Categories
Confidentiel (1963) My faves

Scenic railway

Summary

Serge complains about his girlfriend’s obsession with rollercoasters.

Paroles de Gainsbourg

Ouais 
Je t’emmènerai sur le Scénic railway 
Si c’est ce que tu veux 
C’est facile 

Ouais 
Je t’emmènerai sur le Scénic railway 
On verra ça demain 
C’est promis

Mais ne te sens-tu pas 
Quelque peu inconsciente 
Tout ce qu’aimer veut dire 
Le sauras-tu un jour 

Ouais 
Je t’emmènerai sur le Scénic railway 
Tu n’as que ça en tête 
C’est terrible 

Ouais 
Je t’emmènerai sur le Scénic railway 
Mais ces émotions-là 
C’est facile 

Ouais 
Je t’emmènerai sur le Scénic railway 
Et cesse de bouder 
C’est d’accord

Je t’y verrai ainsi 
Que je te veux cruelle 
Agrippée à mon bras 
Par tes ongles blessés 

Ouais 
Je vais te sembler un peu cynique ouais ouais 
Y’ a pas que les machines 
Pour s’envoyer en l’air

Discussion

This might be my #1 favourite Gainsbourg song.

Partly it’s the musical arrangement — I just love the minimalist world of Confidentiel, with Elek Bacsik’s slinky guitar, Michel Gaudry’s slick double bass, Serge’s voice — and nothing else at all. All three players are particularly excellent in this song — most spectacularly Bacsik’s rollercoasting up-and-down intro and outro…

But also: the lyrics.

Mostly it’s a song about sex. Why are you so obsessed with rollercoasters when I can give you all the thrills you need, baby?

But it’s also about… culture, and Serge’s fatal attraction to the banal. What he really seems to be asking her is, “Don’t you feel terrible wasting the time of a genius like me, who should be reading poetry and writing songs?” To which the obvious riposte is — “But why are you wasting your time with her, if she’s so awful?” To which, I bet, the only response is a shrug of the shoulders, maybe an impish wink. It’s the old Jazz Serge vs. Pop Serge story: he may be a genius and all, but he just can’t help himself — he’s drawn to trash. He should be at the library or the concert hall… but there he is at Six Flags.

My favourite couplet: “Tu n’as que ça en tête / C’est terrible.”

Traduction de “Fluid Makeup”

Whatever:
I’ll take take you on the Scenic Railway,
If that’s want you want.
It’s easily done.

Whatever:
I’ll take take you on the Scenic Railway.
We’ll see it tomorrow,
I promise.

But don’t you feel
Just a little bit guilty?
Some day you’ll understand
What true love really means.

Whatever:
I’ll take take you on the Scenic Railway.
It’s all you can think about —
It’s horrible.

Whatever:
I’ll take take you on the Scenic Railway.
But those kind of emotions,
They’re easily done.

Whatever:
I’ll take take you on the Scenic Railway.
And stop moping —
It’s fine.

At least I’ll have you
As I want you: cruel,
Digging into my arms
With broken fingernails.

Whatever:
I’ll probably come off as a cynic —
But it’s not only machines
That send you to the sky.

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