We know that you’re working hard to learn and perfect your French, and spend a lot of time practicing vocabulary and grammar drills. These are very important parts of foreign language acquisition, but do remember to take time to have some fun!
Our experienced French language instructors know that part of speaking the language comes from delving deep into French culture, and have written articles filled with suggestions on how to explore these aspects of the French language you should check out.
Besides reading books or watching series, listening to French music will not only widen your musical horizons, but can introduce you to new vocabulary, slang, and real-life applications of the spoken French language. It can be a perfect French session on those days that maybe you just need a break from grammar. Studies have shown that music and rhythm help us retain lyrics better, and thus boost our vocabulary repertoire.
So, why not kick back and dedicate some time in your day to finding popular French music you enjoy, and singing along with them to practice your French language skills? We’ve provided a few suggestions here to help you get started, but don’t be afraid to explore on your own to find the music and songs that work best for your tastes.
Celine Dion is internationally renowned for her music, which she has recorded in both English and French. She originally hails from Quebec, and is a native speaker of Quebecois. One of her most memorable and easier to memorize songs is called “Pour que tu m’aimes encore”. The literal translation is “So that you will love me again”, but it is recorded in English as “If that’s what it takes”.
The lyrics are beautiful and easy to learn in French, and you can practice your language skills by reading through them to find the ways in which Celine uses the subjunctive, a more challenging conjugation to master in the French language.
Maître Gims and Black M
There are many great hip hop songs in French for those of you who enjoy the genre. It might seem challenging at first because of the faster paced lyrics, but don’t despair. You can always look up the lyrics online to follow along better, and the songs feature slang and expressions that are very relevant to French culture.
“Bella” by Maître Gims and “Je suis chez moi” by Black M are two songs that have great lyrics and vocabulary to take your language learning to the next level. “Je suis chez moi” includes some good examples of conjugated reflexive verbs, and “Bella” will help you practice your present tense conjugations for “re” ending verbs.
Carla Bruni is a household name in France, and is an Italian-French artist. She was also married to Nicolas Sarkozy, a former French president. Her lyrics are beautiful in “Quelqu’un m’a dit”, (“someone told me” in English). You can explore past tense conjugations as well as the conditional in this beautiful song, and sing along for improved pronunciation.
Édith Piaf is a classic French singer who passed away in the 60s, but whose music still lives on and holds a cherished place in French culture. You probably have heard of one of her most successful hits, “La Vie en rose”. Challenge yourself to sing along with the slow, romantic tempo and really perfect your French pronunciation. The lyrics are also a great example of how to use present tense conjugations. Another song of hers deserves an honorable mention here, “Non, je ne regrette rien”, which will help you practice using French negative phrasing.
Don’t forget the absurd side of French culture in their music
This isn’t perhaps the best example of the heights to which popular French music reaches, but it is a great example of their sense of humor. Katerine created some buzz with his song “La Banane”, which includes some interesting slang vocabulary. Don’t forget to watch the music video, it makes me laugh every time.
Some honorable mentions to help you personalize your French music journey
There are many very famous artists that every French speaker practically grows up listening to, and this article wouldn’t be complete without including some great singers, such as Serge Gainsbourg, Johnny Hallyday, and George Brassens.
We hope you enjoy these popular French music recommendations. Remember, it is up to you to drive your language learning journey. You can use the songs to increase your listening comprehension, but also, take the time to focus on how the artists phrase ideas and link words together, which slang words and expressions they use, and which verb tenses are included. Save time in your day to relax as well, and sing along (maybe in a space where you feel comfortable, like a private sing-along in the shower).
Mimicking their pronunciation is a great way to improve your own as you continue to work towards your goal of improving your French language skill. YouTube provides music video links, as well as videos that include the lyrics onscreen, which might be helpful when you’re getting started. We have a whole team of great French instructors who are here to assist you in achieving proficiency throughout your journey.