The great Serge Gainsbourg may have penned France Gall’s 1965 Eurovision winner, Poupée De Cire Poupée De Son, but his most lasting legacy where the French pop ingénue was concerned was mortification. Famously, the sly old soak had the 19-year-old Gall unwittingly singing about oral sex in Les Sucettes – and it wasn’t until later, with a bolt of appalling clarity, that she came to understand the sobering implications of “lollipops of love”. Much as we revere Serge here in the shire, we’re also quite clear about the need to restore France Gall’s good name without her having the lollipops of love hanging over her head. So to speak.
Her 60s output, the best of which is compiled herein, is pluperfect music of its kind: so very French and so very pop that it’s sometimes scarcely believable. Could anything this definitive really have existed? Over sumptuous and belting orch-pop arrangements, the coltish Gall breezes through each song with infectious brio. The bright, guileless clang of her often double-tracked voice makes sunspots of Baby Pop, Laisse Tomber Les Filles and Teeny Weenie Boppie – all typical Gainsbourg compositions, super-melodic and laced with covert, cynical wit – while Chanson Indienne, from 1967, deliciously stirs modish play-in-a-day sitar and finger cymbals into the mix.