12 November 2009

Hooray For the Yé-Yé Girls

This week in euphoric sounds, here are a few songs composed and written by Serge Gainsbourg and performed by 17-year-old ingénue France Gall, one of the notable performers of the campy Yé-Yé movement (a poppy style of music that originated with young, female singers in Europe in the 1960).

The first, "Poupée de cire, Poupée de son" (Wax Doll, Sawdust Doll), won Gall the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest.  I love the hilarious production - Gall singing into the camera with no discernible enthusiasm and barely any movement at all. 

"Laisse Tomber les Filles" is the more recognizable, thanks to its place as the 181st best song of the 1960s according to Pitchfork, and Quentin Tarantino's use of the song in the opening sequence of Death Proof.  

All of the lyrics are so outlandishly coquettish, I wonder why we still made a big deal about Britney Spears' brand of teenage sexuality and innocence over three decades later.  But I suppose that 35-year-old men writing lyrics like "Am I better or worse than a fashion doll?" for 16-year-old girls is always a little creepy.

Sexual mores aside, the songs are really catchy and the clothes are great.  Who wouldn't want to look like a French girl in the 1960s?  If Gall's baby pop is a bit too much, Françoise Hardy is another great Yé-Yé singer of the same time with incredible style and a more subdued, folksy sound.  An influence for Carla Bruni?  It's hard to see how she couldn't be.

Hardy in 1967


Hardy, while filming Grand Prix

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