A long time ago, while expanding my cultural horizons and getting to know a distant branch of my family, I spent a good portion of the summer in the nation of France. It had the works: sight-seeing, landmarks, historical places, family gatherings, camping, Eurorail, and of course shopping and souvenirs. An excellent summer well spent. And it was made more excellent by a handful of hard-to-find musical acquisitions I made while perusing various stores and malls.
One such find, I believe I picked up at the Virgin megastore on the Champs-Élysée or maybe FNAC, was a CD single by The Presidents of the United States of America, that quirky alt-rock-punk-pop band who emerged from the collapse of Seattle’s grunge scene. PUSA was near the peak of its success that summer and the band was a favorite of mine for a time.
Thus I was quite intrigued when I discovered this cardboard sleeve CD single while browsing the stacks. In French, the title read Ça Plane Pour Moi and the artist, to my surprise, was The Presidents. The song was certainly not a single release from the band’s debut album, with which I was already familiar. It was a baffling mystery, but as a third year student of the French language, I was quite attracted to this French language song.
Plus, I’ve always had a fascination with CD singles. There’s something about the combination of low price and rare songs that I, as a collector, can’t resist.
So, putting it all together:
- Rare music
- CD single
- A then-favorite band
- Being able to forever say “I bought this in France”
You bet it was a no brainer. I snapped it up faster than you can say Tout de Suite.
Ça Plane Pour Moi roughly means “This life for me.” There’s no direct translation of the phrase but it is an expression of detached contentment with one’s existence, possibly with ironic undertones. The particular recording is a cover of the 1977 hit by Plastic Bertrand, though The Presidents perform it in more of a happy-go-lucky surf punk style. The lyrics are chock-full of French slang that don’t make any literal sense, but if you have to delve into it, try this analysis.[audio:070514CaPlanePourMoi.mp3]
For a long time, this song was a rarity, so rare that the disc doesn’t appear on either AllMusic’s PUSA discography or Discogs.com’s listing. Amazon has it for $20+, but fortunately for you guys, iTunes offers it for just 99¢.