Model, actress, yé-yé chanteuse, icon, heroin addict. So reads the life of Danièle Ciarlet, better known to the public as Zouzou.

I came to know her through her linkage to french yé-yé pop music as she was continually cited as one of the most prominent female figures of the time and so, as soon as I got the chance to get my hands on this anthology on your left, I wasted no time in finding out if the references were valid. First impressions are generally very good, with Zouzou sounding like a cross between Nico and Françoise Hardy without the existentialism or faux-nihilism of either one. Zouzou is much more straighforward in her delivery and on the messages she puts across with the lyrics. Mind, that's not to say that she can be quickly dismissed as vapid or vague. No. She is definitely not an airhead and her work as an actress is a testimony of that, what with her role in Éric Rohmer's Love in the Afternoon and all. It's just that her music is not as heavy or deep as her contemporaries. But sometimes that's just what you need in life.

As a last note, I should say that I find Zouzou's songs much edgier sounding than France Gall's, for instance. As an example, take a listen to Il Est Parti Comme Il Est Venu.

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