Ye Ye is a movement of music that can pretty much be summed up as European mod pop, but don't let the poppy beats and doe-eyes ingenues fool you. These girls and boys are breaking all the rules of thier time. I like Ye Ye music on a visceral level. It is delightfully campy from my 90's-era perspective and has a European flair that makes it its own.
and did I mention the fashion?
I could go all places about the style and the music, but I'll get on with the names.
Here are the names of some promenant singers in the Ye Ye genre:
France: France Gall is my favorite of the singers. She embodies the childish whimsy of the movement with a pleasing sound that seduces you in the most innocent way possible. Her glorious anthem against players, Laisse tomber les filles, was the first song to pull me into learning about this movement. Her more popular song, Poupée de cire, poupée de son, is more well known (especially if you are from Japan, where Shibuya Kei style bands have loved the movement as much as I do). Name wise...France isn't cutting it. It sounds more like the name of a doll, which many of the Ye Ye girls tend to look like, but nobody wants to be a doll in real life.
Françoise: This is how you do France. While this name is difficult to write with an American typewriter, it has a coolness that transcends barriers. Speaking of cool, Françoise Hardy. She was the quintisential "cool girl" of the Ye Ye group, seen more in leather coats and mens shirts than mini skirts. All of her songs have a grown-up meloncholy that made her beyond just a pop singer. She's still out there, singing to packed crowd that want a glimpse at timeless cool.
Sylvie: Sylvie Vartan had a very strong voice, but had a more campy image than other girls of her day. Her name has a childish breezyness to it, but also has a certain style that cannot be denied. I loved the name before hearing about Mme. Vartan, and now I love it more.
Sheila: Like Cher, Shiela is a one-name pop star who really took the campy nature of Ye Ye music and set it to 11. As a name, Shiela is a bit past it's prime, but the singer herself is still relevant. She plans to come out with a new album to celebrate 50 years in the music industry.
those are the big name girls of the movement, but there were boys in this club as well. They are few, but they are there nonetheless.
Serge: Serge Gainsbourg, a music icon in his own right, was the man behind a lot of these girls' music, especially (my favorite) France Gall. He wrote the song Les Sucettes, which translates to "Lollypops". This is a song which is so rife with double entendres that he scandelised a young France Gall when she realised what the song was really about. They had a falling out after that, which is a shame, because she really nailed that song and all the other songs he wrote for her. Name-wise, I think it's a name only the french could pull off.
Claude: Claude François is another popular Ye Ye singer of the male persuasion. I am not aquainted with his music, but you can bet I'll be looking into it once I'm done with this post. There are not many noteable guys in the Ye Ye music scene, and I'm okay with that. Claude, like Serge, sounds better with a french accent.
Now, for your viewing pleasure, a few of my favorites from the genre:
The one that started it all for me
And the other one that started it all thanks to Mad Men and Jessica Paré's hit preformance.
And to bring us back to earth, a wonderful song by the impeccable Mme Hardy.
Adeu! Until next time! (Which I hope will be sooner than later.)
Image source un, deux, trois