Learn French With Love Songs — Part Two!

by learn a language journalist

If you want to improve your French oral comprehension and learn to speak more modern, everyday French, music can be a great tool! And if you want to sound more romantic when speaking French, there are plenty of French love songs to discover. Let’s look at one today!

Françoise Hardy is a famous French singer, and her song Message Personnel (= Personal Message) can help you express your love in French.

If you’ve never heard it before, you can watch the video below to listen.

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Let’s walk through this French love song’s history, and see how you could use some of its lyrics to express your own feelings in French!

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Françoise Hardy became famous in the 1960’s. She was part of a new wave in French pop music: les yéyés.

They were a generation of young singers heavily influenced by American music. In fact, many of the songs they sang were actually American songs, but with French lyrics. And they said “yeah, yeah” a lot… hence their name!

Some famous names that were part of this generation:

  • Johnny Hallyday
  • Claude François
  • Sylvie Vartan
  • France Gall

Françoise fell in love with a talented artist from that era: Jacques Dutronc. They became the “it” couple of the 70’s.

In 1973, they had a son: Thomas Dutronc, who later became famous in his own right as a singer / songwriter / musician.

2) Message Personnel: Chorus Lyrics

In 1973, Françoise also met Michel Berger, a big name of French music from the 60’s to the 80’s. Together, they write a new song for Françoise to sing: Message Personnel.

The chorus was written by Michel, and it starts with:

Mais si tu crois un jour que tu m’aimes = But if one day you think you love me
Ne crois pas que tes souvenirs me gênent = Don’t think your memories bother me
Et cours, cours jusqu’à perdre haleine = Just run, run until you’re out of breath
Viens me retrouver = Come meet me

By the way, Viens me retrouver is a short, simple, and very romantic French sentence that you can use with your special someone!

3) Message Personnel: Spoken words

Before singing the chorus, Françoise Hardy starts the song with a spoken word introduction that she wrote herself.

Au bout du téléphone, il y a votre voix = At the other end of the phone, there’s your voice
Et il y a les mots que je ne dirai pas. = And the words I won’t say
Je voudrais vous les dire et je voudrais les vivre. = I’d like to tell them to you, I’d like to live them
Je ne le ferai pas. Je veux, je ne peux pas. = But I won’t. I want to, but I can’t.

She’s saying that communication with this person on the phone is hard… And she uses vous !

Using vous instead of tu is usually a way to add distance, not affection. Here, it’s a poetic choice: she uses le vouvoiement as if to shield herself from something that’s too intimate. Because it’s hard to share emotions!

The song goes on:

Je suis seule à crever, et je sais où vous êtes = I’m so lonely I could die, and I know where you are. (“Crever” is slang for “dying,” in a harsher, more vivid way.)

J’arrive, attendez-moi, nous allons nous connaître. = I’m coming, wait for me, we’re going to meet each other. (“Connaître” = to know, but also “to know of” or “to meet for the first time.” Here, she uses “nous” for the first time. It’s more intimate than “vous,” but it’s still formal.)

J’ai peur que tu sois sourd, j’ai peur que tu sois lâche. = I’m worried you’ll be deaf, I’m worried you’ll be a coward (“J’ai peur” = “I’m afraid, I’m worried”)

J’ai peur d’être indiscrète. = I’m afraid I’m intrusive.

Je ne peux pas vous dire que je t’aime peut-être. = I can’t tell you that I maybe love you.

That last line is the crux of the song. She’s afraid, and she keeps her distance with that final “vous”… but she finally gets the courage to use “tu” when sharing her doubts, and that final je t’aime” (= I love you.)

Did you notice that she changes the pronoun mid-sentence? That’s when the chorus kicks in, with all the lyrics using “tu”.

4) Message Personnel: End of the Chorus

The later parts of the chorus are also interesting:

Si le dégoût de la vie vient en toi = literally, “If the disgust of life comes into you” = “If you ever end up disgusted by life.”

Si la paresse de la vie s’installe en toi = “If you ever end up too tired to live.” (“la paresse” = sloth, laziness)

Pense à moi. = Think of me.

And again, Pense à moi (= think of me, think about me, keep me in your thoughts) is a simple, very romantic French sentence you can use to express tenderness.

Finally, the chorus loops back on itself, with a slight change:

Si tu crois un jour que tu m’aimes = If one day you think you love me
N’attends pas un jour, pas une semaine = Don’t wait a day nor a week
Car tu ne sais pas où la vie t’emmène = Because you don’t know where life might lead you
Viens me retrouver. = Come back to me, come meet me

And here we have a final, longer sentence for romantic French:

Tu ne sais pas où la vie t’emmène. Viens me retrouver.
= You don’t know where life might lead you. Come back to me / Come meet me.

I love François Hardy. I highly recommend checking out her beautiful French love songs, and try using them to learn French!

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The post Learn French With Love Songs — Part Two! appeared first on Comme une Française.

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