If French is going through dark hours in the businesses of downtown Montreal, it is quite the opposite in the music industry. In 2020, the Francophonie was once again an inexhaustible source of gold nuggets. Here are the twenty-five French songs that charmed our journalists.
• Read also: Our 25 favorite English songs of 2020
• Read also: The best albums of the year: our team speaks out
Cold was the trigger, Daniel Belanger
If by any chance a Quebec filmmaker decides to shoot a spaghetti western, the soundtrack is already ready. Bélanger surpasses himself with this majestic and colorful piece, directly inspired by the work of Ennio Morricone, who also died last July. I also give a 10 out of 10 for the title for outdated poetry.
Admire the dichotomy. New pop sensation from France, Suzane succeeds in creating an energy of thunder by singing the virtues of procrastination.
Melamine, Klô Pelgag
Often elusive, Klô Pelgag allows himself here an uninhibited electro-pop melody of formidable efficiency. The dynamism of the melody of Melamine serves as an outlet as she scans her soul and cries, “I want to be delivered like violence. “
But I love you, Grand Corps Malade and Camille Lellouche
The motton in the back of the throat, the eyes wet: when three simple little words are repeated with the sense of poetry and the emotion of Grand Corps Malade and Camille Lellouche, it goes straight to the heart.
Prime Minister, Laurence Nerbonne
If she were head of state, Laurence Nerbonne would surely be more entertaining than François Legault, as she demonstrates in this catchy trap track that mischievously pokes fun at the mania rappers have for proclaiming themselves the best at everything. Laurence, you trigger them all!
Our celebrations, Indochina
This is the song that I have listened to the most this year in fashion repeat and loudly in my headphones. As the pandemic looked like the end of the world in the spring, and the rest of the year looked bleak, I found myself dreaming of the return of concerts and other large-scale events. “To life, to believe it / To our celebrations”, sings Nikola Sirkis on this catchy piece.
Lights to see, Marie-Pierre Arthur
It’s hard not to think of Karkwa when you listen to this rather heavy rock song. It must be said that the presence of François Lafontaine in the composition and the co-production of the piece is surely not foreign to it. An excellent track on one of the best albums of the year.
Paris, Mara Tremblay
Mara Tremblay would have deserved more praise for her superb new album, Only for you. I especially fell for the bewitching Paris, where you can feel the effective contribution of his longtime accomplice, Olivier Langevin.
Income Tax, Little Belliveau
I fell in love with this Nova Scotian whom I discovered at the Francouvertes in 2019. With Income Tax, the musician offers a melody with a contagious rhythm with a bluegrass style, supported by synthesizers. The unpretentious lyrics also make us smile.
Everything falls into its place, Louis-Jean Cormier
For me, Louis-Jean Cormier released “the album of the first confinement” last spring. And Everything falls in its place is one of those immediately catchy pieces that only Louis-Jean has the recipe for.
America is crying The Dashing Cowboys
For a group to release their greatest song after 25 years of an already successful career that has captured the collective imagination is no small feat. Joyfully ironic, America is crying, which casts a desolate gaze on our continent, is much more than the song of the year. It’s the song of a lifetime.
You will shake again Maude Audet
The magnificent melody, tinged with lightness and a seventies touch, charmed me at first. Then his vibrant prose, which illustrates the struggles of a romantic relationship that we guess fragile, really came to seek me. A song of remarkable quality, like the entirety of his third album.
Mom dad, Pierre Lapointe
What a cry of the poignant heart! Although I do not identify with the story, which is that of a son who no longer hears from his parents after telling them that he is in love with a man, I felt a lot of empathy in hearing this text crying out for truth, which stirred me enough on first hearing to rank here.
Break us up, Luce Dufault
With the feathers of David Goudreault and Richard Séguin side by side with the singer’s sensitive and powerful voice, this deeply touching piece, which marks Luce Dufault’s return after a seven-year absence, could hardly be overlooked.
The great Escape, Patrice Michaud
“Our hearts raised high, we can level with beauty”: this is yet another poetic pearl laid by Patrice Michaud. If this piece served as an outlet for its creator, it did the same for us, allowing us a total musical escape in full confinement.
The essential, Guylaine Tanguay
She was known to be the queen of country, both by her voice and her talent as a performer. But this year we discovered the strength of the author who lies dormant in Guylaine Tanguay with The essential. Even after being heard dozens of times, the song still manages to move us as much as it did on day one.
The world is stone, Geneviève Leclerc and David Latulippe
Yes, the hymn of Starmania has been used in all sauces, in all flavors, over the past four decades. But the Geneviève Leclerc and David Latulippe version, finally released on the album Gen’s duets, stands out as one of the most striking. Their voices (magnificent!), The strength of their interpretation, the sobriety of the arrangements … everything is absolutely perfect.
Atomic Suzie, Kinkead
Kinkead’s debut EP put the duo right in the center of our radar two years ago. But it’s Atomic Suzie, launched before their album Migration, which officially won us over. It’s sunny, assumed, a bit crazy and downright irresistible. In short, it is like the brothers Simon and Henri Kinkead.
In my way, Roxane Bruneau
More mature, more impactful, more assumed. Roxane Bruneau came back to us in force this year with In my way, a particularly tasty appetizer from his most recent album, Acrophobia. It’s official, the 29-year-old singer is quite resigned to doing things as she sees fit. And frankly, that’s fine.
We knew the individual talents of Ariane Moffatt and Etienne Dupuis-Cloutier (alias D R M S). But we had no idea that the union of their respective universes was going to be so high. The proof ? Sunshine, a sunny jewel (obviously) perfectly combining pop and hip-hop.
Made of glass, Tomas jensen
In the middle of spring and in confinement, Tomas Jensen arrives with a sweet and heartwarming song about the fragility of human beings. A very beautiful song, with street noises, acoustic sounds and an aerial trumpet, which was right in this strange period.
Montreal summers, Jill barber
Jill Barber released a very interesting first album in French at the start of the summer. The refrain of this love song dedicated to Montreal, light and scented by the 60s, stayed in my head for a long time.
There Was a Friend (Part 2), Dany Placard
Superb bilingual psychedelic song, There Was a Friend (Part 2) offers an arrangement of guitar-keyboard sounds that you don’t often hear in Quebec. And with a melody that sticks to the brain.
The panic, Catherine major
Left turn, new musical colors, Catherine Major plunges deep into electro and dancing sounds with this addictive piece that can be found on her album Motherboard. Hopefully there will be a sequel.
Martine says … Joseph edgar
The Gaspé author, composer and performer put away his guitar at the start of the pandemic. One good day, he decided to take it back to write a few songs, including this one, summery and rhythmic, which speaks of the environment, of a planet “that is stuck on broil” and which refers to the quest for Greta Thunberg. An excellent decision. And Martine is also the first name of my little niece. Hi Martine!