Two iconic albums by major French electronic duos Air and Daft Punk turn 20 and 21 this week.
On 16 January 1998, Air's debut album Moon Safari was released to universal acclaim, becoming an international success thanks to the undeniable beauty of its carefully crafted dream pop sound, inspired by 1960s French pop. Daft Punk's Homework was released a year earlier, on 20 January 1997, becoming a global hit that introduced the duo's house music to the masses and dominated dancefloors with hypnotically irresistible tracks such as "Da Funk" and its abrasive beat or "Around the World" and its catchy disco pop sound.
Twenty years on, both releases are still considered to be among the best albums of the 90s. The impact of Air and Daft Punk's music lifted stereotypes about French electronic and pop/rock music, launching the international careers of both acts while unleashing a lasting influence not only on the French electronic music scene but also on the current resurgence of French music globally, as evidenced by the international success of acts such as pop prodigy Christine and the Queens or metal heavyweights Gojira.
To celebrate these two iconic albums by Air and Daft Punk, we take a look at some of the most captivating and successful French acts in recent years as well as some of the most promising artists of the current French music scene.
Christine and the Queens
The Brit Awards nominee and NME Awards winner doesn't need an introduction anymore, but she still deserves a mention! If you haven't listened to her music before, now is your chance. Just make sure you watch the choreography in the video for "Saint Claude", her dancing being as endearing as her music!
FKJ (French Kiwi Juice)
FKJ is a multi-instrumentalist and singer from Tours who is often considered one of the pioneers of a new French house music which is more organic with smoother, soulful edges.
Singer Fishbach is from Charleville-Mézières, the same town as famous rebellious French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Her music is unashamedly reviving French 1980s new wave pop music. With a slick coat of polished synths and beats, she matches her modern production with haunting, disconcerting vocals. A deluxe release of her debut album will be released internationally on 16 February 2018.
Savages were formed in 2011 in London by guitarist Gemma Thompson and French lead singer and lyricist Jehnny Beth, whose real name is actually Camille Berthomier.
Who would have thought that a French heavy metal band from Bayonne would make it big in America? That's exactly what Gojira managed to achieve, receving two Grammy nominations for Best Rock album and Best Metal performance in 2017.
Not only is Charlotte Gainsbourg a talented award winning actress but she has also managed to become an essential part of the current French music landscape, releasing innovative albums in collaboration with Air, Beck and more recently with French electronic musician SebastiAN. There is no doubt that her father and influential singer Serge Gainsbourg would be proud!
Camille is a French singer, songwriter from Paris. Through her eclectic style, she delivers soulful and lively music reminiscent of Icelandic singer Björk.
Jain displays a clear interest in sounds that one would not necessarily associate with French music. At the age of nine, she moved with her parents to Dubai for three years, Congo for four years and Abu Dhabi for a year! Her song "Makeba" enjoyed international success and was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Awards in the Best Music Video category. You can expect to hear more about Jain in the coming months!