Morning Music: Je t’aime… Moi Non Plus

Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus

I’m in a bit of a rush so I’m going with a classic, “Je t’aime… Moi Non Plus.” But I do have something to say: rock music is as fake as Donald Trump.

I like Bruce Springsteen. He’s a very talented guy and a hell of a songwriter. But the things that most people like about him embarrass me. It isn’t just watching the old man pretend his guitar is his dick (something that is horrible at any age). I don’t even like those songs of youthful hope.

“Thunder Road” especially annoys me. I can only bear it because I see “The River” lurking beneath it.

The rock version of sex always reminds me of Elvis Costello’s “Mystery Dance,” which is about two sexually naive youths making a complete mess of the act. That strikes me as completely authentic because almost everyone I know has a “first-time” comedy-horror story.

Far worse in this regard is Bob Seger whose songs are a parade of pretense and inauthenticity. And I can say that about “Je t’aime… Moi Non Plus” too — at least when it comes to pretense. But it has a couple of advantages.

First, it’s cheeky. Everyone understands what the song is doing and it has a giggly charm to it. Second, it has some relationship to the way sex actually is — at least when it’s done right.

But most of all, “Je t’aime… Moi Non Plus” itself is sexy. When I hear the pounding beat of what is said to be sexy rock-n-roll, all I imagine is inexperienced young people rutting in the general vicinity of each other’s groins.

Previously Written (2015)

Perhaps it is too early in the day for it, but this is the Serge Gainsbourg song “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus,” which literally means, “I love you… me neither.” The lyrics are thinly disguised sexual references, such as, “Tu vas, tu vas, et tu viens,” which means, “You’re going, you’re going, and you come.” There are also lots of references to water and waves and islands and loins. But you don’t need to speak a word of French to know what the song is all about.

It was written for Brigitte Bardot, and she recorded it with Gainsbourg. But before it was released, he created another version with his English girlfriend, Jane Birkin. It is a far sexier version of the song. And it created a sensation throughout Europe. It was banned in many countries, but was nonetheless hugely successful. In America, it only made it to number 58 on the Hot 100. This is because Americans are boring, and the American ideal of masculinity is based on a deep fear that all American men are actually gay, and that this will become clear if they don’t constantly act like jerks.

This is an amazing song.


Image of Jane Birkin album cover via Amazon under Fair Use.

2 thoughts on “Morning Music: Je t’aime… Moi Non Plus

  1. The thing with Springsteen is that his rousers are definitely rousing, but you feel manipulated having been roused by them. I kinda prefer his stuff like “Streets Of Philadelphia.” The more synth Bruce gets, the more I like the song.

    • He’s a smart and thoughtful guy. He’s also a pro who can do pretty much whatever he wants. I guess art is always manipulative. But it never feels bad when it is for something edifying. I too prefer when he produces more thoughtful stuff.

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