Jane Birkin

Vol. 3: Ex-Fan des Sixties/Baby Alone in Babylon

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A two-fer rounding up 1978's Ex Fan des Sixties and 1983's Baby Alone in Babylone, plus two bonus tracks, "Quoi" and "ComeUn Gabbiano." Both, of course, were overseen by Serge Gainsbourg, and his presence hangs heavy over both albums. But Birkin's patent, paper-thin vocal is as much a part of the sound as his musical imprimatur, and songs like "Apocalypstick," "Nicotine" (from Ex Fan), and "Fuir le Bonheur de Peur Qui'l Ne Se Sauve" (from Baby) are up there with any of the duo's earlier, and better-known collaborations. Remember, after all, that the late '70s and early '80s saw Gainsbourg kicking out some of his most contentiously aggressive and questioning music yet, and this pair of albums proves that he had by no means saved all his best material for his own releases. Often overlooked in favor of her earlier, or most recent material, these discs rank among Birkin's most instantly enjoyable.

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