If you’ve been watching TV at all lately, you’ve probably come across this commercial for the shamelessly sleazy CW show Gossip Girl.
I’ve not watched the show before, and I don’t think I care to. But what is UP with that music? The man you’re hearing is Plastic Bertrand, and the song is 1977’s Ca Plane Pour Moi. It’s way better when it isn’t chopped up into three second clips.
Is Gossip Girl‘s target audience really jonesing for French punk rock? Excuse me, Belgian punk rock? I suppose it’s not impossible. The current generation of tastemakers does seem to love all things Franco-American (insert Spaghetti-O’s joke here). But I’m guessing that it’s just a case of the show’s music supervisor slipping a fast one past the network machine, which does sometimes happen. After all, The Flaming Lips showed up on 90210, and The Sopranos once featured the phat dodecaphonic beats of Anton Webern. Anyway, it’s a killer song. Thank you, sleazy television, for reminding me of its existence.
Now, what’s interesting is that Ca Plane Pour Moi is itself kind of a cleaned up cover version of a much dirtier song by Elton Motello called Jet Boy Jet Girl (Bertrand was Motello’s drummer when the song was written, I believe). Here’s a live performance of that song on what seems to be the punk-rock German equivalent of American Bandstand (this clip is mind blowing).
The chorus in this version is “Woo hoo hoo hoo/ he gives me head.” Now, this seems much more in line with Gossip Girl‘s ad campaign than Bertrand’s version, which is about God only knows what, and can’t be understood by the American public anyway. Is it possible that we were supposed to recognize the fairly obscure new wave hit, connect it to it’s utterly obscure source text, and experience the commercial’s soundtrack as a TV-friendly reference to oral sex?
(Answer: No. Absolutely not. But the commercial is far more interesting if you make the connection anyway, so I say go for it.)