The Nerve Mixtape With Air
French electronica band Air makes us the most seductive playlist of all time.
The Nerve Mixtape is a Nerve feature in which we ask actors and musicians to celebrate the hallowed art of the mixtape. The playlist is a casual swap between friends, but a mixtape is an expression of something deeper, given to someone you might like to get to know… better. You can't always tell someone how you feel, but chances are you know between ten and fourteen songs that say it better than you ever could. You can find a Spotify playlist of some of Air's selections here.
If you like either electronica or film history, we're about to excite you; if you like both, you may want to sit down. One hundred years after it first premiered, George Méliès' pioneering science-fiction short A Trip to the Moon (memorably featured in Martin Scorsese's Hugo) has been restored to its original full color for the first time ever. To score the soundtrack, the producers commissioned beloved French electronica duo Air. Inspired, Air ended up writing not just the sixteen minutes of music required for the film, but an entire album of new Méliès-informed material. The resulting work, Le Voyage Dans La Lune, represents an exciting collaboration between artists separated by decades but not sensibilities. It comes out February 7, 2012, but in the meantime it's available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon. While we wait, we asked Air to make us a mixtape; the delightful and highly French results are below.
1. “Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus,” Serge Gainsbourg
Jean-Benoit Dunckel: The most romantic, vibrant song is, for me, “Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus” by Serge Gainsbourg. It just feels like music of love — music that drives you into taking your partner [makes motion of putting his around someone’s waist] and dancing slowly.
2. “La Femme D’Argent,” Air
Nicolas Godin: We wrote a good one: the first song from Moon Safari, “La Femme D’Argent.” So many people made out to that song, so many people have had their first date on it, and I think some may have even made children to it. So many times after concerts people come to talk to us and say, “Can I tell you something about that song?” and then I have to stop them after a bit because it gets too personal [laughs]. But I think the music itself is very much about romance and seduction.
3. “My Autumn’s Done Come,” Lee Hazlewood
Dunckel: Lee Hazlewood, who worked a lot with Nancy Sinatra, wrote this track, a really slow, really moving song called “My Autumn’s Done Come.” It’s beautiful — I love it. We used to play it each time we finished our shows, so it reminds me of the end of Air shows when I’d put my jacket on and we’d go backstage. But it also reminds me of when we were young, hanging out in Paris and searching for parties, that kind of thing.
4. “Something About Us,” Daft Punk
Godin: They were so into house music, and then they made this very romantic song. You know, I cannot talk about it that much, because I don’t think that they would like me to tell. But there was somebody at the time for whom this song was important. And so there is some truth to it.
5. “Jealous Guy,” John Lennon
Dunckel: A very important track in the history of love songs. But it is a good declaration of love, and the music is so moving. I love it. I also like the Roxy Music version.
6. “And I Love Her,” The Beatles
Dunckel: This is one of the early Beatles songs, and I love it. I’ve also heard a Brazilian version of it, and I love it.
7. “Estate,” by João Gilberto
Godin: Another amazing Brazilian song, but with Italian lyrics. It’s an amazing, sensual track.
8. “Amarsi Un Pò,” Lucio Battisti
Dunckel: For me, this is like driving a car in the French Riviera, at sunset. You know, it’s super-Latin, very erotic music. Edgy. But it’s such a part of the Italian culture also.
9. “Camille,” by George Delerue
Dunckel: I also love the music from the movie Le Mépris by George Delerue.
Godin: The theme song is “Camille.” It’s a Jean-Luc Godard movie, with Brigitte Bardot. This movie is just so cool from the first scene.
Dunckel: The movie is haunted by the music; it’s really emotional. There is a lot of melancholy to the song — it’s very sad, actually. It sounds like if your girlfriend just left you
10. “E.V.A.,” Jean-Jacques Perrey
Godin: Another song I really love that's more experimental and more funny is “E.V.A.” from Jean-Jacques Perrey. It's been sampled by many people over the years. It’s fun to dance to, and of course it’s romantic to dance.
11. “If You Leave Me Now,” by Chicago
Godin: It’s so cheesy. But it’s cool, you know. It’s like a big pot of honey. I had it on on my way to the airport.
Dunckel: It’s really girly to send music to seduce someone. In the past, a girl would send me some music and it would take me a while to realize that the lyrics were the message.
Godin: As a musician, I can't have music on when I’m with someone. I have a professional’s ear; I’m listening to the instruments, what key it’s in, what kind of reverb is on the drums — it’s like a curse.
12. “The Power of Love,” Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Godin: It’s on the edge of being too much. I think it’s not only about love between a man and a woman. It can be about another kind of love. Like a love between a man and a man [laughs].