Scene and Heard – CCCIII : French Cigarettes – Djo Life (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

500x500Some music is great for talking about the big issues, of the meaning of life, the grand philosophical questions, politics and the human condition. It’s all very worthy, but sometimes music is inspired by the simplest of things such as meeting a mysterious girl in a French bar and falling head over heals for her sophisticated and exotic allure. Sure, searching for the meaning of life is all very well and good but the pursuit of love has always been much closer to a young man’s heart. This is the vibe that drives the core of French Cigarettes, a simple tale of love, longing and the simple heart-skipping joy that a gallic girl with a Gauloises can bring to a young man’s imagination.

Musically it tips it’s hat to the sort of song that Nick Lowe or Elvis Costello made their name with but it is also wonderfully fresh and sassy, more to do with the here and now than the way back when, a simple, clean-limbed fusion of pop, rock and indie that never seems to go out of fashion. The video is a lot of fun, a black and white (obviously) wander through the sites of Paris and a wonderful ode to the poise and elegance of the European sophisticate. Okay, it may be a bit of a stereotypical vision of French loveliness but hey, it’s his fantasy, so why the hell not? 

Jaunty, infectious and full of fun it’s a great song that is both timeless, in that it could have existed any decade from the sixties onwards, yet simultaneously out of step with modern fashion, and believe me thats a good thing. This is pop music as it used to be made and if the charts and playlists weren’t log-jammed with the throw away indie, mumbling rap and clubland pop pap that the record industry has already decided is our musical menu, this would be all over the airwaves.

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