Liner Note Author: Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe.
Illustrators: Sheila Burgel; Eric Charge; Mick Patrick.
The 2015 Annie Philippe compilation Sensationnel! Yé-Yé Bonbons 1965-1968 brings together a nice cross section of hits from the popular French vocalist at the height of her career. A European reworking of the American phrase "yeah! yeah!," 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. Along with singers like Sheila, Sylvie Vartan, Françoise Hardy, and France Gall, Philippe popularized the yé-yé sound and became one of the decade's poster girls for hip, mod-friendly Euro style and pop culture. While the vocalists themselves were certainly the focus of public interest in yé-yé, the success of the yé-yé sound was due, at least in part, to the behind-the-scenes talent and technical expertise involved in the production and songwriting. Philippe alone worked with a bevy of gifted lyricists and arrangers, including such luminaries as Gilles Thibaut, Jacques Revaux, Paul Mauriat, Jean-Claude Vannier, and Christian Gaubert. Furthermore, no amount of money was spared in a song's production, and subsequently many of Philippe's cuts, including tracks like "C'est la Mode," "Plus Rien," and "Une Petite Croix," 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. Though the popularity of yé-yé began to fizzle by the 1970s, and Philippe scored her final hit in 1967, the genre -- and Philippe's career for that matter -- lived on in the guise of such post-yé-yé movements as '70s disco and '80s new wave. ~ Matt Collar