Thursday, July 23, 2009

After Hours

Joe Dassin. Aux Champs-Élysées

My education in French, like just about every other subject, has been inadequate and lacking in intellectual finesse. I had a few years in junior high and then I worked a grueling six months in a Swiss carpentry shop in Lausanne. The former didn't teach me what I needed to know and the latter taught me way too much in too short of a time. Besides swearing and the names of all the tools, I learned enough to get along with the shop's Spanish contingent. They were all old, stupid and very violent. Their way of getting your attention was to throw a hammer at your head. There was no reasoning with them, but they did have weird stories that were probably 100% lies and I wanted to be able to know who went after whom with an axe and how many fingers they lost. So I learned enough French to understand them. And that's it. I don't know any more than that. So it's refreshing that I can listen to a nice French pop tune and understand 98% of it. And this is the tune. It's sung by American-French (he was born in New York) singer Joe Dassin. It's a fun little number with an easy beat and an excitable soprano sax in the band. The "aftermarket" video shows you the sights of Paris. If you're looking to sing along, here's a version with lyrics:

See, it really is pretty simple to understand, ain't it? It's not like stuff from Serge Gainsbourg. Even the French don't understand a lot of that. But I'd say that it might be on par with songs by France Gall. It's like she's a three-year-old singing to other three-year-olds, so her tunes are not too complicated.

As for poor Joe, he died of a heart attack in Tahiti way back in 1980. Gee, that sort of sucked for him. But he did leave behind this wonderful piece of nostalgia in 1969.

No comments: