French music review: Alain Souchon

Ame Fifties, Alain Souchon (Warner Music France)

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Chances are that even if you think you do not know the name Alain Souchon, you may recognise his face and may have heard, and perhaps even enjoyed, his music on French radio over the years.

The singer-songwriter (and occasional actor) is now 75 years old, and is widely adored in France (he is touring extensively until June).

For those keen to explore his oeuvre, as a starting point listen to his 1993 smash hit single Foule sentimentale or his 1994 song L’Amour à la machine.

While some decent French or an online translation is required to fully appreciate his beautifully poetic lyrics – all wordplays and rhymes, often with a mournful yet very sweet tone – the music is gently beguiling and melodically very easy to fall for, with its melancholic minor chords to the fore.

His newest album release is called Ame Fifties (Fifties Soul) and it represents Souchon’s first batch of entirely new songs for 11 years. [His most recent release was 2014’s La baie des fourmis which he made with old pal Laurent Voulzy.]

Lead single from the new album is Presque, whichtells of a couple’s coup de foudre in Lille, while the titular song reflects on the France of the singer’s childhood.

Watch and listen: