Monday, February 20, 2006


The time has come to decide the crucial question. Which version of "Ne me quitte pas" is more likely to reduce the listener to helpless tears: the Jacques Brel original, or the Ute Lemper version?

A straw survey, conducted in Pretty Lady's living room, has revealed a distinct gender divide. P.L.'s cuñado is of the opinion that Jacques Brel sounds like "a smooth-ass lounge singer." He was deeply moved by Ute's rendition, which conveyed the impression that "he's already left, and she's singing to herself in the kitchen with the tequila."

Pretty Lady found this deeply perceptive, as she herself has not been immune, in days not so distant, to a certain amount of wallowing, and an only semi-ironic preoccupation with AMC's classic album "Mercury," particularly "I've Been A Mess." Perhaps it is out of a certain over-identification with tequila-drenched melodrama, then, that she initially found Ute's version to be a bit histrionic. Mr. Brel, on the other hand, conveyes to her a sense of manful, post-ironic restraint in the face of overwhelming heartbreak.

Jake, however, agreed with el cuñado; he likes Ute, too. Pretty Lady finds this rather comforting. It's nice to know that flamboyant misery is not always and entirely a turn-off, to the opposite gender.

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