Serge Gainsbourg

Pop Sessions

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Poised between a tribute album and an audio documentary, Pop Sessions balances cover versions taped live by contemporary French artists with interspersed words from Gainsbourg himself and a few tracks involving female compatriots Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy. Etienne Daho resurrects the ghost of Gainsbourg with "Mon Amour Baiser," a duet with Jane Birkin she'd originally recorded in 1973. Françoise Hardy's track appears to be the only song recorded before 2000 (it's from 1982), rapper Menelik's version of "Initials B.B." is surprisingly faithful, and scattered highlights come from Rachid Taha's "Aux Armes et Caetera," Alain Chamfort's "En Relisant ta Lettre," and Texas' "Guitar Song." None of the versions are especially imaginative, and the artists sound as though overawed by Gainsbourg's weighty legend. For completists and the very curious only.

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