Jane has brought out the very best in her men (and women).
Nick Reynolds 2004-05-04
Jane Birkin has impeccable taste. She may not have the greatest voice in the world but this collection of duets in French and English is refreshing, intriguing and classy.
Most of Rendez-Vous is original songs specially written for Jane by various collaborators. The French songs are adult, sophisticated and clever. They make me wish I had paid more attention in French lessons at school. Is Jane really singing 'I don't give a shit' on the breezy opening track ''Je M'Appelle Jane'', written for her by up and coming talent Mickey 3D? ''T'as Pas Le Droit D'Avoir Moins Mal Que Moi'' with Alain Chamfort oozes Gallic charm. And things get a bit steamy on ''Pour Un Flirt Avec Toi'' -a duet with Miossec. Musical backing is kept low key with touches of strings, brass and brooding electronica, never overshadowing Jane's fragile but emotive vocals. The spotlight is firmly on the high quality of the songs.
Jane duets with Bryan Ferry on his classic of erotic horror ''In Every Dream Home A Heartache''. This is a very brave move but succeeds brilliantly. Jane's presence gives the song a compelling, weird new spin: Ferry's blow up doll comes to life. Brian Maloko of Placebo contributes the cynical, sleazy ''Smile''. ''Strange Melody'' written by Beth Gibbons of Portishead and sung by Jane alone is a stunning, disturbing look at the strange places love can take you. Jane may be known in the UK as a pop sex kitten but she delivers these songs with depth and intelligence. You can't imagine Kylie or even JLo attempting this material, let alone making it work so well.
Rendez-Vous, as its title implies, feels a bit like a series of dates with different men. And dating can be a perilous business. It's hell out there, and all of the good ones are taken. But Jane has brought out the very best in her men (and women). The result is the most original and enjoyable album I've heard in a long time.