard to find the kind of French singers I would like when no one knew what I was talking about when I said “The Shins” or “Tegan and Sarah” or “Ryan Adams” when they asked who my favorite artists were.

Since those days, I’ve made some progress. Back in 2006 one of my teachers recommended Bénabar to me, and though musically he isn’t the most interesting of French artists to me, he is a great performer and his lyrics are worth listening to.

(Instead of waiting for the videos to load, you can just listen to the songs on the Spotify playlist up above, though some of the songs don’t show up.)

My second year I got really into Renan Luce as his album had just come out and he was doing a tour (though I never got to see him).

This one is a favorite of mine, though my very favorite song from him is “I was here,” since at that time in my life I had moved three times in three years. (It doesn’t have an official video.)

I also got into Pauline Croze that year. One of her most interesting songs is her cover of “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease, but it doesn’t seem to have a video either. I actually got to see Pauline Croze live when she came to Reims that year.

Since meeting Ju, I’ve been made to listen to (I mean that in the best of ways) a lot of other French music. One of Ju’s favorites is Camille. This is her song about Paris (called incidentally “Paris”).

Ju is also a big fan of Axelle Red and has been known to sing her “Laisse-moi rester femme” energetically in the car. One of my favorites is this one.

Then of course there is Francis Cabrel, who has lots of beautiful songs, but one of my favorites is “L’encre de tes yeux.”

I’m still sometimes late onto the bandwagon, though. This last week I ordered Josh Ritter’s newest album, and it was 8 cents short of free shipping, so I tacked on Raphaël’s break-out album from 2006, Caravane. I’d been wanting it for a while and now it’s in my car CD player and I can’t get enough of it. The whole album is obviously wonderful, but I’ll just put one up here.

That’s it for now… maybe I’ll write a part two of his post seven years from now!