L'eau à la Bouche

Serge Gainsbourg

" Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer, songwriter, film composer, musician, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor, director... "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer, songwriter, film composer, musician, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor, director , you may as well be wandering what didn’t he do? While he is mostly remembered for his songs, he has made some valuable contributions as a composer to films as well. It’s worth noting his style changed almost on a regular basis, with some hit and misses, and therefore his film and non-film from a certain period can have a lot in common. Especially in his early works for film conventional jazz is the most likely keyword, where some 10 years later you hear banjo breaks (La Horse) or unhinged analog synthesizers (Trop jolies pour être honnêtes). Also, Gainsbourg cleverly recycled a composition originally written for the film Les Coeurs Verts, which resulted in the renowned song ’ Je Taime’. It’s undoubtedly a composer whose music was of significant influence.

His music to L'eau à la Bouche is, as noted, from in a period where Gainsbourg didn’t particularly had come to bloom yet and its music is firmly rooted in the area of traditional jazz. The score he wrote for the film wases Coeurs Vert performed an atypical group of musicians; trumpet, tenor sax, piano, guitar, acoustic double bass and drums, and it is of an airy, relaxing nature. No wonder, given the film, which pretends to be nothing more than normal romantic comedy, that the music can only be described as a few, simple, but catchy jazzy tracks. Its rhythmic structure and lovable little melody, performed by the sax and trumpet, are nothing out of the ordinary. It is save to say the most radical thing are the drums on the song L'eau à la Bouche. I just enjoyed the music quite a bit, despite the many similar scores that exist.

It’s no secret the sound of each of work by Serge Gainsbourg was influenced by common collaborators that contribute as a musical director, arranger, conductor, the equivalent of a music producer and even as co-composer. For L'eau à la Bouche Alain Groguer played the piano and worked together with Sainsbourg as the musical director, conductor and arranger. While I can generally sense the overall influence that Groguer had on the sound, it feels like nothing when compared to the times Gainsbourg worked Michel Colombier and Jean-Claude Vannie, whose trademarks were so powerful and unconcealed.

L'eau à la Bouche is not a memorable Gainsbourg score, and compared to some of his best, may even sound a bit dull. Still, it is quite attractive and an easy listener. In modern times, music labels include an original EP as part of a compilation, but sometimes leaving out one or more tracks. To make things even more complicated, multiple compilations may exist, each making different decisions on what to include, leaving the collectors with a dilemma. Universal France decided to leave out the track Judith for their Le Cinéma De Serge Gainsbourg compilation in 2002. but the label corrected’ this by reissuing the original Philips EP in 2010.

1. L'eau à la bouche (02:30)
2. Black march (01:36)
3. Judith (02:10)
4. Angoisse (02:37)

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Released by

Philips (regular release 1960)