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Posted by on in French Culture & Traditions

18 French-English songs you should know

I've noticed a trend becoming more and more popular over the last few years in French music, songs in a mix of French and English.  Some are duets, some are solo artists or groups, most are from France or other Francophone countries like Belgium and Canada but they are also from a handful of other countries too.  For some artists it's a one-off and for others most or all of their music is in this Franco-English mix.  It's kind of the perfect mix for an Anglo-French family like mine.

French English songs to listen to

I'm sorry, it's been ages since I last published anything, so long that I haven't even said Happy New year, bonne année, bonne santé to you all.  I hope 2018 has got off to a great start.  Here at Lou Messugo January has flown by in a flash with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and very little snow in the nearby ski resorts.  I have so much to write about our awesome trip to New York, so much catching up to do, but right now I want to share 18 of my favourite Franco-English songs.

Apart from a couple of isolated songs from a while ago (at the end of the list), I think I started to be aware of this blending of language with Mika's hit "Staring at the Sun" in 2015.  If ever there were a polyglot, it's Lebanese-born British singer Mika.  He speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian fluently and some Mandarin and Arabic thrown in for good measure.  Mika is huge in France and acts as a coach and mentor on the French version of The Voice.  Bizarrely while in Italy recently I happened to flick on the telly to see him presenting an excrutiatingly awful game show in the nude!  (Yes really!)  

 

The next song I've chosen has a personal link and a link back to Mika.  At only 16 years old, Louisa Rose was a participant in The Voice, on Team Mika, while at school with my son, The Teen.  Here she sings with French singer Brice Conrad in a Franco-English duet "Hands are Shaking".

 

Next up, another The Voice participant Franco-Israeli Amir, who also went on to represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest.  I don't like much of his music but I do like this one, "J'ai cherché".  (As a fairly irrelevant aside, this year another 16 year old kid from The Teen's school was in the semi finals for Eurovision, it seems to be producing some pretty good singers!)

 

And yet another contestant in the semi finals for Eurovision, Franco-Australian Malo' with "I believed".

 

"Chou Wasabi" by Julien Doré ft. Micky Green.  And would you know it, Julien Doré is the winner of Nouvelle Star, the French equivalent of The X Factor....

 

"Streets and Stories" by French pop duo Part-time Friends

 

French-American duo Freedom Fry with "Shaky Ground"

 

"Dreamin" by Frenchie Damien Lauretta (an X Factor participant!)

 

"Open Season (Un Autre Saison)" by Australian singer Josef Salvat, a francophone who, having lived in Paris as a teenager, always wanted to sing in French.  Et voilà!  (This is not his only one in French).

 

"Nation" by French singer Tibz 

 

Belgian singer Angèle with "La Loi de Murphy"

 

Canadian artist Peter Katz (with Remi Chassé) "Brother"

 

"Loving Game" by Canadian singer Peter Peter

 

"Sur la Lune" by Belgian singer Milow

 

"C'est la Vie" by Malian singer Inna Modja

 

French group Diva Faune "Shine on my Way"

 

And finally those early French-English songs.  This is probably the first one I was aware of "Help Myself" by Gaëtan Roussel from 2009.

 

And also from 2009, Lily Allen's French version of "22" with Ours.

 

What do you think of these French-English songs, do you like any of them?

 

Related post: Radio FG and the use of an English swear word in French

 

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18 French English songs you might like 

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    Rosie @ Eco-Gites of Lenault vendredi, 23 février 2018

    Confession time - I don't listen to much music at all, either French or English. I prefer the spoken word and really miss Radio 4 in my car which my radio refuses to pick up. So I tend to listen to podcasts when driving or audio books. #AllABoutFrance

  • Guest
    Margo Lestz mercredi, 14 février 2018

    Wow! That's a lot of music and I can't say that I know any of those songs. I'm afraid that I don't keep up with the music scene. Anyway, it is very interesting that bilingual songs are popular in France. I wonder if it's the same in English?

  • Guest
    maggie lundi, 05 février 2018

    Blast from the past -- Helene by Roch Voisine!

  • Guest
    Fiona lundi, 05 février 2018

    I love this post Phoebe! I know most of these songs as I listen to French radio even in the UK, I sing along when I can understand the lyrics....in my dreadful accent anglaise!
    I watched the Eurovision qualifiers on TV5 Monde the other day, Amir was a judge. Gutted that Noée didn't make it with that beautiful song. L'un près de l'autre.

  • Guest
    Janet lundi, 05 février 2018

    This is really nice, I can sit and listen to your music choices while reading and commenting on other #AllAboutFrance blog posts too in other tabs on my pc! There is definitely a very French theme to the melodies and rhythms in these songs. "oooh-oooh-oooh" remains a very popular lyric! How cool that your son's school is producing this musical talent. When my nephew and niece were growing up in Normandy it was a disappointment for their family that no music was taught at school at all. I wonder how things have changed, or maybe it was a regional thing.

  • Guest
    FrenchVillage Jacqui lundi, 05 février 2018

    Thanks - not sure I could come up with 18 favourite songs from listening to French radio! Must try harder. Good luck with the 'becoming French' dossier!

  • Guest
    Phoebe samedi, 10 février 2018

    Oh Jacqui you're missing out! Most of these are absolutely not my favourite French songs, just ones that are sung in both languages. There's a wealth of great talent coming out of France now, particularly in electronic music and lots of great indy stuff too. You really must try harder!!!

  • Guest
    Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays samedi, 03 février 2018

    Excellent thank you for a musical interlude

  • Guest
    Richard samedi, 03 février 2018

    Hi, Phoebe. Like you, I have a pretty low tolerance level for "Eurovision-type" songs, but I enjoyed several of these a great deal -- particularly the ones by Freedom Fry and Angèle! For a somewhat different style, I've really come to like a lot of Cheb Mami's music. He doesn't fit this category (combinations of French and English), but rather sings in a very fluid mix of French and Algerian Arabic. In any case, as some of your other commenters have said, I admire the mental flexibility and talent of anyone who can write and sing in 2 languages at the same time. Thanks for sharing these! #AllAboutFrance

  • Guest
    June de Silva samedi, 03 février 2018

    I really enjoyed listening to all these clips. I know some of the artists but not all of them so thanks for introducing me to some new people. I’ve got quite an eclectic taste in music and I’m grateful to my sons (in their twenties) for keeping me up to date in terms of tracks they think I should be listening to! If I was still teaching French, I’d have definitely used some of these tracks with my classes!

  • Guest
    Katy vendredi, 02 février 2018

    I love Lily Allen's! And am always up for a little pop francais. I went a whole summer listening to MC Solaar and so I can now rap in French - hahahaha. Anyway, I am looking forward to listening to these in full.Thanks for the musical interlude!

  • Guest
    Annette @ A French Collection jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Phoebe, you know it's funny, my daughter and I have commented to each other about how many times we hear popular songs playing in shops and shopping centres that have English lyrics. However, the majority of people around us whether in the shops, the centres, or businesses always speak French. What are your thoughts on this. Have you also found this to be the case?

  • Guest
    http://http::/Wilbur jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Some great choices, which I will have to listen to when back home. Showing my age, I love Blondie’s version of Sunday Girl where Debs suddenly breaks into French. Not strictly Anglo-French but I also love Beautiful South’s French version of Dream A Little Dream Of Me which appeared on the CD single of the English version. Wilbur. #AllAboutFrance

  • Guest
    Carolyne jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Phoebe I love this post, I am listening to it as I type this comment. I have even asked my hubby to create a playlist #AllAboutFrance

  • Guest
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) jeudi, 01 février 2018

    I'm going to listen to these with my sons when they get back from school. They're both learning French now and it will be good to see what they think. I didn't know any of these so I'm grateful for the musical education on #allaboutfrance.

  • Guest
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Haha I'm sorry I missed Mika in the nude when we were in Italy! How ineresting that there are more songs sung in multiple languages, though. Is it something that's mirrored in speech too, or just songs? #AllAboutFrance

  • Guest
    Urska jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Some cool songs here Phoebe! #AllaboutFrance

  • Guest
    Emily jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Well there's plenty to keep us going on there...! I have a favourite playlist on Spotify called French Indie Pop which has plenty more. Our girls, however, find all French music of any kind too hilarious. Jonny slays them every time.

  • Guest
    Phoebe samedi, 10 février 2018

    Your girls are right to be slayed by Johnny, he was just too much, but things have changed hugely in the French music scene and they might like some of these "bilingual" songs. Glad to hear you have a spotify play list, the indie scene - and electro - is great in France.

  • Guest
    Harriet Springbett jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Mika in the nude... hmm. I must admit I have a weakness for Mika: not for his music, but for the depth of his analysis in The Voice and his enthusiasm. Not to mention my admiration for his mastery of so many languages. French songs have come a long way since the days of 'yaourt' in the 1980s! #AllAboutFrance

  • Guest
    Phoebe jeudi, 01 février 2018

    I agree, he's an impressive person, even if he hosts dodgy game shows!

  • Guest
    David Ghetto jeudi, 01 février 2018

    Brilliant, viva DJ Phoebe!

  • Guest

    Aïe, aïe, aïe - that last song by Lily Allen just transports me back to our first few weeks living in France. Her song 'Fuck You' nearly became our survival song, as we struggled to settle in. I first heard it at a McDonalds where we were having coffee just so that we could tap into the free WiFi. I could not make out the majority of the lyrics, but the title was clear enough! Will try and come back and link up when Linky open. Cheers!

  • Guest
    Aysh mercredi, 31 janvier 2018

    I love them. My 10 year old is the only french speaker in our home. I wonder how he will enjoy them. :)

  • Guest
    Oscar mercredi, 31 janvier 2018

    Very interesting read! I love all these songs and it's always great to see artists sing in two languages, must be very hard to write a good song like that!

  • Guest
    Phoebe mercredi, 31 janvier 2018

    Thanks Oscar, I think you're right, it must be hard to write in 2 languages especially for those who aren't fully bilingual, which I'm sure is the case with some of these artists.

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Guest dimanche, 24 juin 2018

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