Maryrené — “Je T’appelais Monsieur”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 29, 2023


777) Maryrené — “Je T’appelais Monsieur

Bouncy, infectious ’66 yé-yé by a quite obscure artist. What is yé-yé? Matt Collar explains:

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.

Lest you snicker at my love of yé-yé (see #36, 39, 206, 328, 364, 456, 504, 533), let me throw at ya Véronique Hyland’s article “Why Yé-Yé Girl Style Was Secretly Feminist”:

The flowering of yé-yé, or female-fronted ‘60s French pop, often gets dismissed as fluffy, likely due to its lyrical reliance on lollipops, bubble gum, and dolls. But it’s a more sophisticated style than you might think. Yé-yé draws on the longstanding tradition of French chanson, while adding a sly, flirtatious element. And while they were far from rebels, the singers’ insouciance was, in its way, revolutionary. Françoise Hardy’s “Je changerais d’avis” (“I changed my opinion”) asserts “life is not only about one boy/one face to love,” while [Brigitte] Bardot . . . sings on the saccharine “Bubble Gum” that love has the lifespan of a pack of — well, you know. . . And in “Baby Pop”, France Gall sang to an imagined young girl,You’ll have to get married/perhaps even against your will/On your wedding night/It’ll be too late to regret it. She went on to encourage her to dance and sing while she still had the freedom to. . . . [T]he yé-yé set thumbed their noses at monogamy and commitment. [T]heir free-spirited style — schoolgirl minidresses, slick go-go boots, mod eyeliner — fused elements of childhood with a very adult sensibility. . . . [and their] youthful energy helped create a new, freer female archetype. . . . The yé-yé . . . would epitomize a point in time when social mores were beginning to shift, and when it was clear that women’s roles were long overdue for some shaking up. And if that liberation came with a catchy snare beat, so be it.

And let me throw some Susan Sontag at ya:

[T]he essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. And Camp is esoteric — something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques. . . . Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others. Clothes, furniture, all the elements of visual décor, for instance, make up a large part of Camp. For Camp art is often decorative art, emphasizing texture, sensuous surface, and style at the expense of content. . . . Sometimes whole art forms become saturated with Camp. Classical ballet, opera, movies have seemed so for a long time. In the last two years, popular music (post rock-‘n’-roll, what the French call yé yé) has been annexed.

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