Faute grave 5: A Singing Cure

A Singing Cure

Dear Walking Wounded,

I was the first to admit it: Gainsbourg’s proofsinging was a poor recommendation. Please accept my apologies — and please, do consider this one last musical attempt at cheering you up.

Let me start by introducing Rebecca Manzoni — or, rather, by giving François Busnel the floor, as he welcomes her on the set of Si on lisait.

“Notre experte en grammaire… (elle) vous réveille tous les jours à 7h20, 7h22 sur l’antenne de France Inter avec ce que j’appelle une véritable bulle de poésie en musique.” Every morning indeed, Manzoni’s fresh, delightful prose on music takes you far and wide to the world of songs. No wonder she makes an appearance on Si on lisait, a show dedicated to “les plus beaux textes de la littérature et de la chanson françaises.” Prepare for her special music tour — one designed just for you, my wounded friends. An homage to errors in French because even the most beautiful lyrics have mistakes, sung out and loud.

Before you get too excited, I recommend you review this rule and the jazzy conjugation of the future tense. No watching until you’re done. Thank you.

“Pas besoin d’avoir le nez dans le Bescherelle pour écrire une bonne chanson.” To say the least. In one short sentence and with all his heart, Jean Yanne makes two monstrous blunders“Si tu ten irais, je crois bien que je mourirais, Renaud another killer pair“Dès que le vent soufflera je repartira, dès que les vents tourneront, nous nous en allerons,” and Alain Bashung rounds off in style with yet one more lame future tense“un jour je t’aimerai moins, un jour je courirai moins jusqu’au jour où je ne courirai plus…

So, what say you, Walking Wounded? Kinda cool, kinda not. I know. These guys twist conjugation for rhyme and meter’s sake. You make earnest blunders — and don’t get away with, let alone praised for them. But just listen to Bashung’s answer when asked about his deliberate glitch, and look at the smiles in the audience.

“Une chanson n’est pas faite pour donner des leçons de français, au contraire, j’ai de la tendresse pour tous ceux qui font des maladresses. Vivent les émus…” and long live the clumsy, those who get carried away by a melody. If the most famous tripped for swing and flow — making s’s¹ into r’s or t’s², neglecting H aspirés³ — you, dear Walking Wounded, are allowed anything that will carry your French away.

Most sincerely,

— Claire

¹ Aznavour: “les derniers disques pop pousser au maximum” instead of “poussés au maximum

² Barbara: “avait mit aux enchères” instead of “mis aux enchères

³ Ringo: “de mon hublot” instead of  “de mon / hublot je vois des gens très comme il faut

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