Serge Gainsbourg

Love and the Beat, Vol. 1

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Love and the Beat, Vol. 1 is the first of two retrospective volumes from Mercury and one of the precious few Serge Gainsbourg recordings available in the United States. As a compilation, it's solid. Beginning with "L'Eau à la Bouche" from 1960, it includes many of the late French songwriting legend's greatest tunes, including "La Javanaise," "Comic Strip" (with Brigitte Bardot), "Ford Mustang," "La Décadanse," "69 Anée Érotique" (with Jane Birkin), "Ballad de Melody Nelson," and "Goodbye Emmanuel." The only irritating thing is the inclusion of the Vibrators' remixed read of "Le T'Aime...Moi Non Plus" (Gainsbourg's biggest hit) instead of the then-scandalous original. For American audiences, the two volumes of Love and the Beat are excellent introductions to one of the most prolific, enduring, and well-loved characters in the history of European popular music.

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