20 June 2011

Monday's mp3: Zaz

Despite the fact that it's not often featured here, SoundRoots appreciates French pop. Though usually in small doses, in part because we don't speak French, and in part because we don't like to feel like we're spending all of our time in charming cafes with beret-topped, baguette-waving men drinking coffee from saucers.

Right then, having offended an entire European nation, on to the music of Zaz, an artist new to me but who apparently has chart-topping appeal in her home nation. I'm sure much of her appeal is lost on my non-Francophile ears, but I am caught by her melodies, and the variety of influences apparent on her self-titled album. There's a fair amount of Gypsy-jazz guitar underlying things, right from the start of "Les Passants." Other tunes sport a pop-music feel, albeit with some clever, fresh horn arrangements as on "La Fée."

Zaz (real name Isabelle Geffroy) has a smoky voice that sets her apart from the light breathy vocals of, say, Camille. Indeed, even to the understanding-impaired, Zaz conveys a weight and seriousness that makes me think of her as someone who tackles serious social issues though her catchy music. Maybe she's the Bob Dylan of France, though for all I know she could be singing about how she never cleans up when her poodle poops in the park.

This track is a departure from the CD's Gypsy-jazz and pop, a stripped down song for guitar and voice, with Zaz singing with a hip-hop vibe before she breaks into a scat. One that doesn't need to be cleaned up.

[mp3] Zaz: Trop Sensible
from the album Zaz

More Zaz:
listen/buy CD

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