France has just announced that it's sending Sébastien Tellier to the Eurovision Song Contest. That, my friends, is earth-shaking news. Apparently Tellier is going to perform "Divine," a song from his latest album, Sexuality.
Two huge things here: First of all, "Divine" (which can you hear streaming here) is performed in English, which is a humongus departure for France, one of the last countries to stubbornly stick to English at the contest. In fact, it may well be the very first time the French entry will be in English.
Second, Tellier is that rare case of a totally odd bird that's also rather commercially successful—meaning he already has both a good critical reputation and a viable commercial career. The fact that France 3, the public-TV channel that runs the contest in France, went for him shows that it fully realized a drastic move was needed to both make the contest meaningful again at home and make a statement about what French music means in 2008.
With Sexuality, which is produced by Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homen Christo (!!!), Tellier said he wanted to make an unabashedly, well, sexual album. (The cover will give you an indication.) The songs I've heard so far are really, really good, mixing a traditional French-pop songwriting approach—Tellier often refers to Gainsbourg and Christophe in interviews—electronics.
So it's clear why France 3 picked him. Why he chose to go is another matter, and I'm curious to see how he rationalizes that decision. My guess: He's nuts (in a good way) and he's going precisely because it's such an unexpected move for him.
11 hours ago