Comme un boomerang dans ta face

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"Le garçon qui a le don d'invisibilité"
C’est d√©cid√©, il faut que j’intervienne. Bullshit police √† l’attaque ! Je viens √† l’instant de recevoir la newsletter de Mercury pour la promo de From Gainsbourg to Lulu, hommage du lardon au daron (on est loin de l’album dit ¬ę¬†de la maturit√©¬†¬Ľ), qui commence par ¬ę¬†On avait quitt√© Lulu, fils et dernier enfant de Serge en 1988, √† 2 ans, lorsqu‚Äôil avait rejoint son p√®re sur la sc√®ne du Z√©nith de Paris…¬ę¬†. H√© bien non, les gars, d√©sol√©, vous nous prenez une fois de plus pour des truffes.
Si ce disque est bel et bien le premier album du dernier rejeton du grand Serge, le ¬ę¬†p’tit Lulu¬†¬Ľ a commenc√© sa carri√®re discographique en 2001, lorsqu’on c√©l√©brait les dix ans de la mort de Gainsbourg. Alors adolescent, il avait sorti un duo enregistr√© avec sa m√®re Bambou, une reprise (d√©j√†) de Ne dis rien, cr√©√© en 1967 par Anna Karina et Jean-Claude Brialy.
√áa lui avait valu un peu de presse, ses premi√®res s√©ances photos, tandis que la douairi√®re de Gainsbarre squattait les plateaux t√©l√© pour dire du bien du d√©funt et faire √©cran devant le fiston. Trop timide, trop embarrass√© par la l√©gende parternelle, trop √† l’√©tranger (il √©tudiait la musique aux USA, si je me souviens bien)… C’√©tait touchant, Ňďdipien et vaguement sulfureux, mais oubliable. D’ailleurs, tout le monde a oubli√©.
Ce n’est pas la premi√®re fois que la promo autour des c√©l√©brations gainsbourgeoises s’emp√™tre dans une r√©√©criture ignare et foireuse de l’histoire : d√©but 2011, au moment de la r√©√©dition d’une int√©grale de plus en plus int√©grale, on nous avait fait croire √† un in√©dit inou√Į, Comme un boomerang, chanson √©crite en 1975 pour la participation de Dani √† l’Eurovision, rendue c√©l√®bre en 2001 (anniversaire toujours) gr√Ęce au duo enregistr√© avec Etienne Daho. Sauf que le titre se trouvait d√©j√† sur le CD bonus de l’int√©grale paru en 2001 (sur lequel on trouvait aussi La noy√©e, qui sera repris quelques ann√©es plus tard par Carla qui n’√©tait alors que Bruni, √† grand renfort d’annonces trompeuses, pompeuses et pompi√®res)…
Tout √ßa pour faire la promo d’un √©ni√®me disque modasse de reprises mouligasses, sur lequel le fils √† papa r√©ussit l’exploit de chanter avec moins de coffre que Jane, Charlotte et Bambou r√©unies (et pourtant, je les aime, surtout la premi√®re), avec un tracklist qui n√©glige les presque 500 chansons pour retenir les sempiternels ¬ę¬†jolis¬†¬Ľ tubes sur des arrangements tartignoles, et qui se fourvoie dans le people le plus neuneu (Scarlett Johansson, Ayo, M√©lanie Thierry, sans parler du duo Vanessa Paradis / Johnny Depp sur la Ballade de Melody Nelson).
Justement, pour rouvrir le dossier Melody, on continue en anglais…

Dead Man 1 vs. Dead Man 2, who’s the toughest, who’s the bravest, who’s the most scandalous, who’s the one you’d rather revive? Funny how two posthumous projects involving chanson fran√ßaise legends have come out the same week. Or maybe it’s not funny, it’s just business: Serge Gainsbourg died 20 years ago, so the marketing has been intense.
On the left, we have the deluxe reissue of L’histoire de Melody Nelson, which has already been deluxe-reissued a couple of times. Whatever, this year, it comes with a great bonus: the Melody Nelson sessions. Alternate takes, instrumental versions (on En Melody, the unedited electric violin solo by Jean-Luc Ponty¬†is quite something), rejected lyrics, even a unreleased track, Melody lit Babar. (This song is actually not 100% new to aficionados, since an instrumental adaptation for a Martini commercial was already featured on the bonus CD from the 2001 ¬ę¬†complete works¬†¬Ľ boxset.) It is great to hear this masterpiece in the making, with Serge Gainsbourg’s instructions to the studio engineer for example. And it reminds of how brilliant this album was, back in 1971.
On the right, we have L’homme √† t√™te de chou covered by Alain Bashung, after the 1976 Serge Gainsbourg concept album. Originally recorded as Jean-Claude Gallotta’s ballet soundtrack. I guess it was at first used during the rehearsals, as Bashung was supposed to perform his vocal parts on stage. But his solo works and his health condition prevented him from doing so, before his passing away in 2009. The show was a great success and its music caused much discussion, acclaim and wonder. Universal, record company and publisher for both artists, couldn’t miss the opportunity of milking these two defunct superstars, so the 2006 tapes have finally found their way to digital and CD retailers for the macabre celebration.
Last year, I saw the show and was enthralled by the dance rendition of this noirish love story / crime of passion. Not being a fan of Bashung, I turned out to be also quite seduced by the adaptation: though very faithful to the original, it sounds sometimes like an imitation, sometimes like a softer, muffled version of Gainsbourg’s ¬ę¬†cabbage-headed man¬†¬Ľ. Now that the album has been officially released and that the memory of the performance has started to vanish, I perceive that some records by Gainsbourg are not intended for anyone else. L’homme √† t√™te de chou is one of them, despite the overwhelming promotion and the beautiful Variations sur Marilou video. Who knows if Gainsbourg would have enjoyed the contemporary jazz fusion textures and light electronic interventions?
In 1982, they had collaborated on Bashung’s Play Blessures,
which helped the rocker’s popularity. But the album hasn’t aged well
and isn’t, to my ears, a proof of their artistic propiquinty. They had in common an iconic status, a poetry of their own, booze and chicks, nevertheless, their
music never touched the same audiences. Gainsbourg made it to the top list of
international pop wizards and influencers, Bashung ¬ę¬†only¬†¬Ľ saved French rock. Good for him, but not good enough.
Dead Man 1 wins!

Serge Gainsbourg – L’amour √† la papa

Et là-bas, écris-moi, dis-moi, dis-moi
Si on fait l’amour √† la papa


Serge Gainsbourg

(picture taken from All Pictures Media)