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Mon, 01 May 2006

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin, Fictions
LP, Capitol

Ages ago, Steely Dan produced a scrumptious-looking model-du-jour from LA. The result was, as you'd expect, a pretty nice album in all sorts of ways but it didn't enjoy huge commercial success and I can't remember her name now, but I should.

Jane Birkin wasn't produced by SD. And she's not du-jour at all. She's English, was born in 1946 and was the long time partner of Frenchman Serge Gainsbourg with whom she managed to create a scandal and lots of free publicity with a song called "Je t'aime moi non plus" in 1969. And this is a French album with no particular pandering to the world market except for songs presented in English. Here's an excerpt from a biographical page about her ...
'Jane, who had spent so many years of her career performing and reworking songs by her legendary Pygmalion, Gainsbourg, branched out in a new direction on her album, "Fictions" (released in March 2006). For the first time in her career, she went back to singing almost exclusively in English and explored new musical territory thanks to collaborations with artists from the new music scene on both sides of the Channel. Anglo guest songwriters included Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), who contributed a poignant ballad about childhood entitled "Home", Beth Gibbons (ex-Portishead) who penned a song called "My Secret" and the Canadian Gonzales (who also arranged the album) .wrote "Living in Limbo." Other highlights on "Fictions" included cover versions of "Alice" (Tom Waits) and "Mother Stands for Comfort" (Kate Bush). French songwriters also starred on JaneŇs new album, Dominique A contributing the superb "Ou est la ville?", Cali giving Jane "Sans toi" and Arthur H penning the remarkable "La reine sans royaume." These musical vignettes, tinged with a certain melancholy and nostalgia, made "Fictions" one of JaneŇs most intimate and personal albums to date.'

Some of the songs are French chanson-like and some are more rocky in the crafted Steely Dan way that reminded me of the LA woman. They don't actually sound like SD songs at all I should add. There's also an electro-dancy song 'Ou est la ville' (where is the town) which is nicely put together.

So what's that all got to do with Steely Dan and the forgotten model? (thunderfinger)

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