"Bashung is a world-class moper whose gravitas makes Morrissey seem like a pipsqueak."
March 24, 2009 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Two weeks after Alain Bashung's final live performance at the Victoires de la Musique awards, France mourns the passing of the renowned poet-rocker who died on 14 March of lung cancer. The rest of the world says 'Who?' (wiki). An appreciation from the Times correspondent Charles Bremner. Some clips from Bashung's career: Madame rêve, Gaby Oh! Gaby, Osez Josephine, Volontaire (with Noir Desir), Sur un trapeze, La nuit je mens, the epic Comme un lego.
posted by grounded (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sad to hear about this. I first started hearing his work about a year ago, because they played him pretty regularly on Frequence Terre, which is one of my favorite online radio stations, mixing the best of French music with the best of world music in general.

It's a great station with lots of good music, but his work really stood out.
posted by markkraft at 1:06 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

The video for Volontaire is kinda fun; angst-rock is much better when you can't understand the lyrics.

However, I am reminded that the lead guy for Noir Desir beat his girlfriend to death while drunk, and my like for the group's style isn't enough to overcome the feeling of disgust.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 1:19 PM on March 24, 2009

I would actually recommend "La Nuit Je Mens" as being another really stand-out song of his.
posted by markkraft at 1:22 PM on March 24, 2009

because i'm miserable at french: what does "Comme un lego" mean? I assume it's not "Like a Lego."
posted by shmegegge at 1:35 PM on March 24, 2009

shmegegge: I think that's exactly what it means. As far as I understand, the song is about the insignificance of mankind in the grander scheme of things. I'll try to translate a couple of lines for you. Excuse me if I end up sounding a little BabelFishy- neither English nor French is my first language.

Et tous ce petits êtres qui courent

Car chacun vaque à son destin
Petits ou grands
Comme durant des siècles égyptiens

And all those small creatures that run
because each of them is fulfilling his destiny
small or big
Like in Egyptian centuries
with great difficulty

Voyez-vous ces êtres vivants?

Quelqu'un a inventé ce jeu
Terrible, cruel, captivant
Les maisons, les lacs, les continents
Comme un lego avec du vent

Do you see these living creatures?
Someone invented this game
Terrible, cruel, fascinating
The houses, the lakes, the continents
Like lego, but with wind

La faiblesse des tout-puissants
Comme un lego avec du sang
La force décuplée des perdants
Comme un lego avec des dents
Comme un lego avec des mains
Comme un lego

The weakness of the almighty
Like a lego with blood
The tenfold force of the losers
Like a lego with teeth
Like a lego with hands
Like a lego

posted by Siberian Mist at 3:08 AM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

no kidding! thanks, SM!
posted by shmegegge at 8:17 AM on March 25, 2009

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