Various Artists

French Cuts 2: Pop Music Française des Années 60

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OK, at first sight there is something strange about a compilation of '60s French pop hits coming from a German-based record label. But it turns out to be a highly inspired set, perfect for your next theme party or to wash the dishes to. Compiled by Martin Hemmel (aka the Lemon Squeezer), a DJ at the Atomic Café in Munich, this disc presents a delightful blend of well-known songs and more obscure titles of pop ditties and psychedelic/garage anthems. Jacques Dutronc's "Les Cactus" and Françoise Hardy's "Comment Te Dire Adieu" are classics welcome in any such collection (and wisely placed in this track list) and Brigitte Bardot, Claude Nougaro, France Gall, and Serge Gainsbourg remain essential representatives of French pop from that era. But what about Anna Karina's sleazy "Roller Girl," Antoine's defying "Je Dis Ce Que Je Pense et Je Vis Comme Je Veux" (I Say What I Think and I Live as I Wish), and the garage rock of the 5 Gentlemen? They're definitely worth a place here, that's what! Throwing in a couple of vintage novelty Moog dance tracks by Perrey-Kingsley is a nice touch too, but adding tunes from the early 2000s by Phonoboy and Laurent Lombard, besides proving that "the spirit lives on," threatens to throw the album off course. And yet, it all holds together and makes French Cuts 2 one of the funniest French pop collections around.

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