My friend Sara asked me for French music recommendations for a friend and even I was not prepared for the fervor with which I recommended this album: Michel by Mathieu Boogaerts (roughly pronounced “mat-yew bo-garts,” for all you non-francophones).
I think I have owned this since shortly after it came out in 2005, and it is one that I consistently go back to. Being somewhat less knowledgeable about pop music than classical music, and even less knowledgeable about the pop scene in France than I am about anglophone pop music, I have never been quite sure how to talk about this album. I’m still not sure how to talk about it, except to say that I am not (nor have I ever been one) to make top ten lists of my favorite albums ever; but if I had to make a top ten favorites ever list, I’m absolutely sure this album would be somewhere near the top.
My favorite thing about this album is that the first nine tracks, as a whole, seem scattered and restless, like they’re looking for something (especially track 8 and even more especially track 9). You may find yourself asking, “What the heck?”
And then the first notes of track 10 hit (appropriately, it is entitled “Retrouver,” a simple translation of which is “To Find”) and so many harmonic questions raised earlier in the album feel like they get an answer. It’s one of the most satisfying moments in my iTunes library.
So give it a listen, okay?