Monday, March 21, 2005

I love you...neither do I.

The liner notes to Pop Romantique, a collection of French covers and originals by (mostly) indie popsters, begin with a quote by Djuna Barnes: "There are moments in the lives of all of us, or shall I say some of us, that must be lived in French." So true. There are also many musical moments that only really make sense in French, and a comprehension of the language isn't at all necessary to enjoy them. For example, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg would be pointless and possibly unbearable in another language. In addition to the French geographical and historical references (Paris, the Champs-Elysées, Napoléon and Joséphine, etc.), for a few choice moments, Merritt's lyrics appropriately slide into French: the chorus of "Underwear" and the spoken word section of "Smoke and Mirrors."

For the forementioned Pop Romantique compilation, the Magnetic Fields breezed through "Le Tourbillon," with the magnificent Dudley Klute (formely of Kid Montana) singing lead vocals. This track was originally featured in the French new wave film Jules and Jim in a scene with Jeanne Moreau singing the song, accompanied by Bassiak, for friends in a country shack. Movie buffs will be pleased to know that the film, directed by François Truffaut, will get a Criterion Collection release this May.

The irresistibly and ridiculously steamy "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus" from the perverted mind of Serge Gainsbourg was Stephin's selection for the best recording of 1969. It's really quite a brilliant tune, disguised as a novelty song, with Jane Birkin's unforgettable...uh, well, just listen for yourself. I'm not sure that I can think of a way this song has influenced Stephin directly, but who knows - maybe a future Magnetic Fields track will feature fake orgasmic gasping. We can only hope.

By request, the Wild Stares track is back up for one more week:


Anonymous Liz said...

I've been wanting the Jeanne Moreau version of "Le Tourbillon de la vie" but have been too lazy to go looking for it, so thanks! This has fast become my favorite blog... keep up the good work.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Ernest said...

Thanks! I appreciate the support.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous funtoosh said...

the other night, i saw jules & jim again, after a long time, and heard jeanne moreau sing le tourbillon, which just like almost killed me.
tonight, i caught an italian DJ on college radio from, of all places, iowa playing the magnetic field's version of the song ... wow.
any chance of putting the song up again?
thx for sharing!
cheers from germany:

6:56 PM  
Blogger Ernest said...

"Le Tourbillon" is back up! Enjoy!

11:00 PM  
Anonymous funtoosh said...

thanx loads!
i am just listening to strange fruit, by contrast, so good to hear that again, too.

5:20 AM  

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