Alex Beaupain: “The Gainsbourg of Love on the beat gives off a slightly sweaty sexuality”

the essential Alex Beaupain returns where we did not expect him, with a new version of “Love on the beat”, a Gainsbourg among the most unloved by critics … and feminists. Because the album remains explosive, 37 years after its release.

How did you come to work on a new version of “Love on the beat”?

It was I who brought the project to Because, my new record company. I had wanted to cover this album for a long time. I’m a very poor taste person who tends to like what other people hate (laughs). My years 80 were punctuated by “Let’s dance” and “Love on the beat”.

The Gainsbourg specialists, however, do not place this record very high…

This period is actually quite underestimated. Gainsbourg is then presented as an artist at the end of the race, far removed from the masterpieces of “Melody Nelson” or “The man with the head of cabbage”. Except that I discovered Gainsbourg with “Love on the beat” and that I didn’t know anything else about him at that time. You understood it, my attachment to this album is sentimental.

Which boy are you 1984?

I’m ten years old. I see Gainsbourg on TV. And this cover, signed William Klein, with this woman (I think first of all that it is one) that scares me. In summer camp, I hear the older people talking about the record. I am a well-behaved boy: the harsh words shock me. In the Gainsbourg universe, I feel a little sweaty sexuality. Which of course both scares and attracts me. In 1989, I go further in the discovery of Gainsbourg: I ​​am offered his first large integral… in cassettes!

Is “Love on the beat” only an erotic record?

It is often, and sometimes even outright pornographic. But it leaves room for dramatic songs (like the superb “Sorry Angel”, which echoes her separation from Jane Birkin), frankly homosexual (“Kiss me hardy” and “I’m the boy”) and the ease of comic trooper in which Gainsbourg occasionally indulged (“Harley David son of a bitch”). In fact, “Love on the beach” is the synthesis of everything this man knew how to do. There is nothing monolithic about it and that’s what I like about Gainsbourg, so far removed from many artists today.

Today, Gainsbourg’s words shock more than ever…

It has to be said and said again: songs – and works of art in general – are not there to speak morals. We enter with them into a territory of fiction that allows us to say everything (except of course things that have to do with insult or racism), to play all the characters. One can be a coward, a traitor, a submissive; one can be misogynist.

Two songs: “No comment” and “Lemon incest” aren’t they a problem?

I wondered a lot about the first one. And I understood that Gainsbourg pushed to the extreme his character of bastard seen on TV, provocative but also modest. As for “Lemon incest”, Charlotte Gainsbourg spoke a lot about it, providing unfailing support to her father. Remember, however, that the song ends with “The love that we will never make together”. It can not be any clearer.

Young people don’t necessarily like…

Children of friends, who are 18 years, told me: “You are not going to take back that old bitch! We discussed and it went well. We can debate this kind of thing if everyone retains a sense of nuance and a bit of the second degree. But to ban or censor an artist, certainly not!

Album “Love on the beat”, by Serge Gainsbourg, by Alex Beaupain (Because Music, released Friday 22 October).

Music for cinema and television

Long associated with Christophe Honoré (from “Chansons d’amour” to “Malheurs de Sophie”), Alex Beaupain continues to work with other directors. He thus composed the soundtrack of “Doubts”, by François Hanss, with Muriel Robin, suspense in the world of television presented in September at the TV Festival of La Rochelle and which will be broadcast on Arte. To his credit also, the music of the “Cadors”, by Julien Guetta, a comedy, a genre he has practiced little, bringing together Michel Blanc, Jean-Paul Rouve, Grégoire Ludig and Marie Gillain. To be discovered soon at the cinema. “Le portrait”, by Christophe Charrier, will follow with Clotilde Hesme, one of the tender actresses of “Chansons d’amour”. Where we come back to Christophe Honoré and the hope of seeing the director and Alex Beaupain working together again. The news brings them together in a surprising way, Honoré having just made a clip on “The ballad of Melody Nelson”.

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