KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Muse Sick: Jacques Dutronc “Il est 5 heures Paris s’éveille”

Over the years, I have been developing a collection of French pop music, primarily from the 1960’s. One of my favorite artists is Jacques Dutronc (which Jon introduced me to when we first met). I would characterize him as a Frenchie-poo version of Lou Reed. Most of his stuff is wildly upbeat and centered in the jangly garage mod movement.

Normally, when I listen to music I focus on the melody rather than the lyrical content which is probably why I connect with Dutronc’s pop sensationalism since I can’t speak a lick of French. Therefore, I am unfamiliar with what he is saying in his songs – for all I know, he could be spreading satanic messages about murdering kittens and drowning puppies. Such a dilemma leaves a lot up to the imagination to decipher.

In my mind, the mood of Dutronc’s music portrays a free wheeling cool guy who likes to ride a moped through narrow alley ways with a hot debutante strapped on the back. Excitement is only as far as the next corner’s bend. Comparatively, I would suggest listening to Jacques Dutronc if you are on a mission to feel good as you sail through your own life.

While most of Jacques Dutronc’s music is simply structured as typical “feel good” music found in most 60’s garage music, occasionally there is a song whose tone is more introspective. Such an example can be heard in a tune called “Il est 5 heures Paris s’éveille” (which translates to “It is 5 a.m. Paris wakes Up”). I haven’t translated the words of the song as its’ music is all the poetry I need to resonate with it. My favorite aspect is the intimate correlation between Dutronc’s steady banter and the flute’s mystical wanderings. Combined with the simple guitar strum and vagabond atmosphere the song embodies the soundtrack to a sleepy city waking up to face it’s indefinite possibilities.

JACQUES DUTRONC: “Il est 5 heures Paris s’éveille”


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