“C’est La Vie” by Robbie Nevil (1986)

Let’s learn some French! And let’s also all celebrate the shitty things in life that we can’t do a damn thing about.

Robbie Nevil (who is definitely not one of the Neville Brothers) comes from the same “holy shit, he’s White?” thought process that shocked me after finding out the racial identities of Rick Astley, New Kids on the Block, Color Me Badd and…*shudder*…Vanilla Ice. More on that last one when we get to the “I”s.

“C’est La Vie” is a squiggly little funk/pop jam that peaked at #2 on the pop chart in early ‘87. I have no record of an R&B chart placing, which is super weird. I wasn’t allowed to listen to Top 40 radio at that point, so my exposure to “C’est La Vie” would’ve been through the portals of urban radio. And I heard it a lot. The 12” version bangs, too.

So much ear candy here: the scream at the end of the second verse (shades of “Love Rollercoaster”), the sassy femme vocals, and Nevil’s nasty vocal breakdown in the third verse, in which he discusses poor JJ and that damn stalled car. Robbie’s not a one-hit wonder-he actually hit the top 40 five times! But this is really the only song of his you need to be familiar with.

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