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Various Artists Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

As an experiment, this is mostly lost in translation.

Adam Webb 2002

A good idea this: a bunch of hip English-speaking artists (including Jarvis Cocker, Placebo and The Rakes) revisit the oeuvre of France's most beloved songwriter and tempt a new generation to his filthy Gallic charms.

It doesn't really work. Serge Gainsbourg had a genius for words, but he wasn't Dylan - perverse peculiar songs like "Ballade De Melody Nelson" and "Je Taime Moi Non Plus" are so indelibly stamped by their maker that reinterpretation is virtually impossible. Particularly when they'recoming out of Brian Molko's mouth.

The more successful attempts replicate the skeletal instrumentation of Jean-Claude Vannier, Gainsbourg's most celebrated composer, or dispose with it completely - taking the sound in a completly differnet direction. In the former camp are Portishead on "Requiem For Anna" and Michael Stipe's "L'Hotel". In the latter, Franz Ferdinand's romp through "Sorry Angel" and "Gonzales", andFeist& Dani's electro annihilation of "Comme Un Boomerang".

For the remainder, you'd do better seeking out the originals (which, in a roundabout way, was probably the point in the first place). As an experiment, this is mostly lost in translation. A case of Merde Gainsbourg, unfortunately.

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