Another rich year has happened to the French music scene and I decided again to make my personal selection of the seven best French songs of 2021. I realized that most of the songs this year are from French music bands (find my selection of the best current French bands). 

1 – Thelma et Louise – Poupie

Poupie is one of my good discoveries of 2021. Poupie is from Lyon and is one of the emerging artists in France. She released her first album “Enfant roi” in 2021 after two promising EP (one of them is the song Thelma et Louise). I discovered her with her collaboration with the super famous French rapper Jul, in the French song “Feux” (on the album Enfant roi). But this featuring did not catch my attention at that time. I rediscovered her with the great song “Thelma et Louise”. This French song of 2021 is an obvious tribute to the American movie “Thelma and Louise” released in 1991,  produced by Ridley Scott who received an Oscar for the best scenario. To make it short, the movie is about two women friends that are frustrated by a monotonous existence and decide to run away after a tragic event. If you want to discover more female French artists, I recommend you to read my previous article. 

Thelma et Louise (YouTube link) 

2 – Ça se voit – Jacques 

Jacques or Jacques Aubert is a French artist with an original background. To summarize, he went from organizing crazy parties in Paris with a collective to living in a squat with a hobo to ending up living in the street to finally create a kind of communication agency (videos, music label) and become a successful artist. I recommend you to watch one of his video clips Phonochose where he plays with random objects to create a song. He loves to go to flea markets to buy new instruments for his next French songs. By “new instruments” I mean chairs, lamps, forks and so everything can be an instrument for him. His first EP was the symbol of his philosophy in 2015 “Tout est Magnifique” (“Everything is Beautiful”). Besides using the music as a way to express himself, he did many interesting TEDx in French as “Les chemins de la confiance”.He is also stepping apart with his hairstyle, he shaves the top of his head on purpose to give himself some self-confidence by doing the opposite of most men (he explained in the TEDx that I mentioned before). He is back in 2021 with the poetic EP “Ça se voit” announcing a new album  “LIMPORTANCEDUVIDE”  for the 11th of February in 2022. This is the end of a three years break living in Morocco near Agadir, enjoying life, meditating, and enjoying the beach. This year was quite productive for him with the release of another beautiful EP in 2021 “La vie de tous les jours”.  

3 – Monde Nouveau – Feu! Chatterton 

The French rock band came back this year with a new and third album named “Palais d’argile”. In this well-made electro-rock album, you will find songs like “Compagnons” or “Cristaux liquides” but my favorite one so far is “Monde Nouveau”.This album is drawing the relation between humans and new technologies. The music band seems a little bit disillusioned about the positive impact of technology in our life. But still, the melancholic and well-written lyrics also remain in this new album. I recommend you to listen to the song full of anger “Écran Total” where, for example, they complain about the hate of people behind a screen. 

Monde Nouveau (YouTube link)

4 – Paradigme – La Femme

Easy choice for me since it is one of my favorite French music bands.  After their two successful albums “Psycho Tropical Berlin” (2013) and “Mystère” (2016), they are back in 2021 with an uninhibited and joyful album “Paradigmes”. It was difficult to pick a song from this album in between the songs “Nouvelle-Orléans”, “Cool Colorado” (two songs celebrating the US), “Divine Créature”, or “Foutre le bordel” , a tribute to the French rock style from the eighties. But my choice went for “Paradigme”, another French song of 2021 about nightlife and celebration (as Foutre le bordel). Here is the cool and original video clip of “Paradigme”. 

5 – Été 90 – Thérapie TAXI

This is the sad news of 2021, Thérapie TAXI announced the end of their collaboration. The reason is pretty classic, all the members wanted to move on with other personal projects. To celebrate this ending, they released a final album “Rupture 2 merde” with only seven songs around the same theme usual as love and relationship. The lyrics still have a strong connection with the younger French generations. They became a commercial French band but they managed to bring a fresh, new vision to the French music scene. From this final album, I enjoy the two songs “Friendzone” and the nostalgic one “Été 90”. Actually, there were two final albums with a live version of their last concert at the Olympia in Paris “C’était thérapie TAXI pour vous servir” (= It was TAXI therapy to serve you). 

Été 90 (YouTube link) 

6 – Déjà vu – Requin Chagrin

An emerging French band was formed in 2015 and led by Marion Brunetto, a French artist from the south (Var county). This peaceful third album reminds me sometimes of The Cure or Indochine with the songs “Déjà vu” or “Juno”. For sure, this band reminds me of the French band La Femme. In this album, with a dream-pop style, all the songs have some nostalgic and melancholic vibes. This is exactly the goal of the band: to create music that sounds melancholic made in the garage. My favorite songs are “Love”, “Fou” and  “Déjà vu”. A fun fact, the name of the band is from her spirit animal, Requin chagrin (the grief shark) is a small shark present in the Mediterranean with which she identified herself because it lives in the darkness measuring 1,60 meters (like her) and has big eyes. 

7 – Palavas-les-flots – Odezenne 

The music group from Bordeaux released at the end of 2021 a new EP with, again, beautiful and rhythmic lyrics. With their unique style and their punchy rhymes, they decided to take us not to the Atlantic French coast but to the Mediterranean coast at Palavas-les-flots. This winter song has definitely some summer vibes with this somewhat Hawaiian guitar and eighties music. The EP is here to announce a new album for the 7th of January 2022 named “1200 mètres en tout”. 

Palavas-les-flots (YouTube link) 

(Bonus) – The Dancing Plague – Entropie

For this bonus one, it is the only French song in this ranking in English. Entropie gave a definition of themselves (the word Entropie in French) at the beginning of the video clip “The Dancing Plague” with: a measure of disorder. It is a great definition since this video clip films a large group of people dancing like crazy to rock music. We can’t deny that the French band composed of four artists reminds us of the North-Irish band Two Door Cinema Club. Their first album is a combination of joyful and rock songs sung in English. I really like “Teenager Summertime” and “The Dancing Plague” songs from this Parisian album (more precisely Parisian suburb).

The Dancing Plague (YouTube link)

I hope that you discovered some cool French songs of 2021 and at least one of them will be saved in one of your playlists. I could other French songs from this selection: 

  • Comme un avalanche – Scaro
  • Ça va aller – Terrenoire (& Pomme)
  • West – Klon Overdry – Hoorsees (singing in English)
  • Lulu Van Trapp – Valley of Love (singing in English)

You can follow the blog on Spotify my French playlists by typing “French Iceberg”. Do you want to discover more French songs and artists? Read my two previous blog posts about it: 

Photo credit @feu!chatterton