You're Under Arrest (Serge Gainsbourg album)

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You're Under Arrest
Serge Gainsbourg - You're Under Arrest.jpg
Studio album by
Released1987 (1987)
StudioDangerous Music, New Jersey; Studio Digital Service, Paris
LanguageFrench, English
  • Billy Rush
  • Philippe Lerichomme
Serge Gainsbourg chronology
Gainsbourg Live
You're Under Arrest
Le Zénith de Gainsbourg

You're Under Arrest is the final studio album by French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. The album was released in 1987 through Philips Records. It was produced by Philippe Lerichomme and the American guitarist Billy Rush, who collaborated with Gainsbourg on his previous album, Love on the Beat (1984).

Retaining the new wave of Love on the Beat,[clarification needed] the album consists of "funk tunes" and introduces hip hop[1] elements to Gainsbourg's music, inspired by acts such as Chic and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.[2] The album also features a cover version of "Gloomy Sunday", a song composed by Hungarian pianist Rezső Seress, and "Mon légionnaire", a French song popularized by Édith Piaf.[2]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album is a concept album, which describes the story of an unnamed narrator with a very young drug-addict girl called Samanta. The story is set in New-York, and starts with the narrator getting arrested while looking for Samantha in the Bronx where she is looking for a dealer; he then describes various aspects of their relationship. "Gloomy Sunday" illustrates the state of gloom caused to the narrator by Samantha's drug-induced absences, "Aux enfants de la chance" (whose title comes from the name of a bar in which Gainsbourg's father used to sing) advises young people not to touch drugs. From this point on the relationship degrades, and in "Dispatch Box" the narrator leaves Samantha whose fate is left unknown; as for the narrator, he then joins the French Foreign Legion out of despair, but the story ends on an uplifting note as he falls in love with a fellow Légionnaire (although he is also abandoned after one night of love).[citation needed]

Musically, the songs on the album were described as "overly slick funk tunes that border on both new wave and rap."[2] The lyrics of the songs are mostly written in French, English or Franglais.[1] The title track, "You're Under Arrest", features rapped backing vocals[3] and references English synthpop group Bronski Beat.[1] The track "Five Easy Pisseuses" thematically deals with sexuality, and features a tenor saxophone solo performed by Stan Harrison.[1] In contrast to the melancholic nature of the original song, Gainsbourg's "jazzy Caribbean-kissed version" of "Gloomy Sunday" was described as a "lounge-y love song".[2] The cover version of "Mon légionnaire" also takes inspirations from disco genre and features a synthesizer programming work over Gainsbourg's "gravelly" vocal delivery.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]

Thom Jurek of AllMusic commented, "The album seems to leave the subtle ironies of Gainsbourg's demented lyrics behind – which is too bad because this record is a step up lyrically from Love on the Beat." Nevertheless, he also wrote: "this is a record of solid material that misses (if only just) because of Billy Rush's heavy hand. No matter though, because the Gainsbourg faithful will have to have it anyway."[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Serge Gainsbourg, except where noted.

1."You're Under Arrest"4:13
2."Five Easy Pisseuses"3:28
3."Baille Baille Samantha"3:24
4."Suck Baby Suck"3:46
5."Gloomy Sunday" (Rezső Seress, Sam M. Lewis)3:44
6."Aux enfants de la chance"4:07
8."Glass Securit"3:38
9."Dispatch Box"2:53
10."Mon légionnaire" (Raymond Asso, Marguerite Monnot)5:35


Credits adapted from liner notes.


  • Serge Gainsbourg – vocals, piano, synthesizers, arranger
  • Billy Rush – guitar, production
  • John K. – bass guitar
  • Tony "Thunder" Smith – drums
  • Brenda White King – backing vocals
  • Curtis King Jr. – backing vocals
  • Gary Georgett – piano, synthesizers
  • Stan Harrison – saxophone


  • Philippe Lerichomme – production
  • Dominique Blanc-Francard – engineering
  • André Périllat – mastering


  1. ^ a b c d Simmons, Sylvie (2009). Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes. Da Capo Press. pp. 115–116. ISBN 0-7867-4714-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Jurek, Thom. "Serge Gainsbourg – You're Under Arrest". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  3. ^ Sarig, Roni (1998). Secret History of Rock: The Most Influential Bands You've Never Heard. Crown Publishing Group. p. 39. ISBN 0-8230-7669-5.

External links[edit]