Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg: Je T’aime… Moi, Non Plus

Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
Je T’aime… Moi, Non Plus
(Light In the Attic Records)

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Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus, from Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg opens with the title track which is quite possibly, the dirtiest, but most popular European tune of the late ‘60s, and a song that composer/singer/filmmaker/agent provocateur Serge Gainsbourg first wrote for and recorded with Brigitte Bardot.

Featuring Gainsbourg’s weird talk-singing vocals, and his then-girlfriend, Jane Birkin’s, aspirated chirps and breathing, we are led from the title track into “L’Anamour,” a funky, electric guitar tune. “Orang-Outang” is a complete throwaway, despite a great wah-wah’d guitar, but “18-39” fares better where Birkin’s vocals actually sound okay fronting plunky piano and wood block percussion. “69 Année Erotique” is the best mix of the lovers, and “Elisa” is an old-fashioned orchestral chanson, that sees Gainsbourg at his sexiest. “Le Canari est sur le Balcon” makes the best use of Birkin’s weak falsetto and “Manon” features Gainsbourg singing tragically over horns and strings.

Gainsbourg’s new version of “Les Sucettes” is featured on the album as well. This song was originally recorded by 18-year-old France Gall, who claimed she had no idea of the true “oral” subject matter of this song about a girl who likes aniseed-flavored lollipops. Although this originally is quite good, Gainsbourg’s versions fairs just as well.

Arthur Greenslade should be noted for the arrangements on Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg. This re-release from Light In The Attic Records includes brand new linear notes, French/English lyrics and an interview with Jane Birkin.

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