July 14, 2010
Mark Ronson and the French
Happy Bastille Day!
In celebration, here's the video from a new single from the dependably wonderful Mark Ronson, "Bang Bang Bang". (thanks, King Pigeon!) It features a Japanese talk show, breakdancing preteens, and a chorus with lyrics taken from the French children's song you probably sang in 2nd grade music class, "Alouette". And MNDR and Q-Tip on vocals.
The video walks a fine line between funky kitsch and tired '80's video parody, but somehow everything comes together just right to make a phenomenally cool video. Does Mark Ronson ever make stylistic missteps? I don't think he does.
His new album "Record Collection" is coming out in October under the name Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, and it will include guests vocalists Ghostface Killah, D'Angelo, Simon LeBon, and BOY GEORGE. How does he do it?
In watching the video for "Bang Bang Bang", I started wondering about those lyrics to "Alouette", which I've half-known since childhood. "Alouette, gentille alouette, je te plumerai." Then you go through all the different parts of the bird--the head, the beak, the wings, the tail. It's pretty much the only French I know, besides "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)", which every American girl is required to know so she can scream it at house parties when that Christina Aguilera song comes on and imagine she's very cosmopolitan.
But although I assumed the song was a sweet tribute to a bird, I had no idea what a lot of the words meant. So I looked them up.
Turns out that "plumerai" means "pluck". It's a song about plucking a DEAD BIRD. Gentille alouette! I'm going to pluck your head!
What I had always thought was a mild song celebrating a beloved bird as it happily fluttered around in the French countryside turns out to be a gruesome tune about ripping the feathers off a bird's dead little body.
Those sick French bastards.
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