When attempting to encapsulate the essence of Paris in a word, Evelyn Waugh endearingly deemed the city "bogus." In his travelogue, Labels, he wrote, "It seems to me this scrap of jargon, in every gradation of meaning... gives a very adequate expression of the essence of modern Paris." Thanks mostly to San Dimas High School, in the seventy sum years since Waugh's trip, the term-- and bogus journeys, in general-- has evolved into a firm negative. Waugh, however, enjoyed Parisians' ability to dismiss nostalgia in art and revel in the present without regard to the future, past, or public reception. In so few words, the French don't give a fuck.
Because of this, American audiences continually underestimate French music, assuming our rigid filters of "authentic" or "ironic" apply. Admittedly, the cultural barrier is difficult to overcome: Daft Punk's masked robot disco, Gainsbourg's reggae, and Phoenix's flying-V Steely Dan tribute seem cute and studied when compared to the supposed bleeding-on-wax of our idolized Kurts and Jimis. As such, investing emotionally in "Sexy Boy" was akin to a Cubs fan buying playoff tickets. Air's revered debut hit cosmetic commercials within weeks of its release and goes great with a dry Chardonnay. 10,000 Hz Legend opened with synthetic voices proclaiming, "We are electronic performers," before 10cc choruses toyingly queried, "How does it make you feel?" 8/10 Pitchfork