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Friday, 24 October 2014

Friday's French music break - Étienne Daho, "En surface"

Friday's French music break this week is from a singer who first broke on to the music scene back in 1981.

It's "En surface", the most recent single from Étienne Daho and taken from his 2013 album "Les Chansons de l'innocence retrouvée"

Étienne Daho (screenshot from official video of "En surface".

As you can tell, Daho has been around a while and has built up a firm and loyal fan base and has become (in the words of the promotional blurb) "one of the most influential personalities to have emerged on the French scene in the last 30 years"

Part of the problem (for those not quite so enamoured of his music) is that Daho seems to have been "singing"  (inverted commas entirely intentional as he has a "voice" that surely only the French could "love") variations of the same song since the 1980s.

And in fact, he appears to be well and truly stuck in that era, offering up little that is sparklingly different, not to mention tuneful and instead relying on a tried and tested recipe of electro-pop "synth-driven and rock-surf influenced" (his English language Wikipedia entry, so you know it must be right). music which has, admittedly, served him well over the decades.

Very well in fact with every album turning gold or platinum and a slew of successful singles.

Granted "the familiarity factor" could probably be said to be true for many artists who've proven their longevity, but in the process, Daho just sounds too moody and bored when he sings. Don't you think?

"En surface" is one of those songs that you hear and wish would be over quickly because the melody and the "low whispery voice" have a combined soporific effect (for some) which will simply send you off to the Land of Nod.

All right. That's not exactly fair - just an opinion.

There are plenty around who have enjoyed, and continue to do so, Daho's music. And the album from which this track was taken, received some pretty good reviews when it was released.

Writing in Le Journal du dimanche, critic Éric Mandel described "Les Chansons de l'innocence retrouvée" as an "ambitious and elegant album" and one that was "sumptuous with songs that stood out for their emotional power."

Oh well.

And then there are the diehard fans, some of whose comments on the "En surface" video on YouTube are equally gushing

"Magnifique chanson , magnifique clip, magnifique chanteur, magnifique voix !" for example. Really, you shouldn't need to run that throught Google translate.


"Une très belle chanson."


"Ma chanson préférée de l'album.....octobre est encore loin  pour revivre la magie de ses concerts."

Ah October...and the "Diskönoir" tour which will, over the next few months, see Daho take the show on the road around France (with three dates at Olympia in Paris) Belgium and Luxembourg, plus a date in London on October 23.

Ready? Judge for yourselves.

Actually it's not so bad after a dozen or so hearings....

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