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Initials SG
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Initials SG

20 Feb 2014 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Label: UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
  • Copyright: (C) 2002 Mercury Music Group
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:09:11
  • Genres:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,397 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By R Jess on 12 Feb 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is undoubtedly the best introduction to Serge Gainsbourg there is out there. The variety of sounds and styles on this album is a testiment to the man's artistic integrity. No other comparable artist can straddle the genres of world music and pop music with such veritable ease.
You've got the nightclub, Vegas sound of 'Intoxicated Man', the subtle sensuality of 'La Javanaise'. The funk groove of 'Chez Les Ye-Ye' (released in 1963 no less!). The Brazilian flavour of 'Couleur Cafe', the pseudo-psychedelic 'Qui Est In, Que Est Out'. The wonderful backing arrangements of 'Ballade De Melody Nelson' and even some folk guitar on 'Je suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'En Vais'.
You don't have to speak French to enjoy the wonderful songs on this album. Serge's laid-back vocal style (closer to talking than to singing) makes this album the epitome of cool. It says something about the Anglo-American world's lack of appreciation for non-English speaking performers, that an artist as talented as this should go, for the most part, unrecognized in the English-speaking world. Hopefully, discovery of this album will lead others to a greater interest in Serge's work and from there a greater interest in non-English speaking artists in general.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 4 Mar 2003
Format: Audio CD
Initials SG is a rather wonderful collection of Serge Gainsbourg's works- the bulk of it coming from the import collection 'Comic Strip' (from 1996), which focused on material from 1966 to 1969. Here are many of SG's classics: the Bardot duet Bonnie&Clyde, Initials BB, Qui Est "In" Qui Est "Out", the percussive Requiem Pour Un C..., Sous Le Soleil Exactement, L'anamour, 69 Annee Erotique with Jane Birkin- not to forget their controversial UK#1, Je t'aime...moi non plus. The song that stands out here is Ford Mustang- which takes an almost sexual look at mass culture (aspirin, Marilyn, Edgar Allen Poe, Ford Mustang)- reminding me of a chapter in Barthes' Mythologies (Citroen) & JG Ballard's Crash! chapter in The Atrocity Exhibition. Pity personal faves Chatterton and Torrey Canyon were left off, but you can't have everything...
The rest of the compilation comes from various albums still waiting to be reissued properly in the UK- we get 'The Ballad of Melody Nelson' from Histoire De Melody Nelson (just one track from the album many fans consider to be his classic longplayer?). We get the brilliant Intoxicated Man from Du Jazz Dans Le Ravine- which gave the title to the first English translation collection from Bad Seed Mick Harvey (the second was entitled Pink Elephants; both are great & it was the former that lead me to Serge's material- my French is quite poor, you see...). We also get the title track from the Couleur Cafe release- alongside several other tracks that feature Jane Birkin & Catherine Deneuve. Pity Lemon Incest wasn't included- as it kind of fits with my sense of humour (ditto Barrel of My 45).
Initials SG is a great introduction to a great talent, who is sadly remembered for what he said to Whitney Houston on TV than his great records.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 22 April 2008
Format: Audio CD
Serge Gainsbourg is criminally underrated outside France. Listening to this comprehensive best of compilation it is evident that there was more to him than the sleazy Gallic rogue that is stereotypically presented in the media. By contrast, `Initials S.G.' reveals Gainsbourg to be a restless sonic innovator. While his lackadaisical, half-spoken vocal style may be limited, Gainsbourg's compositions are original and prescient. Many of his songs are based around carefully constructed loops of sound that suggest his popularity amongst pioneers of hip hop and breakbeat. I used to think MC Solar's `Nouvelle Westerne' was more layered in its use of samples but is in fact lifted almost in entirety from `Bonnie And Clyde' - already a hypnotically repetitive loop of sound that predates conventional cut and paste techniques. This song and the likes of `Ford Mustang' and `Qui Est In Qui Est Out' are - like the films of the Nouvelle Vague - are early post-modernist high-jinx from a time when Tarantino and the likes were still in short pants. With their shouted pop cultural references and sassy disregard for convention, Gainsbourg was making a mish-mash of contemporary US culture before the Americans had thought of doing it themselves.

With a cast of muses from Bridget Bardot to Jane Birkin, Gainsbourg was a master of self-mythologising publicity, simulataneously iconic and ironic. But he should be given credit where it is due, for mixing so many styles (lounge, funk, jazz, Tropicalia, folk, and French disco all get a look in) into his weirdly uncoventional pop songs. There is even something of Bowie's `Sound and Vision' about `Sous Le Soleil Exactement'. Fans of old-school hip hop, Bowie, DJ Shadow, Nick Cave, Portishead, Tricky and David Byrne & Brian Eno should find plenty to like here, as well as fans of classic French and English pop from Joe Dassin to The Beatles.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Og Oggilby VINE VOICE on 17 Aug 2008
Format: Audio CD
There was so much more to Serge Gainsbourg than the heavy-breathing lech that 'J't'aime' might suggest. He was one of the most unpredictable, most controversial and constantly creative individuals in music, ever. From the early days of 'Le Poinconneuer Des Lilas' through to his barmy latterday stuff, Gainsbourg took delight in thumbing his nose at authority and music critics alike. This compilation acts as a useful intro to the man's work - tracks like 'Intoxicated Man' also feature some fantastic organ playing, worthy of a Brian Auger, whilst 'Requiem Pour Un c...' display an engaging funk feel. 'La Javanaise' is a beautiful Chansonnier ballad, whilst 'Initials BB' - all about a chance encounter in an English pub, no less, boasts a brilliant string arrangement by Arthur Greenslade, responsible for the arrangements on such UK classics as Chris Farlowe's 'Out of Time'. This is an essential purchase, frankly, but if I were you, I'd track down all of Serge's stuff - their is no British act that is quite the equivalent of this chain-smoking genius.
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