Sylvie Vartan

Twiste et Chante

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Vartan's second album was hardly an original statement, comprised mostly of French-language covers of then-recent American rock & roll songs like "Twist and Shout," Del Shannon's "So Long Baby," the Cascades' "Rhythm of the Rain," Rick Nelson's "It's Up to You," Gene Vincent's "Say Mama," and compositions by Paul Anka and Gerry Goffin-Carole King. Still, it's a fun relic of early-'60s French fluff, with kitschy early-'60s pseudo-rockin' backing (complete with dated choral backup vocals) and Vartan's spirited girlish singing. A couple of French-written songs, "Les Clous d'Or" and "Deux Enfants," depart from that strategy, and offer fine tuneful orchestrated sentimental period French girl pop in the style of recordings of the era by France Gall and Françoise Hardy (though Hardy's efforts in this mode weren't as lightweight). One number, "(I'm Watching) Every Little Move You Make," is sung in English, and here Vartan actually seems to reach down for a little more guts and fire than usual. Originally issued by RCA in France in 1963, it came out on CD on BMG Japan in the 1990s, though note that the sound quality on the CD suffers in a couple of passages that sound as if it's suddenly passing through damaged tape heads that muffle the clarity.