And I quote: ‘The record is swathed in the worst kind of 80s production stylings you can imagine: session muso slap-bass, extended synthesizer solos, show-off guitar licks at every turn, wailing saxophones everywhere … Despite this, Phil is convinced the record is a lost classic of genius songwriting, and my brief was to strip it of the badly dated 1980s production and re-record the whole album to reveal the hidden pop gems at the heart of it all.’
The record in question is Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Charlotte For Ever, written by Serge in the mid-80s. ‘Phil’ is Philip Ilson from the London Short Film Festival – a massive Gainsbourg fan. He wanted to do something to celebrate the premiere of Joann Sfar’s Gainsbourg film. So he commissioned Markus (formerly Their Hearts Were Full of Spring’s frontman) to update Charlotte For Ever, together with Charlotte McEwan (currently a film student at University of the Arts, London). Bold move.

Did Markus and Charlotte as Hige Club do a better job than Serge and Charlotte? McEwan has a voice as untrained as Charlotte Gainsbourg’s, but lacks the innocence that makes the original album such a perverted joy to listen to. Especially in Lemon Incest, a song one should never try to top.
That said, not having to listen to the slapping bass and the nasty synths certainly makes this update more enjoyable. Ouvertures Eclair for instance is a much better song in the cover version.
Listen to (and order) the brave effort by Markus and Charlotte HERE. Hige Club performs live on the Branchage Festival end of September.

Hige Club – Charlotte For Ever
Charlotte & Serge Gainsbourg – Charlotte For Ever

Written by guuzbourg

French girls, singing. No, sighing. Making me sigh. Ah.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Jasper

    That 80’s sound of those last Gainsbourg records is dreadful, indeed! Lyrically those records hide some of the most pun-filled songs Gainsbourg made.
    As for Charlotte: no one can re-enact the husky unstable voice of a twelve-year old girl, that is only given to aforementioned type of girl. The remade version sounds therefore too grown up to me. Wrong voice. They should have taken Kazu from Blonde Redhead for the vocals… (-;

  2. Lewis Francis

    Interesting, and I haven’t heard all of Charlotte Forever 1.0, but I much prefer the original Ouvertures Eclair — my introduction to Charlotte which has a special place in my heart. Also, I dug the eighties so…

  3. guuzbourg

    The sulkyness (if that’s a word) sure is an important element on the original, I’m with you on that Mordi. Still, I think it’s a bold move by Hige Club.

  4. mordi

    no no and no again,
    why mess with the original – part of the charm of the original is the terrible saxophones and 80’s production and most of all, charlottes sulky innocence.

  5. Milton

    I keep getting an error message on the Gainsbourg version.