Song of the Day: Patrick Coutin “J’aime Regarder Les Fille”
Patrick Coutin‘s “J’aime Regarder Les Fille” is more than a little sleazy, but it also is a great punk/ early post-punk anthem. The song celebrates the virtues of the sun, the summer and the eternal art of girl watching at the beach. It also features a bouncy bass-line, a catchy chorus and eventually a very post-punk fuzzy surf guitar freak out. The guitar part comes off quietly, beginning with just the odd heavily reverbed stinger here and there before the full sonic onslaught begins. In many ways, the song is a honeypot. It lulls you in to thinking the song is merely a slightly lecherous though mostly harmless celebration of girl watching before providing what amounts to a stinging commentary and counterpoint to what the song describes, punctuated by frustration embodied in the aforementioned guitar freakout. Coutin then is a lot more clever than the lecher that the song initially portrays him as. Instead, Coutin is well-aware of the intrusive quality of the male gaze and more than willing to confront it. The song then is a great post-punk anthem in that it is transgressive but also in that it further provides self-aware commentary upon that transgression.
The song is also a perfect soundtrack for summertime and the rebellious spirit embodied by the French holiday of Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of an infamous prison during the French Revolution. While the actual storming of the Bastille ended up being something of a non-event in real life – many of the political prisoners, including the Marquis de Sade, had been released ahead of time, with the French Revolutionaries ended up taking the mostly abandoned prison relatively easily, only to find a handful of prisoners who mostly suffered from insanity – the act proved to be hugely symbolically important. To many it remains an important symbolic act of rebellion that was an important milestone for the French Revolution and represented an innate rebellious spirit in the French that continued to fire through the Paris Student Protests in 1968 and more than a decade after that through the European Punk movement. As such, Patrick Coutin‘s transgressive pop song remains just an update of the same spirit that helped fire the French Revolution.