Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Move over Seattle: France Has Its Own Grunge-Rock

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Move over Seattle: France Has Its Own Grunge-Rock

Article excerpt

* A group called Noir Desir (Black Desire) from Bordeaux is jamming rock clubs thoughout France, making it this country's leading entry in the grunge wave.

At the Bataclan club, adorned with Toulouse-Lautrec-style cabaret murals, the heartthrob singer and the chronically airborne lead guitarist of the group stir up a sold-out crowd into a sweaty frenzy of slam-dancing and stage-diving.

Noir Desir weaves French, English, and Spanish into its latest album, "Tostaky." The hit title track, an abbreviated form of the Spanish "todo esta aqui," or "everything is here," is a hard-edged song of decadence and paradox in the United States. The song has become something of an anthem, with the oft-repeated line, "soyons desinvoltes, n'ayons l'air de rien" ("appear relaxed, pretend nothing's happening").

That jibes well with the Seattle kings of grunge rock, Nirvana, whose early "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had the words "here we are now, entertain us."

Noir Desir singer-songwriter Bertrand Cantat fills his lyrics with surrealism, existentialism, antifascism, and anticommunism inspired by modern French writers. …

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