Lulu Gainsbourg :: From Gainsbourg to Lulu

Sensual, sexual and scintillating, Lulu Gainsbourg’s new album captures something slightly feral, and highly desirious, as I listen. Though much of the album is in French, and despite my lack of understanding of the language, I still find myself transfixed by this album, undeniably drawn to this collection of songs. Lucien “Lulu” Gainsbourg has gathered quite a group of friends together to help him cover some of his favorite songs of his father, Serge Gainsbourg, and the outcome of this endeavor is quite sexy, and breathtakingly beautiful.

I have always had a fondness for French music, a love that caught hold of me when I first saw the film Henry and June, immediately rushing out to buy a copy of the soundtrack. Since then I have cultivated and nurtured my Parisian musical love with albums from Edith Piaf, Jean-Pierre Armengaud, Mark Adler, and of course, Charlotte and Serge Gainsbourg. I had not heard of Lulu’s album until today when I accidentally stumbled upon his duet with Scarlett Johansson, with the song Bonnie and Clyde. At that finding, and listen, I rushed to find the other tracks to spin, and quickly fell into the album entirely.

I was delighted to find this song with Scarlett, whose voice I have loved since I first heard her version of Summertime, and later with her work with a favorite artist of mine, Pete Yorn. But my delight did not stop there, oh no, I was excited to find that this album contains many delicious pairings of Lulu with other favorite artists of mine: Shane MacGowan, Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithful and Rufus Wainwright.

My initial favorite track is Lulu’s duet with Rufus Wainwright, covering the song Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M’en Vais. This song is lush and gorgeous, Rufus’ voice so delicate in this song, soft and fragile in a way I have never heard before from him.

Bonnie and Clyde, the song that led me to the album itself, is also a fast favorite of mine. The sexiest number on the album, it illicits images of dangerous pairings, trysts in cheap hotel rooms and backseats of cars, and shared crimes between two people both drawn and repelled to/from each other. Scarlett and Lulu’s voices blend brilliantly, building at first a tight tension that starts to swing and sway together in a truly hypnotic way. This makes me want to see an updated version of the film, or perhaps just watch the brilliant original with this playing in the background, as I do so love the original film.

This is an must hear album for anyone who loves the music of Serge Gainsbourg, and also for anyone who would love a taste of French music that is both classic and post-modern in its stylings, and sound.

Bonnie & Clyde :: Lulu Gainsbourg & Scarlett Johansson

Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M’en Vais :: Lulu Gainsbourg & Rufus Wainwright

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