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 Review: Fred Fortin, 'Le Plancher des Vaches'

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Sep 18, 2001
Recently, being an avid listener of world music, I decided to delve into French Canadian music. At the recommendation of a friend, I bought what I was told was an avant-guarde quebecois CD: Le plancher des vaches (the floor of the cows) by Fred Fortin.

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The first cut reveals the care that didn't go into making this album. Before any actual music starts, there are 25 whole seconds of white noise; then a chord, apparently played to make sure the guitar is in tune (luckily enough, it is); then, 30 seconds into the track, finally the song starts. Obviously whoever recorded this album is completely incompetent in the studio-- not only they don't know how to set up a proper noise-free environment (it is evident they used obsolete analog equipment), they forgot to cut out the beginning of the tape with this extraneous noise, and left it on the master! There is no excuse for this. Digital equipment is cheap nowadays, and one can do this in a second! And they should learn to adjust the gain control on the microphones; on several tracks, it is set too high, and the sound is compressed and distorted, especially the voice.

Anyway, Fortin, in this first song, tells us about how bad his life is. His car is broken, his house is falling apart (literally), he's got a glass eye and dentures, he doesn't have a mailbox (I guess the wind blew it away). This, of course, explains why he's putting out an album-- the guy obviously needs the money. But he also tells some more unsavory things; a line in the song describes how he masturbates at the same rhythm as his bed (Je me branle au même temps que mon vieux lit [I took the liberty to correct the spelling from the booklet]). I'm sorry, but I really don't want to hear about his private perversions, nor do I understand what the hell he means by that, given that beds don't masturbate, as far as I know (of course, I don't go to degenerate "sex shops," so I don't know if such a perversion has been invented). Also, he sings Je prie [au] Bon Dieu qu'il se ferme la bouche [again, I correct his barbarous French], "I pray to the good God that He shut up His mouth." Notwithstanding the general offensive tone of the song, this blasphemous line is going too far. But much worse is to come.

In the second track, "Canayens," Fortin essentially tells a lot of lies. He sings that he is a hockey player for the Canadiens (Quebec City's hockey team). I checked their roster on the web, however, and they don't show a Frederic Fortin as being with them. Apart from this, the track is about such things as his wife (does he really have a wife? another lie?) asking him for money to get breast implants.

You will all have to excuse me for this aside, but if French Canadians want to escape the stereotypes that they suffer from in the rest of Canada (that of sex-obsessed hockey freaks), they better not write songs that manage to combine the topics of hockey and breast implants.

The third song, "La marche à Léo," makes no sense. It is some sort of rant about women, Elvis, his dog Léo and chocolate cake. In the song Fortin offers his soul (and his dog's) to Satan, continuing the worrysome blasphemous pattern from track 1.

Track 4, "Monsieur Net", is about his relationship with his supposed wife. He somehow tries to disparage her by describing her as a clean and proper person, while somehow elevating himself by his self-presentation as an offensive, dirty, bad-speaking shop clerk from the backwoods (wasn't he a hockey player in Quebec City 2 tracks ago? He contradicts himself), as if that were a virtue. I am truly sorry for his wife.

Track 5, "Gaspard", is truly disgusting. The words vividly describe the defecatory difficulties of a starving abandoned cat. Its owners turn out to have murdered their landlord and taken off. The cat finds the corpse and decides to eat it. Truly the work of a sick mind who revels in shit and repressed cannibalistic fantasies.

While the previous track nearly made me vomit, it also made me think that this vile record could not get worse. But it did. It got much worse. Track 6, "Bandé dedans mon lit" ("On my bed with an erection") was frankly too much. The author describes a dream of his where he was in the verge of deflowering the Virgin Mary. He blasphemously describes as having un cul si jolie, surtout si on le regarde de pres / ma langue a bien envie de lui montrer un peu de respect ("a really pretty ass, especially if one looks at it from close / my tounge really desires to give it some respect.") This was too much. I removed the CD from the player and burned it in my backyard. I didn't just throw it on the garbage because some innocent soul might come upon it and be infected by the evil within.

Thus I must say that I now have a very bad opinion of French Canadian music. It is antichristian, vulgar and blasphemous, badly recorded and incredibly sick. It is really a barometer of how low quebecois society has fallen that such things can be recorded, or even though of, there. I can't imagine how depraved the current generation of French-Canadian youths will end up from hearing such things on the radio.


CRISSE!!! (5.00 / 3) (#3)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 01:08:59 PM PST
Tu n'as absolument aucune idée de toutes les stupidités que tu écris à propos de Fred Fortin. sache que mon français est excellent: je peux t'assurer que tes traductions de son «barbared franch» sont complètement nulles et agrammaticales. Ça sa veut dire qu'elles sont pourries! Tu parles de blasphèmes! C'est des chansons merde! Ben non, c'est pas un joueur de hockey épais! C'est une CHANSON! C'est FICTIF! C'est pas la RÉALITÉ! You know what I mean ti-casque? Franchement, c'est toi qui reproduis le stéréotype de l'anglais borné. Et puis met donc tes principes religieux de côté quand t'écoutes de la musique: Karl Marx a dit que la religion est l'opium du peuple, et à voir à quel point tu es borné par tes préjugés, je pense que t'es vraiment intoxiqué. Làche pas l'addict.

Translation (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 01:19:01 PM PST
I realized that not everybody reads French in this board, so I translate my message:

Your nosy absolute augurious idea of all the stupids that write songs for Fred Fortin know that no french is excellent: I can assure you that tea translations of his barbarous french is completely null and agrammatical. Really, they are rotten. It is blasphemy! Those songs! No, it's not a stupid hockey player! It's a SONG! It's FICTION! It's a step the REALITY! T'sais-tu c'que j'veux dzire little head? Frankly, it's you that reproduces the born english people. And keep your religious principles by your side when you listen to music: Karl Marz said that religion is the opium of the people, and let's see how high we can get, I like getting intoxicated. Addict forever!

Euh.. (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 03:14:52 PM PST
Va te faire foutre, s-v-p. Le francais et un
langue pour les homosexuelles avec un tas de
complexes; votre langue est un incorporation
verbal de femininite. C'est pourqoui les francais
ont continuallement battu dans tous les guerres
a quelles ils participaient. Je deteste votre
langue, et je deteste les francophones. Tuez
vous-meme, s-v-p. Vous ne meritez pas de vivre.

Terrorist (0.50 / 2) (#17)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 12:14:19 AM PST
Un Français qui te dit bravo pour l'argumentation.
Tu dois être ou un Américain ou un paysan de la campagne Anglaise.
Te rappelles tu de la guerre en 2000 entre les supporters PArisiens et Turques et la branlée qu'ont leur a mis?
Tribute to Leeds fans




What make to you your french teacher? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 05:04:50 AM PST
Le francais et un
langue pour les homosexuelles

Le Fran<b>ç</b>ais e<b>s</b>t un<b>e</b> langue pour les homosexuel

===========> So for the American, as the main part of the gay lives in USA (George Michael, Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson,)

avec un tas de
complexes; votre langue est un incorporation
verbal de femininite

==========> That is sure that English is the easiest language in the world. A few like the monkey language, especially in USA, where all English words has disappeared except 4 :
3- Bless
4 America

vous-meme, s-v-p. Vous ne meritez pas de vivre

======> You mean "suicidez vous". Why we don't deserve to live? I think because we are different of you. We know that, like the nazis, you want a world where everybody would blond with blue eyes, speaking english, and making blow job to your presidents

Français excellent (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 03:50:27 PM PST
Since you're clearly a native speaker, I think it's time to whip out my grammar nazi hat and show you how you've mutilated your own language.

Ça sa veut dire qu'elles sont pourries!

The word "sa" can only be used as a possessive article, as in "sa pomme". Here you are using it as a noun. The beginning of the sentence should be: "Ça, ça veut dire".

le stéréotype de l'anglais borné

Since "anglais" here represents a speaker of the language, it should be capitalized: i.e. "Anglais".

Et puis met donc

The 2nd-person imperative of the verb "mettre" is "mets", not "met".

Làche pas l'addict.

Simple spelling mistake here; it should be "Lâche".

And I won't even get into your barbaric omission of "ne" before "pas". Some "excellent" French that was. If you're going to show off your mastery of a language, at least do it right.

You suck. (none / 0) (#13)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 09:39:10 PM PST
You must have learned your French from a
highschool teacher.

Babelfish (none / 0) (#22)
by Nobody on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 09:55:38 AM PST
He probably put a load of English text into to make it look like he was French. :-)

Having said that, there are plenty of English errors on this board...

ahem (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Sep 21st, 2001 at 07:32:53 AM PST
>>le stéréotype de l'anglais borné

> Since "anglais" here represents a speaker of the language, it should be capitalized: i.e. "Anglais".

Non, ça ce n'est pas vrai en français. Les catégories de populations, comme anglais, français, suisse, ... ne prennent pas de majuscule.

Un Français avec toi, les Quebecoué :-) (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 12:09:13 AM PST
Je pense plutôt qu'il répond à un stéréotype Americain plus que Britannique.
En effet, les Anglais connaissent certainement plus la valeur de la chanson, comme le démontre les paroles de Damon µAlbarn (BLUR, GORRILLAZ) qui était bien anti US.
Et que dire des paroles Américaines "God bless mother nature"-> Dame nature n'existe pas, seul
Dieu existe et il bennit seulement 'America'

Leo is a good name for a dog. (5.00 / 3) (#5)
by elenchos on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 02:28:10 PM PST
Today is the first I've ever considered Leo as a dog's name, but I'm sure right away that I like it. It means "lion", which is cool, although that is not a reason go rush out and get a chow, no matter what you think of Martha Stewart. Chows are just untrustworthy dogs, and everyone knows it. Martha probably pays a team of handlers to keep her's from killing anyone. Or she puts tranquilzers in its food.

Leo is also a male-sounding name, but I would not use that to justify getting a male dog just so you could name it Leo. I'd get a female dog and name her Leo. Why not? Male dogs are fine, but they can be more of a challenge than female dogs. They just have more of a need to try for that Alpha Male role. You constantly have to remind them who's boss. They also tend to mature a little slower, which can make training your puppy all the more frustrating, especially for a first-time dog owner. If you were an only-child, and had issues with patience and self-absorption to begin with, well, then a male dog is going to be an even greater frustration. They are just needier, more hyper and will try you more. You keep teaching them the same things over and over and you're about ready to lose your mind: "Is this stupid dog ever going to have more than a 30 second attention span?!"

Well, sure it will, but you just have to be patient.

With cats, I really think it is a whole other deal. Female cats are just too aloof. Male cats have similar clingyness and needyness to male dogs, but in a cat that becomes an advantage. It's fun to have a cat that follows you around, rather than one that is always off doing it's own thing and really doesn't give a shit about you, except as a food dispenser. Female cats are better hunters too. This can be good if you are trying to keep a population of varmints in check, but it sucks to find the bloody carcaass of a robin or mouse in your bed every day. Male cats are usually too lazy to hunt much, if they are fed by you every day.

With regard to the Canadian issues, I'd say "Sure, get a husky!" If you have big yard for it to run in. And you are in a cool climate. Otherwise, go for something smaller. Perhaps a standard poodle. They are quite intelligent, althogh all that grooming is a lot of work. But if you have the patience, you can do them up as a corded poodle (i.e. dreadlocks!).

The best thing though, is just to get a shorthair mutt. Low maintenance, that's the key. Otherwise you can end up in a typical French-Canadian fiasco, such as in "Gaspard" or "Monsieur Net". Why set yourself up for problems, when life will make enough of for you without you making it worse on yourself? That's what I always say.

I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

Yep, Leo... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by poltroon on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 08:36:28 PM PST
is a great name, especially if it's short for Leopold, and even better if it's short for Leopold Bloom. It's my 'puter's name even.

Martha's main chow is named PawPaw. He's definitely on tranquilizers, with that eerie, psychotic calm about him.

I guess there's no way I could stuff a dog into my life, being away at least 10 hours a day, and not having a yard. I'll just have to settle for visiting your pack :)

While we're being subtly pretentious (4.50 / 2) (#14)
by Peter Johnson on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 10:28:54 PM PST
I'd like to point out that my password here at is %SDaedalus%
Are you adequate?

No it isn't. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 12:05:01 AM PST
Username: Peter Johnson
Password: %SDaedalus%


It doesn't seem to be working for me. What am I doing wrong?

my favorite name... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by poltroon on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 10:17:39 AM PST
could've been Billy.

hahahahah (1.00 / 2) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 02:42:30 PM PST
Well, you are definatly NOT a good "music reporter". All what you wrote is absolutly subjective: from your OWN opinion!
And we don't care about your opinion! We want to read an analyse, not your opinion!

The only thing you said that is true, it's that quebécois make avant-guard music.

We can also see that it's so avant guardist that american people are not ready for that. Sorry , try again!

Go back to school , no, go to WAR dammit!

Hmmm. (none / 0) (#7)
by etherdust on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 02:52:13 PM PST
After listening to a couple tracks available on his Web site, his stuff isn't the worst I've heard. In fact, I'd venture that it's probably better than most of what you'd find on Then again, that doesn't say much for it either.

In an odd sort of way he sounds like a wannabe, modernized Bob Dylan or something.

He need to fire his Web designer as the site was too hard to navigate. However, I like some of the pictures in his portraits section. Obviously he didn't take most, if any, of them. That's a pity because it would indicate he had some sort of fallback career.

That is all.

I'll extrapole to cinema (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 04:08:02 AM PST
If his judgement is like this, I can say that Bruce Willis is a bastard. Indeed, in his films, he said to save America or even the world (cf Armaggedon), but last Tuesday he was not here. And two planes are easier to destroy than one asteroid.
In the same way, Stallone and Schwarzenneger are bastards.

I'm ashamed to live in the USA where I read stuff like this.


The reason (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 03:15:20 PM PST
It's well-known up here that 99% of Quebec music sucks. Why? Blame the Quebec government! In one of their many laws designed to "preserve Quebec culture", they force all music radio stations to dedicate something like 60% of their airtime to Quebec music. The problem is that with a population of only 7 million, under normal circumstances there would never be enough music to fill this insane quota, without constantly repeating the same songs.

So the result is thousands of talentless "artists" sprouting up like maggots, who are guaranteed sales by desperate radio stations. All they need to do is strum their guitar while reciting a poem (yes, this is an accurate description of most Quebec "music") and they will get distributed. The rules also remove all incentive for anyone to try to improve their work.

99% of Quebec music sucks??? (1.00 / 1) (#27)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Sep 21st, 2001 at 08:47:05 AM PST
What are you talking about? 99% of Québec music sucks, hahaha pretty funny. This is YOUR opinion. I'm sure you don't know about Quebec good artist such as Groovy Aardvark, Les Cowboys Fringants, Plume Latraverse, Mononc' Serge, Félix Leclerc, Les Vulgaires Machins, etc. Compare to the shit that was made in USA like Eminem, Backstreet Boys, Marylin Manson.

Well I'm not so sure that 99% of Québec music sucks. Yes it sucks when you talk about Céline Dion and Lara Fabian and the government has nothing to do with the sales of an artist. If the people doesn't like the music played on radio, they won't buy that kind of shit.

Don't you know? (none / 0) (#32)
by Duke Machesne on Thu Oct 4th, 2001 at 09:49:28 AM PST
People will buy whatever is played on the radio. People like blood-sausage. People are morons.

once you've remembered, you'll never forget

What ? (none / 0) (#30)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 04:58:24 PM PST
It's not 60% it's 80% percent stupid men. Continue to speak just english that just show how you are stupid.

Bad excuse! (none / 0) (#31)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Oct 4th, 2001 at 09:27:36 AM PST
Hey! Sweden has 8 million inhabitants, and we've got the third largest music export in the world. Suck on that.

Amazon's recommendations (none / 0) (#10)
by Peter Langhaut on Tue Sep 18th, 2001 at 03:24:38 PM PST
When I checked the album on your review, Amazon's recommendation said that "Users who bought this album also bought this other cd".

Probably also worth listening.

Fred Fortin (none / 0) (#29)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 26th, 2001 at 03:27:24 AM PST
Using Amazon search came up with this lot,

Which, I think says it all.

#ahem# (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by jsm on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 12:22:19 AM PST
Could some kind soul give me one single reason why I should not delete every single French language post from this thread?

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

Parce que... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by jin wicked on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 01:03:11 AM PST
Ils m'ont fait rire. :)

"Ars longa, vita brevis...Art is long, life is short."

Interesting. (0.00 / 2) (#23)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 19th, 2001 at 09:55:54 AM PST
It is interesting that this person must be a "christian" to be dumb enough to call things in this CD as "blastphamy". Which is a total lie. Too bad the "author" of this article does not know much about religion, or he or she (if a woman was dumb enough to write this article) would have put a foot in their mouth. But then again, this site is supposidly "news" for "grown-ups", when all it is just articles full of lies, authored by many people. interesting, this is another pathetic article under this person's belt.

The worst music review ever (1.00 / 1) (#28)
by Ian Bicking on Mon Sep 24th, 2001 at 10:19:11 AM PST
I swear, this is the most square music review I have ever read. Really, in my entire life. Had this been twenty-five year ago, this guy would have been working on his ten-year rant against those damn hippies with their long hair and lyrics you can't understand ("and even when you do, you'll wish you hadn't").

Really, I think I'll show this review to other people, because it's really impressively bad. But to say why every point made is dumb:

  • The white noise was there on purpose, I am sure. Maybe it's just a bit pretentious -- kind of a fake rawness -- but it's not a mistake.
  • The concern with grammar is trivial. No one who has any appreciation for music should be concerned with grammar. Were you able to understand it? Was it meant to be understood? That's all that matters. I don't really know the theory behind French grammar, but I'd laugh at you if this was about English. Language is what people use, grammar is what snooty people use to put others down.
  • I'm sure you don't go to degenerate "sex shops." That you bring them up makes me giggle, honestly. You seem to be actively building up your squareness. When he's talking about masturbating in time with the bed, he means the natural rhythm of the bed. You know how when you rock on the bed, it'll shake at a certain frequency? Move your hand at the same speed, and maybe you'll be able to figure out what he's talking about. Maybe it would help loosen you up.
  • You can't lie in a song! It might be slightly misleading if he said in his song, "I, Fred Fortin, do hereby declare that I really truly was a hockey player, and this is a true song." But I don't expect he said that. If he doesn't, you should assume that the song is fiction, like 95%+ of all songs that are written, and even if he did say it, it's still probably fiction.
  • The "lie" comment made it clear you have no concept of poetry, narrative, commentary, or satire. You seem to think this album was a resume, and you have correctly noted several inconsistencies and gaps. But it's not a resume.
  • Fred Fortin has no responsibility to fight stereotypes of Quebecois. In fact, I imagine the lyrics were composed in light of those stereotypes.
If this metareview seems to be insulting, well, read your own review -- you are asking for it. If you payed much attention to American music I imagine you'd be able to make most of the same criticisms -- and you'd still be square. Subterranian Homesick Blues doesn't make much sense, but I like it. Nine Inch Nails is pretty blasphemous, but hell, it's art, and I like it. Right now I'm listening to a blues song about some guy killing his cheating lover. It's sung in the first person, but I don't think the singer is a murderer.

Maybe you need to stick to traditional Andean panpipe music. That won't be to challenging to your narrow views of what music should be.

Unless this review was in fact a troll, in which case: well done, bravo! And egg on my face.


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