In primary school, somewhere between the age of six and twelve, I, along with a twenty or so strong group of boys (for of course it had to be a boys school), sang the French song ‘Alouette’ during music class. Sang with complete swagger and vigour and bravado, too (for if we impressed then there was a slight chance we could go outside and play for the remainder of the evening). Music class was always singing and singing alone, and sometimes quite literally alone as I stumbled and nervously stuttered my way through some Irish fable.
“Alouette, gentille alouette. Je te plumerai la tête. Et la tête(!).”
My oh my, how I extended that final note for as long as my pre-cracked folds would allow. And with a smile, too. I didn’t know then, as I do now, that I was promoting the plucking of a skylark’s head, but then how could I have known? I could barely speak my native tongue – and still can’t. Do I feel bad? I do a little – a twinge of shame can be felt, but then ‘Bang Bang Bang’ has brought new levels of catchiness, and, I would argue, sinister ways to ‘Alouette’.
“Tête” is now delivered post pause by Amanda Warner, in such a playful and menacing manner that it’s a hook smothered in humour, too. You see, I have a hankering for popular music on an itch-like scale. If there’s even the slightest bit of charm and credibility to it, then I’ll down it in gulping shots. The corny introduction of “Un, deux, trios,” should have signalled the song’s intent, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the galloping attachment charging towards me. And that synth riff, too. For the first twenty or so listens I imagined a final note to the end of said riff, and found out later, with headphones, that I had fabricated the sound. Shame on my part, but Ronson’s restraint was the right choice. “When feathers fly, you deny everything.” [Record Collection.]