Almost every song on
the radio is a love song, and most of them are stories of love gone
wrong. There's just more drama in asking someone to come back, or
something attractively bittersweet in mourning someone who is gone,
or cathartic about telling someone to get lost and put everything
they own in a box to the left. And far from a uniquely American
obsession, or even one in the English-speaking world, a DJ has put
together a mix of Francophone music on the subject—only to realize
that he had so much material that he needed to make a second one.
Amoul Problem volumes one and two are available on DJ Mixanthrope's Soundcloud and embedded right here. Mostly older music, the mixes feature some of the continent's heaviest hitters like Tabu Ley Rochereau, as well as more obscure acts and bands whose profile is rising here in the reissue era, like Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.
Mixanthrope, né Boris Paillard, is a French DJ who is now based in Berlin. He culled the songs from Francophone Africa, but the songs' subject matter proves that the so-called “language of love” also works pretty well as its opposite. As Paillard describes it, the songwriters “share their grief with the whole world: break-ups, adultery, unrequited love, lies, betrayal, domestic violence, all pains are here expressed!”
Even if you don't speak French or any of the Creole languages on the mix, there's plenty to enjoy: Slick, Congolese ruumba guitars, bouncy synths and even rap over drum machines with sung r&b hooks.
Give it a listen! If you find yourself in Berlin and want to hear more curated music from DJ Mixanthrope check out "African Beats & Pieces," a monthly event of vintage & contemporary African music.