Learning French With Songs This Summer

Michel SardouThis post happen to come out on the first day of summer, and I wanted to start some fun post for the duration of the the summer.

If you were already visiting this blog a year ago, you might remember that all throughout the summer I had a “French City Series”.  By the way, if you missed it you can always find this series starting here.

This summer I was thinking of doing something different, but cool enough for the summer, so I was thinking of introducing you to French things that I love dearly, because they are part of me since I came on this earth.  Today, I wanted to start with French songs with which I grew up with.

Of course, I can’t put them all here, but I picked three classic of the beautiful French song repertory that are forever popular for the past 40 years.

Do you like songs? Do you like music?

I love both, but when it comes to songs I have to shamefully admit that still,after 20 years of living in the US, I prefer French songs.

I think that the two main reasons for this is that for one thing, songs that you grow up with will ALWAYS be your favorites, because, well, you know, that subconscious mind thing.  It’s deep in there and it touches our very emotions in a way that no other songs we hear later in life can ever do.

The second reason is that while American songs are known for the best beats, French songs are better known for beautiful words. It’s usually deep, poetic, a bit sad at times, but overall beautiful.

I know it would not mean anything to you if you don’t understand French but down below I tell you a bit of the story. I try to translate them, but it doesn’t right in English.  Songs can never be translated.

I did include the French words, though, so you can try to follow along. If you want to learn some French this is a good way to do it.

Now, this is funny, but putting this post together I finally got it why Americans say that French is the romantic language.

La Maladie d’Amour (Love Sickness) By Michel Sardou

This is a very poetic songs that tells what love does to people from 7 to 77 years old, from blond hair to grey hair. How sometimes it makes us suffer, how sometimes it surprises us, but how the worst thing is when we are never love sick again (See the video and lyrics below.)  Interpreted here by the original singer.

Elle court, elle court,
La maladie d’amour,
Dans le coeur des enfants
De sept à soixante dix_sept ans.
Elle chante, elle chante,
La rivière insolente
Qui unit dans son lit
Les cheveux blonds,les cheveux gris.

Elle fait chanter les hommes et s’agrandir le monde.
Elle fait parfois souffrir tout le long d’une vie.
Elle fait pleurer les femmes, elle fait crier dans l’ombre
Mais le plus douloureux, c’est quand on en guérit.

Elle court, elle court,
La maladie d’amour,
Dans le coeur des enfants
De sept à soixante dix-sept ans.
Elle chante, elle chante,
la rivière insolente
Qui unit dans son lit
les cheveux blondes, les cheveux gris.

Elle surprend l’ecolière sur le banc d’une classe
Par le charme innocent d’un professeur d’anglais.
Elle foudroie dans la rue cet inconnu qui passe
Et qui n’oubliera plus ce parfum qui volait.

Elle court, elle court,
La maladie d’amour,
Dans le coeur des enfants
De sept à soixante dix_sept ans.
Elle chante , elle chante,
La rivière insolente
Qui unit dans son lit
Les cheveux blondes les cheveux gris.

Elle court, elle court,
La maladie d’amour,
Dans le coeur des enfants
De sept à soixante dix_sept ans.
Elle chante , elle chante,
La rivière insolente
Qui unit dans son lit
Les cheveux blondes les cheveux gris.

Elle fait chanter les hommes et s’agrandir le monde.
Elle fait parfois souffrir tout le long d’une vie.

Mon Vieux (My Old Man) By Daniel Guichard

This song is about a man who talks about is now gone father which he realized he didn’t appreciated enough, because when you’re only 15 “your heart is not big enough to appreciate those things”. (See video and lyrics below.). Interpreted here by the original singer.

Dans son vieux pardessus râpé
Il s’en allait l’hiver, l’été
Dans le petit matin frileux
Mon vieux.

Y avait qu’un dimanche par semaine
Les autres jours, c’était la graine
Qu’il allait gagner comme on peut
Mon vieux.

L’été, on allait voir la mer
Tu vois c’était pas la misère
C’était pas non plus l’paradis
Hé oui tant pis.

Dans son vieux pardessus râpé
Il a pris pendant des années
L’même autobus de banlieue
Mon vieux.

L’soir en rentrant du boulot
Il s’asseyait sans dire un mot
Il était du genre silencieux
Mon vieux.

Les dimanches étaient monotones
On n’recevait jamais personne
Ça n’le rendait pas malheureux
Je crois, mon vieux.

Dans son vieux pardessus râpé
Les jours de paye quand il rentrait
On l’entendait gueuler un peu
Mon vieux.

Nous, on connaissait la chanson
Tout y passait, bourgeois, patrons,
La gauche, la droite, même le bon Dieu
Avec mon vieux.

Chez nous y avait pas la télé
C’est dehors que j’allais chercher
Pendant quelques heures l’évasion
Tu sais, c’est con!

Dire que j’ai passé des années
A côté de lui sans le r’garder
On a à peine ouvert les yeux
Nous deux.

J’aurais pu c’était pas malin
Faire avec lui un bout d’chemin
Ça l’aurait p’t’-êt’ rendu heureux
Mon vieux.

Mais quand on a juste quinze ans
On n’a pas le coeœur assez grand
Pour y loger tout’s ces chos’s-là
Tu vois.

Maintenant qu’il est loin d’ici
En pensant à tout ça, j’me dis
“J’aim’rais bien qu’il soit près de moi”
Papa.

Je Suis Malade (I’m Love Sick) By Serge Lama

This song tells the story of a man whose woman left and how it makes him sick and how he can’t forget her. (See video and lyrics below.) In the video it’s interpreted in duo but it was original sang by the man only. Watch it it’s beautiful!

Je ne rêve plus je ne fume plus
Je n’ai même plus d’histoire
Je suis sale sans toi je suis laid sans toi
Je suis comme un orphelin dans un dortoir

Je n’ai plus envie de vivre ma vie
Ma vie cesse quand tu pars
Je n’ai plus de vie et même mon lit
Se transforme en quai de gare
Quand tu t’en vas

Je suis malade complètement malade
Comme quand ma mère sortait le soir
Et qu’elle me laissait seul avec mon désespoir

Je suis malade parfaitement malade
T’arrives on ne sait jamais quand
Tu repars on ne sait jamais où
Et ça va faire bientôt deux ans
Que tu t’en fous

Comme à un rocher comme à un péché
Je suis accroché à toi
Je suis fatigué je suis épuisé
De faire semblant d’être heureux quand ils sont là

Je bois toutes les nuits mais tous les whiskies
Pour moi ont le même goût
Et tous les bateaux portent ton drapeau
Je ne sais plus où aller tu es partout

Je suis malade complètement malade
Je verse mon sang dans ton corps
Et je suis comme un oiseau mort quand toi tu dors

Je suis malade parfaitement malade
Tu m’as privé de tous mes chants
Tu m’as vidé de tous mes mots
Pourtant moi j’avais du talent avant ta peau

Cet amour me tue si ça continue
Je crèverai seul avec moi
Et moi comme u gros idiot pres de ma radio
J’ecouterai ta propre voix qui me chantera

Je suis malade complètement malade
Comme quand ma mère sortait le soir
Et qu’elle me laissait seul avec mon désespoir

Je suis malade c’est ça je suis malade
Tu m’as privé de tous mes chants
Tu m’as vidé de tous mes mots
Et j’ai le cœur complètement malade
Cerné de barricades t’entends je suis malade

So, did you listen to those songs? Please, tell the world what you think!

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18 Comments

  • Debbie says:

    J’aime la musique française! The great thing about living in Germany and Switzerland was exposure to so many different European cultures. Also love Italian music as well as Spanish and Greek.
    Passez un bon été. 🙂

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Ah, you can write French, don’t you? That’s great. I’m so glad you were exposed to European cultures. It’s always a good thing to be exposed to different cultures.

      Merci de votre visite 🙂

  • Carol LynnTwitter: carollynnrivera says:

    That was fun! You reminded me of how in high school my French teacher used to teach us songs all the time to help us learn. They were usually kids songs or short popular songs but after all those years I can actually still remember and sing some of them 🙂 One of them was “Petites Filles Petits Garcons” which still sticks with me. Do you know that one? What a great idea for really understanding a language!
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Carol,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this. Petites filles petits garcons, doesn’t right a bell, but I’m glad you still remember this. The brain is an amazing machinne, isn’t it?

      I just want to have fun this summer and post fun stuff like that on this blog during the upcomming vacation weeks.

      Those 3 songs are ones of my and my mother’s favorite 🙂

  • DeeAnn Rice says:

    Sylviane,

    I have always thought of French as a romantic language but never really thought why.

    After reading your post I can understand now why French would be a romantic language.

    You are right American songs are really more about the beat and music than the words. Now I can see that French songs are more about the words which makes them much more romantic.

    I can not read or understand French but I love how you explain the songs.

    Dee Ann

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi DeeAnn,

      Sorry for that late reply and thank you for coming.

      Posts like this are very close to my heart and I love sharing those personal things that I love, just like I’m sure you enjoyed writing your post about the fathers in your life which I read yesterday.

      Each of those songs are part of me because they are part of my life. Some of those songs are so meaningful and so beautiful. I think that French fits this type of songs.

      Thanks for visiting.

  • AdrienneTwitter: adriennesmith40 says:

    Well Sylviane, I grew up in Texas so you can just imagine all the different types of music I grew up listening to. Anything from good old rock-n-roll to country once I started high school. Then came disco and well what an I say. No sad songs for me girl.

    My parents loved the big band music and my Dad use to play clarinet in a band so he would play that for us from time to time. I also use to go dancing with my parents and I really enjoyed that kind of music only because I loved watching how much they did.

    Thanks for sharing more of what you love and your language is just beautiful I’ll admit. Even though I don’t have a clue what they’re saying. LOL!!!

    ~Adrienne
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Sorry for such late reply, but as you know, I had another crazy week busy and a good part of it without a computer.

      Yes, I think that Texas has a lot of fun and country music as well as others.

      At first I thought about translating those songs so you guys could understand every single verse, but it sounded so bad in English that I opted to just telling you what the story was. Songs just don’t translate well, that’s why they usually don’t translate them, but just change all the wording when they steal a melody.

      Thanks for coming, my dear 🙂 as always.

  • Sue PriceTwitter: suejprice says:

    Hi Sylviane

    As you know I love your language to listen to .. and yes it is even more beautiful in song. Too me though sometimes I think they border on being too sad.

    I can read some of the words here and understand a bit but I am losing my French 🙁

    I always think of most things French as romantic. The dining experience is romantic. Especially compared to the American fast eating habit.

    Every time I visit this blog I want to visit France again. As I said to you recently thought we have at least 3 French cafes where I live run by French people. There are more maybe too but given it is a small town that is pretty good for us.

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful songs with us Sylviane.

    I hope your new computer is being very kind to you.

    Sue
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sue,

      Yes, I think that even one French cafe in a small town would be great, so 3 is great.

      Yes, in France we have a lot of “sad” to “melancholic ” songs. Lots of love songs as well. However, we also do have some fun ones, and this gave me an idea to write another post with such songs later on this summer.

      I’m glad to know that this blog makes you want to go to France. I should use this to approach some French companies that could pay me to write for them. I seriously should be looking into that.

  • Sue PriceTwitter: suejprice says:

    Yes Sylviane you should be looking into writing for French travel companies or tourism. I have an acquaintance where I live who gets paid to go on trips then blog about them. I will see what I can find to send to you.

    Sue
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sue,

      You are so sweet.I would love that.

      However, I do have a furry daughter you know. I love her to death, and I would hate to leave her behind while I’m traveling. I know that some people would not understand, but that kitty has been with me for close to 13 years now and she is the only being left while my whole family disappeared. I owe her so much. I don’t care she’s not human, because for me she more than anything, human or non-human, if you know what I mean.

      Anyways, I appreciate your offer and whatever you could find out from this person.

      Have a great week end Sue 🙂

  • Howard says:

    Great childhood memories came back.

    Ah, French lessons at school, and pop songs from years ago.

    I always remember Dominique sung by a nun(?), and at the other end of the spectrum Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin with “Je t’aime”.

    Hey, not sure it improved my French though!

  • Nicole Minix says:

    I really love to learn how to speak French but never tried learning through listening songs.

    Right now, I’m listening to the songs you’ve shared and you are right it goes to the deepest corner of my heart. It sink in even though I don’t understand the wordings. I can really feel it.

  • Benjamin says:

    Thanks for these awesome translations :). I am ashamed to say that although I am French, I didn’t know any of these singers. English songs are everywhere nowadays, even in France, so it’s nice to hear some French songs too. And songs are an excellent and fun way to learn a language.

  • Harman Gill says:

    Great childhood memories came back.

    Ah, French lessons at school, and pop songs from years ago.

  • Jenna says:

    I really love to learn how to speak French but never tried learning through listening songs.
    Merci Beaucoup

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