Annie Philippe — “Plus Rien”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 23, 2022

328) Annie Philippe — “Plus Rien”

“Plus Rien,” a ’67 B-side, is another wonderful exercise in yé-yé by Annie Philippe (see #206). It has a soaring melody but bitter lyrics that say good riddance to a lover.

What is yé-yé? —

Yé-yé pop showcased young, cherubic-voiced female singers framed against dance-ready beats and rock & roll hooks in songs often riddled with thinly veiled sexual innuendo. It was bubblegum pop meets softcore porn and it was massively successful in Europe from the late ’50s through the ’60s.

Matt Collar, All Music Guide

Of “Plus Rien,” Matt Collar says in All Music Guide that:

[N]o amount of money was spared in a song’s production, and subsequently many of Philippe’s cuts, including tracks like . . . “Plus Rien[]” . . . are lush productions replete with orchestral flourishes, ripe horn parts, vibrant backing vocals, and, as always, the fertile guitar buzz of an electric rock quartet underpinning it all.

Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide’s master of the putdown and the backhanded compliment, says this of Philippe:

[She was a] secondary French pop-rock singer of the 1960s who had her moments . . . [Her songs were characterized by] consciously over-cute girlish delivery, bouncy tunes, and (perhaps inadvertently) eclectic production, in which Spectorian arrangements, American girl-group influences, smooth mainstream French pop orchestrations, melancholy ballads, groovy jazzy organs, bad Dixielandesque show tunes, and more all swam in the same stream. Philippe was not quite as overtly childish in her vocal style as [France] Gall was. On the other hand, her material was not quite as interesting.

SMOKE!!! But I’m not sure the comments are justified. For me at least, Annie’s best songs — such as “Plus Rien” — reach the absolute pinnacle of yé-yé. Maybe I’m a sucker for bad Dixielandesque show tunes?

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