Womanizer, alcoholic, child exploiter, provocateur. There’s so much scandal attached to the legacy of France's favorite sleazeball/pop star/sex symbol Serge Gainsbourg, it’s easy to let the exploits outshine the musical prowess. But twenty years after his passing he continues to inspire, as made quite clear in this collection of covers from the folks at Peruvian blog 69.
Ranging from almost literal note-for-note renditions (nice) to creative jumping-off points (incredible), the participating artists dabble in a range of musical styles that would have made Gainsbourg proud. Highlights include La Familia del Arbol’s melancholic translation of “La Chanson de Prévert,” Algodón Egipcio’s beautifully layered “Color Café,” and Odio París’s shoegaze badassification of France Gall’s naive “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son.” Lido Pimienta’s eerie echoing take on the controversial “Les Sucettes” will give you goosebumps.
The attitude and spirit of Serge haunt all twelve tracks, but perhaps what's most telling is that you don’t even need to be a Gainsbourg conoisseur to appreciate this—the songs stand very much on their own: sexy, classic, and somehow so current. Hardly a degeneration, I’d call this a veneration of the highest order.