Not one wasted word or note – they all take you right into the heart of a hard but besotted man who believes the girl he’s obsessed with is both a straightforward simpleton and an unearthly, irresistible force that he can never understand.
His voice, crappy though it is, manipulates. In the "Valse de Melody", where he carries the tune as well as he can, the seconds where it breaks and snaps show us more desire than Ang Lee managed in three boring hours about star-crossed sheep herders sniffing each other’s shirts.
And the arrangement is flawless. This being Serge Gainsbourg, the hero of French pop, and it being the '70s, he got an orchestra to use as a simple backing to his vocal crackling and to the three piece band that drives the action and the tune.
He uses the orchestra not wastefully, but as one big ambient instrument helping beautifully bury the listener in the narrator’s perturbing emotions, letting the whole thing seem like a desperate quest not just to possess but to love.