Courtesy of Yelle
To put it simply, I am not a fan of the French language. Sure, it sounds pretty beautiful coming from a poet, but when your third grade teacher forces your class to memorize the French names for 50 different animals, you start to realize how not-so-pretty it can be. Needless to say, it’s been a love-hate sort of thing ever since.
But then I accidentally stumbled upon Yelle. An up-and-coming French songstress with a knack for sugary electro-pop, Yelle gained international recognition after spitting out a provocative jab at a chauvinistic French hip-hop artist on MySpace. Yelle quickly signed with a major record label and the playful track became “Je Veux Te Voir,” the hit single off her debut album Pop-Up, which was released digitally last year.
Like a candy shop for your ears, Yelle’s songs are simultaneously sweet and sassy and range from addictively bubble gum to sophisticatedly hip. With claps and whistles and an electronic beat that takes a back seat to Yelle’s flirty vocals, “Ce Jeu” could easily accompany an advertisement for French Barbie. On the other hand, “Les Femmes” is a smart arrangement of mostly spoken lyrics that evokes images of upper-class debutantes and cultured socialites.
But Yelle’s standout track is “Je Veux Te Voir.” The track kicks off with a heavily synthesized beat and in-your-face vocals that are, like all of Yelle’s lyrics, entirely in French. With or without the language barrier, the song is undeniably seductive and is just as well-suited for a Fashion Week catwalk as a night out on the town.
Despite years of adamant distaste and a floundering grasp of the French language that is now limited to the chorus of Moulin Rouge’s “Lady Marmalade,” Yelle never fails to remind me why French is considered one of the world’s most eloquent languages. Whether I ever pick up another French dictionary is a different story.
—By Asst Entertainment Editor Franchesca Winters