Jane Birkin

Au Palace

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Like Marianne Faithfull, who enacted a similarly unlikely transition from '60s pop girl to modern-day legend (and affected a remarkable change in vocal stylings too), Jane Birkin has never been afraid to push her audience and herself alike, and the concert captured on 2009's live Au Palace finds her in fine form. Older fans will recognize more than a handful of "classic" Birkin numbers here, including "Ford Mustang," "Fuire le Bonheur," and the self-magnifying swing of "Ex Fan des Sixties" (the title track from her 1978 album), although the emphasis is naturally on 2008's Enfants d'Hiver: seven of the 21 songs hail from that set. The remainder are, unsurprisingly, Serge Gainsbourg compositions, but this is no exercise in simple nostalgia. A strong repertoire is given the arrangements it demands, and Birkin has rarely sounded better.

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