Serge certainly had enough confidence in his own talents to believe he could subsume any musical ideas old or new and bring them into his own creative domain, and he almost pulls it off. Anyone scoffing clearly has a short memory too. As an in demand backing singer who worked with everyone from David Bowie to Celine Dion, Curtis King Jr was unable to do the promo in France because of other commitments back in the US, so a sinewy, dreadlocked dancer was hired to mime the words as he pirouetted around a flabby and visibly ailing Gainsbourg, a juxtaposition as preposterous as it was awkward.
His inimitable gallicized sprechgesang had become his most recognisable leitmotif, always with a burning Gitanes in hand. Serge would think like a hip hop producer, purloining from the classical greats - and in particular Chopin - throughout his career. And as previously mentioned, sampling African musicians and trying to pass it off as your own oeuvre arguably demonstrates a hip hop sensibility.
Was this in solidarity with homosexuals or just another attempt to shock his audience, or a bit of both? With Serge there are always layers to unpeel. On top of this, he had refined his songwriting to its most articulate — the lyrics were surreal and very tongue in cheek, more so than usual. Then the melodies were all so precise; he recorded his last two records using amazing session musicians, interestingly enough, which seems to be the reason most people are not a fan of his later work.
The word sterile gets tossed about frequently. Sterility was probably necessary to offset the dirty needles in the concept narrative. Partly inspired by his live in lover, Bambou, Serge decided to wage his own war on drugs. As somebody literally on his last legs from alcoholism and copious cigarettes there was talk of his lower legs being amputated before he died of a heart attack , it would be fair to suggest a degree of hypocrisy, though with children of his own, including the then one-year-old Lulu, his concerns were probably genuine.
Gainsbourg might have been a hopeless dipsomaniac bit in he still had the last vestiges of a vanity streak. Suffering from acute neuralgia and living in the groggy hinterland where hangovers and benders become one and the same, Gainsbourg managed to maintain staggering productivity for a man not so much in his autumn years as one being sized up with a tape measure on Boxing Day.
What use is posterity to a dying man? Were he still alive today, he could have written the requiem for the American Dream. Share this article:. If you love what we do, you can help tQ to continue bringing you the best in cultural criticism and new music by joining one of our subscription tiers. As well as the unparalleled joy of keeping the publication alive, you'll receive benefits including exclusive editorial, podcasts, and specially-commissioned music by some of our favourite artists.
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All tracks are written by Serge Gainsbourg , except where noted. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Serge Gainsbourg. New wave funk. Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes. Da Capo Press. ISBN Retrieved 5 May Crown Publishing Group. Bonnie and Clyde. Je t'aime Authority control MBRG : aca0c55d-ee8bddc62cef Categories : albums Serge Gainsbourg albums Philips Records albums.
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