Laisse tomber les filles

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"Laisse tomber les filles" (English: "Leave the girls alone" i.e., "stop messing around with the girls") is a French song composed by Serge Gainsbourg and originally performed by France Gall in 1964.

The message of the song can be summed up as "you'll get yours". A girl whose heart has been broken addresses the boy who has done the heart-breaking, warning him that if he doesn't "leave the girls alone", he'll end up heart-broken himself. The contrast between the dark tone of this song and the more upbeat mood of its contemporaries - the yé-yé pop style - is commented on by Gilles Verlant:

Gainsbourg's lyrics obviously have nothing to do with the worldview expressed by other teenage vocalists of the time; of course their world has its charms, but it has not a single atom of depth. In the lyrics of Gainsbourg's songs in general, and Laisse tomber les filles in particular, there is a startling lucidity coupled with a refusal to be taken in by "the great farce of love", defined in terms of "never" and "always". But, with Laisse tomber les filles, we are not presented with a male narrator of thirty or thirty-five years, but rather a teenager.[1]

France Gall's vindictive lyrics are supported by the well-known jazz band led by Gogo (the same group with whom Gainsbourg was recording at the time). The song's emphasis on brass and percussion is regarded as being integral to its success. Fondness within the English-speaking world for the "French pop sound" makes the song continue to be popular to this day. It was also recently covered by the French singer Mareva Galanter in an explicit reference to the Yé-yé style. The song is also covered by Fabienne Delsol on her first solo album, No Time For Sorrows (2004). The San Francisco-based yé-yé revival band, Rue '66, covered the tune for their debut in 2011.

The song was a big hit in France, peaking at number 4 according to Billboard Magazine.[2]

English language version[edit]

April March recorded two covers of the song in 1995: one with the original French lyrics, and the other as "Chick Habit" with English lyrics written by March.

"Chick Habit" is played during the opening credits of the 1999 campy teen comedy But I'm a Cheerleader by Jamie Babbit. Both versions of the song, first English and then French, are played over images of China Girls during the end credits of the movie Death Proof (2007) by Quentin Tarantino. It was also used as the backing music to television advertisements for the Renault Twingo in the UK and in France in 2008.

American electronica musician Benn Jordan recorded a cover of the 1995 English version of the song for his album Flexing Habitual under the name The Flashbulb in 2006.

The Weeknd, "Montreal"[edit]

Elements of the song are interpolated in "Montreal" from The Weeknd's last mixtape of 2011, Echoes of Silence. When the song was released as part of The Weeknd's Trilogy, France Gall was given sole credit for writing "Laisse tomber les filles."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gilles Verlant, Gainsbourg, Éditions Albin Michel, Paris, 2000, ISBN 2-226-12060-2
  2. ^ Billboard Magazine, January 1965. Retrieved 2012-09-09.