Wednesday, April 4, 2012
1988: C'est ca vie
I've grown to love Joe Le Taxi very much. The more I hear it, the more melancholy it seems.
When it was first released it was song second, singer first, with the young Vanessa Paradis getting all the attention for being such a fox in the making. We always knew she'd grow up to be amazing, didn't we?
Vanessa aside, you do wonder if it would have been a hit had it not been for her. It's such a lovely song but probably needed a big sell to us Brits. Songs sung in foreign languages were not that common once upon a time. Often they were translated (cf A Little Peace/Nicole and A Little Love And Understanding/Gilbert Becaud, etc.) because we simply couldn't deal with anything that wasn't sung in our mother tongue. That's all changed now of course and it's all down to ecstasy, at least, that's what Shaun Ryder says. He may be right.
There was a time when anything from 'the continent' was derided and ridiculed, despite being big hits. People like Baccara, Sylvia, Ryan Paris, F R David, Kyu Sakamoto, Pussycat, Opus or the like were mere novelties and not be taken seriously. Sabrina shot up the charts due to her pneumatic, bouncy Eighties norks. Focus and Golden Earring may have been critically acclaimed Dutchmen, but they were still Dutchmen. That superior attitude we had (have?) about anything foreign extended to music as well.
So when ears began to open in the late Eighties and really were a-flapping in the Nineties, we didn't care where our music came from. It just had to be good. 2 Unlimited aside, the snobbery seemed to melt away. I was just as guilty.
Now I'm all over the continental charts of yesteryear, seeing what I've missed. And dear reader, there's some wonderful gems. I'll share them with you one day if you promise to behave.
In the meantime, let's enjoy Vanessa. For her music.