Monday, March 10, 2008

Two-Fer-Tuesday: Vive La France (à New York, bien sur)

You still there?

OK, so you weren't scared away by Sunday's exploration of Disney magic.

Now, here's something that will really scare you off. It's a trifecta of sorts. I'm combining Mondo Monday with Two-Fer-Tuesday while tying into the theme of Wednesday's radio show.

The theme will be songs about New York, my hometown.

So yes, here we have a couple of songs about New York.

Only they're not sung by New Yorkers. Or even Americans.

Mais les musiciens français.

Nothing like a foreigner's perspective on the Big Apple, eh?

Especially Serge Gainsbourg, the famous singer of the 50s and 60s who hit it big worldwide with "Je t'aime moi non plus," his breathy duet with Jane Birkin that drew condemnation from the Vatican thanks to its simulated orgasm sounds.

In 1964, he came out with an album called Gainsbourg Percussions that basically consisted of Gainsbourg singing in front of a backdrop that included African-Caribbean percussion and female backing singers.

And that's about it.

It included this song. The less said about it, the better.

Play "New York USA" by Serge Gainsbourg

Yes, when I go back to New York, I can't wait to see "International Building," "Bank of Manhattan" and "American Hotel."

OK, I'll pull back the sarcasm a little bit and be kinder to our second guests, Téléphone.

I really like their fourth album Dure Limite (1982), which had a fairly stripped down punk rock sound, thanks to legendary producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed). One of the songs from that album, "Ça (c'est vraiment toi)," actually got some airplay in America on MTV.

The band's follow-up effort (and final studio release), Un Autre Monde (1984), sounded a lot slicker and didn't have songs that were as strong as its predecessor. Plus, it included this attempt to cross the Atlantic by dreaming about a future trip to New York City with a loved one.

Play "New York Avec Toi" by Telephone

Basically, there ain't much to the song except for a few throwaway lines about rats and lyrics like this: "Dans les clubs il fait noir/ mais il ne fait pas froid" (In the clubs, it is dark/But it is not cold")

Didn't you guys ever play at CBGBs?

Non? Bien fait.

Next week: Some Texans sing about Rome.

We'll see if I'm kidding.

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