France Gall

France Gall, Vol. 2: Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son

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The best installment of this four-volume series of Gall's '60s Polydor recordings features mostly her 1965 work, though there are four tracks from 1964 and one from 1966. Her material became better, more mature, and more consistent (though not by a huge margin) than her earlier stuff. This has some of her best songs, particularly the hip Europop-jazz fusion "Le Coeur Qui Jazze" (with one of her best vocals). Almost half of this is on the Poupee de Son best-of, yet the remainder is generally pretty good, and in some cases better than some of the tracks picked for that greatest hits compilation. In particular, "On Se Ressemble Toi et Moi" is a melancholy, melodic pop-rock ballad with horn and strings that stands up to the best mid-'60s Bacharach-David tunes, while "Le Temps de La Rentree" is an unusual, jerky-tempoed, minor-key cut blending harpsichords and driving guitar, and rates as Gall's best rock number. These two tracks demand a place on any responsible anthology of Gall's top work, and there are some other pretty good songs not found on the hit compilation as well, like the merry "Deux Oiseaux" (another of Gall's cool jazz-pop concoctions), "Mon Bateau de Nuit," and "Nounours," the last two of which have alluringly sad and tuneful melodies.

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