Various Artists

France: The Greatest Songs Ever

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The French volume in the Greatest Songs Ever series is a stunner. With 20th and 21st century tunes by the likes of Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf, Gilbert Becoud, Julien Clerc, Charles Aznavour and Henri Salvador, it's tough to argue. Still the absence of immensely popular singers like modern-day chanteuse Patricia Kaas, the great French hero Serge Gainsbourg, or icons like Jacques Brel are puzzling -- unless the licensing department was simply lazy. In the cases of the latter two, they might say that the two men were not born in France (but both literally made careers there), but even then the omission of the French- born Kaas would be unexplainable and inexcusable. Thus, this is imperfect and incomplete, but the songs that are here are wonders unto themselves.

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