Video: Sebastien Tellier, “Sexual Sportswear”

January 04, 2008

Just a warning, we guess this video is kind of sort of Not Safe For Work, but mostly it's fine. Is it wrong that we kind of want to be Sebastien Tellier? We're growing our beards and hair and probably (hopefully) soaking ourselves in whiskey and lavender twice a day.

Check out Peter Macia's Gen F on Tellier from F51 (on stands right now and available for free download here) after the jump.

Doing It

The soft focus sex jams of Sebastien Tellier
Story Peter Macia
Photography Claudine Doury

When I ask Sebastien Tellier how he will translate his new album Sexuality to a live audience, he tells me, “I will try to bring the audience to several climaxes in one hour’s time.” Promises, promises. Recent trends of cartoonish, oversexed mid-tempo grinds—from club music to commercial R&B, from Uffie to Spank Rock to J Holiday—are better for teaching us how to hump furniture than each other. But Tellier’s Sexuality, produced entirely by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk (of boudoir masterpiece Discovery), is the aural equivalent of a third date: horny, corny, awkward at times, but ultimately all about seduction. “I wanted to record erotic music,” he says from Paris, “I wanted to have fun, play with a current mood, but make it very personal. Making music that makes people want to have sex is what I wanted to do.”

Sexuality throbs and pulses (this is getting gross, but it’s accurate) with the late-Daft Punk cheap synths and drum machines that some have come to hate, but it’s not computer love. Before even approaching de Homem-Christo and convincing him to produce over “a couple glasses of champagne,” Tellier worked on the album for a year, whittling it down to songs that follow in the Serge Gainsbourg tradition of smoldering, ribald pop trysts, the key ingredient of which is lingering melodies and cheeky lyrics that stick in your mind longer than your last dalliance. Tellier named songs “L’Amour et La Violence” (“Love and Violence”), “Une Heure” (“One Hour”) and “Fingers of Steel”—implicitly filthy somehow—and sings them in a salacious whisper. De Homem-Christo, for his part, enlists young women to sigh, giggle and coo for “Pomme” and “Manty.” On the former, Tellier is accompanied by a moaning mademoiselle while singing various come-ons in English, approximating some kind of wonderland where Air Supply covers Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Do Me.” The latter is composed almost entirely of him hiccupping in either French (or Italian?) to the rhythm of another girl’s coquettish laugh.

Sexuality is the record to put on when you’re about to pull some risqué shit with someone you might actually want to see again, like not wearing underwear to dinner. It is romantic, conducive to slow dancing in satinwear, and goes remarkably well with sparkling wine. It lights the flame. It might even make you look better.

Video: Sebastien Tellier, “Sexual Sportswear”