Serge Gainsbourg contributed some the best songs to come out of France from the late '60s, and though he died 10 years ago, he continues to influence many of today's songwriters, such as Pulp, The Divine Comedy, Momus, Air, Saint Etienne, Suede, and Kahimi Karie.
He led a lifestyle of decadence, glamour, and excess, always linked with beautiful women (for example, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin), many of whom became his musical collaborators.
For this compilation CD, contemporary electronic musicians/DJs remix some of Gainsbourg's most well-known songs. On the whole, it's interesting to hear how the album shifts between styles, exploring areas of dub, deep house, disco-pop, and trip hop.
The original arrangement for Ballade de Melody Nelson was simple: bass, guitar, drums, strings, and the whispering voices of Serge and Jane Birkin. Howie B does a magnificent job of staying relatively true to the original cut. He adds a minimal drumbeat at an appropriate tempo, manipulates some vocal samples, and loops the strings.
In contrast, Krikor & W.A.R.R.I.O.'s interpretation of Love on the Beat comes on like an '80s disco tune but is a lot stronger than the original. You can't help but groove to its fun beats and rhythms, sexy sampled grunts and screams, and Gainsbourg's sophisticated-sounding voice.
On Bonnie and Clyde --one of Gainsbourg's best duets with Bardot--Herbert adds a deep house beat, passes on the strings, but fortunately keeps the infamous, strange hiccups.
Sadly, I can't stand listening to Dzihan & Kamien's take on Gainsbourg's most popular song, Je t'aime.moi, non plus (I love you.neither do I), a duet originally written for Bardot but later re-recorded with Birkin. It's too deconstructed and doesn't carry the original's sexiness and sense of intense intimacy.
Overall, the first half of the album contains the most impressive mixes, but The Orb's take on Requiem pour un c. is definitely worth checking out too.
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