Last week we took a look at the Vegemite-eating-Aussie’s, but this week we’re onto the society that gave us the Statue of Liberty (and more importantly, the croissant): la France.
As a country that stands passionate in preserving their language and culture, I found it quite alarming to see that this week, like most of their surrounding Western European countries, the number one selling album was AC/DC’s Black Ice. There’s just no stopping these boys, they’re sliding right to the top of every chart! However, the number two spot goes to Bénabar, with his new album Infréquentable. With a more traditional French sound, Bénabar holds the values and aspects of songs that the French deem music-worthy, with an emphasis on lyrics. Taking from that emphasis on language, it’s with great pleasure and honor that I present to you the word of the week, “infréquentable”.
“Infrequentable” is an adjective in the French language, and it means to emphasize someone that you really don’t want to be associated with. “Fréquentable” means respectable, so “infréquentable” is the contrary. Don’t worry darlings, I speak French… kind of.
Bénabar, who’s proper name is Bruno Nicolini, has been a big figure in the French music since the release of his first album in 1997, La p’tite monnaie (change, coins). His sixth studio album, Infréquentable came as a highly anticipated one for fans across France. Besides the fact that Bénabar has a name and reputation to deliver just what the French want to hear, his album was highly anticipated because he changed his writing style drastically. Bénabar was accustomed to writing on the piano, but decided to go the guitar route, with press releases stating (before the release of the album) that the result was more of a pop sound, more upbeat from his previous releases. In listening to a few songs on the album (clips are readily available all over the internet, do take a little looksie!), the end result is definitely a more bouncy traditional sound, heavily clad in catchy lyrics.
At the top of the charts (well, at the very top last week anyways, thanks to the phenomenon of Black Ice), Bénabar stands for what France emphasizes, and what some should look at and learn from. In a world where globalization is rapidly causing the meshing of cultures and in some cases the fading of once apparent cultural norms and values, France continues to stress the importance of its own culture by supporting artists like Bénabar, who creates music in the traditional French fashion, the genre that originates from them alone. The country isn’t stuck in their ways though, because they too support internationally renowned acts like AC/DC. The High School Musical soundtrack is even at number 10 on their charts this week – ok maybe that’s just scary, never mind that. Regardless, France has impressively been able to preserve their own culture while being able to appreciate and support others.
Bénabar’s Infréquentable gives a new and reversed definition to the word “infréquentable” for us Americans, by representing an artist and preservation of culture that is by far respectable and appealing.
Try to use infréquentable in a sentence today (I dare you), and take a look at Sweden’s top charts next week!

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