Manhattan Transfer smooth out and slick up Art and Dottie Todd’s song to such a degree that it becomes a pastiche of imagined Frenchness – an accordion, bof alors! – as much as a fifties throwback: what’s sacrificed in the process is vigour as well as (perhaps imagined) innocence. This “Chanson” may make for a good WTF-bomb as a chart-topper, but it’s also as soupy as any of the ballads we’ve sat through. Part of the problem is the vocalising, just on the edge of enjoyably preposterous with its chawn-sawn and its joooo tadoor, but not quite making it. But the “rat-a-ra-ta-ra” hook is the Crazy Frog nim-nim of its day, so points given just for brazen persistence.

Score: 4

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