Café Mouffe Encore: Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus

Encore: If Carla Bruni puts you in the mood, try the Granddaddy of all Breathless Whispers — Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg.

The song has its own Wikipedia page. Perusing it, I learned that Brigitte Bardot judged her version to be too scandalous to release in the 1960s. Go figure. So Jane Birkin is heard panting along with Serge Gainsbourg in the YouTube clip. Their 1969 version was a #1 hit across Europe, perhaps because the Vatican and BBC banned it. Nonetheless, the best account of the song’s history is a BBC H2g2 Guide. Sample insight: “The sound of the first few bars, surely the Wurlitzer organ’s most erotic moment, made their mark on the musical landscape and will long be associated with the free sexuality of the sixties and seventies.” Yeah. Get down, Wurlitzer.

Last Valentine’s Day, Ms. Modigliani sent me the lyrics. They deserve a breathlessly whispered translation!

Je t’aime je t’aime
Oh oui je t’aime
– moi non plus
– oh mon amour
– comme la vague irrésolue

Je vais, je vais et je viens
Entre tes reins
Je vais et je viens
Entre tes reins
Et je me retiens

– je t’aime je t’aime
Oh oui je t’aime
– moi non plus
– oh mon amour

Tu es la vague, moi l’île nue
Tu vas, tu vas et tu viens
Entre mes reins
Tu vas et tu viens
Entre mes reins
Et je te rejoins

– je t’aime je t’aime
Oh oui je t’aime
– moi non plus
– oh mon amour
– l’amour physique est sans issue
Je vais je vais et je viens
Entre tes reins
Je vais et je viens
Je me retiens
– non ! maintenant viens.

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