Serge Gainsbourg

You're Under Arrest

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You're Under Arrest, Gainsbourg's final album, was another collaboration with American Billy Rush in New Jersey. It's difficult to say what Rush was going for here with Gainsbourg. There's the feeling that Rush was taken with both Nile Rodgers' Chic and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (especially with the "hugh, hugh, hugh" in the refrains). These are overly slick funk tunes that border on both new wave and rap, and seem to leave the subtle ironies of Gainsbourg's demented lyrics behind -- which is too bad because this record is a step up lyrically from Love on the Beat. There are a few places where Gainsbourg's particular brand of nocturnal street urchin genius shines through: "Five Easy Pieces," with its wordplay and its gorgeous tenor solo by Stan Harrison, is one. The groove is laid-back, easy, and airy, with Gainsbourg reciting his poetry way up in front of the too-big backing chorus. Also, in Gainsbourg's world, his jazzy Caribbean-kissed version of the infamous "Gloomy Sunday" is a lounge-y love song instead of the infamous ballad that was credited with suicides in the 1950s. Finally, the shifty disco of "Mon Legionnaire" should be a schlock-fest, but it's not. It's easy groove and -- uncharacteristically -- subtle synth programs work well with Gainsbourg's gravelly delivery. Again, this is a record of solid material that misses (if only just) because of Billy Rush's heavy hand. No matter though, because the Gainsbourg faithful will have to have it anyway.

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