A while ago I looked back at some of the groups that were part of the French dance music scene around the late-90s/early-2000s (including Bel Amour and Stardust, who both only had one hit single, but they were rather great). I thought that I would review this group too, even though, like the others, they were ultimately overshadowed by the huge success of Daft Punk.
Air (sometimes credited as “Air: French Band”, in case you were in any doubt), were a duo consisting of Jean-Benoit and Nicolas (who according to the book that I have was born in “169”, meaning that he must’ve been about 1,850 years old when he made these songs, which is rather impressive). They actually released their first single in the UK as early as 1995.
But their first and biggest hit single in this country came in February 1998 (it was a surprise to discover that they’ve never had a Top 40 hit single in their native France, or in the US either). “Sexy Boy” definitely caught the attention of a lot of people, and reached no. 13. This also increased the interest in their debut album “Moon Safari”, which spent a long time on the chart.
Next in May 1998 was “Kelly Watch The Stars”, which was supposedly a tribute to a cast member of Charlie’s Angels, and also had a rather odd table tennis-themed video (they could become known for their quirky videos). They finished off a successful year when in November 1998 “All I Need” reached no. 29. This was rather dreamy, and I remember that this also soundtracked several trails on MTV around this time.
After a break in 1999, they returned in February 2000 when “Playground Love” reached no. 25. This featured an uncredited vocal from Gordon Tracks, but I don’t know why, because it’s Gordon Tracks, the very famous singer, isn’t he?!! Next in January 2001 was “Radio #1”. Again, this had a rather odd video, and was continuing proof that they were offering something rather different to what else was on the chart.
This reached no. 31, to become their fifth and final Top 40 hit single in the UK. Finally, in August 2004, “Alpha Beta Gaga” reached no. 44. They haven’t made the UK singles chart since, but they continue to be in demand as remixers, and they have had nine hit albums. And unlike their fellow countrymen, they haven’t turned into robots, although some of the people who have been in their videos might’ve.