Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Namika ft. Black M – Je Ne Parle Pas Français (Beatgees remix)

Nous l’aimons (wir mögen es)…


Jonathan Bogart: For someone, like me, who finds himself constantly immersed in twentieth-century history, there’s something so inexpressibly beautiful and even touching about a Frankfurter of Moroccan descent and a Parisian of Guinean descent scoring a massive pop hit with sounds from the Caribbean, West Africa, and North Africa while singing about how she doesn’t speak French and he doesn’t speak German, but that won’t stop them from being friends. The very chintziness of the production, the way it refuses to stick to one sound throughout, is a selling point: pop is not inherently anti-nationalist, anti-colonialist, and pro-open borders, but at its best it can describe utopias we can dedicate lifetimes working toward.

Iain Mew: Each of the three iterations of the song — original, remix, remix+ — adds a little more joy without losing anything. She could let the funky music do the talking, lilting and multifaceted as it is. But how much better to add Black M for an uproarious verse. 

Will Adams: I prefer the smoky, coffeehouse vibe of the original; Beatgees’ remix teases out the sillier tone of the lyric concept via light EDM punch-ups. Black M’s contribution leans into that, so this remix-to-the-remix is at least something, but imagining the contrast of him and the original production is more interesting.

Hazel Southwell: Ballsy, to announce you cannot speak French while sampling the accordion of a Parisien busker. This sounded like it was going to be a banger but never quite delivers, the je ne sais quoi absent definitely a memorable chorus or significant key change. Nonetheless, enjoyable behind dark glasses with small coffee and smaller cigarette.

Tim de Reuse: A bilingual romance over a color-by-numbers reggaeton beat. It could’ve been a little fun in theory but it’s far, far too cute with its cultures-colliding premise; Black M’s awkward specificity makes him sound like he’s never actually set foot in France and just skimmed a Parisian tourist brochure ten minutes before the recording session.

Jonathan Bradley: Almost more charming for the romance of its narrative than its music, though the blend of dem bow and Parisian accordion ultimately settles into a curious accord. It’s almost kitsch, but the exoticisms of travel lend themselves to kitsch anyway. Black M in particular is a charmer, announcing his presence by rhyming “Hey miss, ich spreche nicht Deutsch” with “je vais te montrer ç’est quoi la French touch.” He’s a host happy to play up for the tourist’s imagination: “Oui, Paris est magique, mais Paris est aussi dark/Le contraste entre Pigalle et l’Arc.”

Reader average: [3] (1 vote)

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