How “L'amour Toujours” Became Hyperpop Canon

Some might say it’s an overstatement to call Gigi D’Agostino’s “L’amour Toujours” the greatest choice for the end credits segment of a movie ever. They’re wrong. After Uncut Gems’ 2 hours and 15 minutes of extreme chaos and stress, “L’amour Toujours” is a more than welcome burst of joy and kitschy dance music. The Eurodance track’s lively synth patterns and contagious hook allow the viewer’s jaw to unclench after the distressing and visceral ending of the film.

Uncut Gems L'amour Toujours graphic

Graphic by Zoe Axelrod

Uncut Gems, directed by the Safdie brothers, follows jeweler and gambling addict Howard Ratner, played by Adam Sandler, as he makes bad bet after bad investment after bad decision in the nonstop thrill ride of a film. The movie’s pacing and tense score are enough to make anyone sick to their stomach, but Sandler’s performance, the film’s breathtaking visuals, and incredible supporting cast (including The Weeknd and the hugely talented Idina Menzel), make it near impossible to look away. The choice of “L’amour Toujours” as the credits song is not just a successful one because the song is amazing, but because its cheesiness makes it feel like both the antithesis and the thesis of the entire film at once.

“I was just kind of obsessed with it right away.” Umru said of his first experience watching Uncut Gems and hearing D’Agostino’s song after the film ends. “My friend had played me that song, a little bit before I heard it in the movie, so I just kind of vaguely recognized it. But it was obviously the perfect choice after that whole film.”

While the song had a resurgence in general popular culture after the film’s premiere in December 2019, no community has embraced it quite like Twitter’s collective of hyperpop producers and artists. Umru featured the song at in-person shows as early as the few pre-coronavirus months in 2020, Alice Gas released a remix of it to her SoundCloud, and Fraxiom, with the help of Umru and Gupi, released their own cover of “L’amour Toujours,” titled “fly with ü.”

“L’amour Toujours” has gotten its accolades over the years since its 2000 debut previous to hyperpop’s embrace of it. It became a huge hit in the American club scene, and was extremely popular internationally in 2001, particularly in Europe and Asia. According to the song’s Wikipedia page, it is sampled heavily in Far East Movement song “Fly With U,” and Basshunter’s “Dream on the Dancefloor.”

Uncut Gems’ directors Josh and Benny Safdie, who are longtime appreciators of electronic music, entrusted Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never with the production of the film’s score. In an interview with Monica Castillo of Billboard, Lopatin explained the choice of “L’amour Toujours,” saying: “If you've seen the film, there’s this really amazing Gigi D'Agostino song at the very end over the credits that is like a wild palate cleanser, like you just experienced all this shit and then there's just weird early-‘90s trance.”

“The lyrics to that song are, for lack of a better word, deep but cheesy,” Josh Safdie continued. “That's kind of Howard in a sense.”

Umru also admitted that the song’s cheesiness is a draw, and that the melody is a major sticking point. “I'm sure the movie had a huge effect on people; everyone suddenly recognized that song and melody. The placement of it in the movie is so, so genius. I don't know if it was OPN [Lopatin] who scored the movie, his decision, or just the directors, or whoever, to put that after the super tense, stressful score of the movie. I mean, it is just a good pop melody, it's such a catchy melody.”

In creating “fly with ü” with Fraxiom and Gupi, they had to essentially remake the song from scratch, he says. This did not deter the team from creating a unique cover and a standout track on Fraxiom’s Feeling Cool and Normal.

“When we were going to put it out on streaming, we had to make it a cover, not a sample.” Umru said. “That was actually really hard. And that's something that Gupi tried to help with as well. Gupi ended up doing more of the end of the song, just the crazy, 404 bit. It's such a simple sound, like, I'm sure there's just a preset somewhere that sounds exactly like it. But I was just trying to remake that sound from scratch to make it as similar as possible.”

Alice Gas has been a fan of the song since childhood, she said, describing the first time she heard it as a kid. “It's been one of my favorite songs for a while. I think I first heard it, when, I don't even know how old I was. It was on YouTube, and it was just called ‘L’amour Toujours Techno Remix.’ It didn't say who it was by or anything. It was just a trance remix of the song, and that was the first time I heard the melody. It's been one of my favorite songs for a long time. It's a huge influence on me.”

In an interview with Consequence of Sound’s Lior Phillips, Daniel Lopatin discussed his process in creating the soundtrack for Uncut Gems, but also examined music outside the bounds of genre and context, something that many hyper-online genres of music like hyperpop and vaporwave have been at the forefront of.

“My intention was never to reassess Muzak-y, terrible music, but at the same time there were honest-to-goodness moments on some of those records that just blew my mind,” Lopatin said about “the Euphoria of Bargain Bin New Age CDs.” “They were so meaningful to me.”

“I’d walk into a record store as a college kid in western Mass. and nobody was buying or looking in the sections with the throwaway ECM Records and all that stuff.” He said. “It was just kind of sitting there in a cutout bin, and I just liked the idea that I could grab 20 of them for next to nothing, and just dig through them looking for these euphoric moments. I was hunting for those moments, trying to get in touch with them and let them inspire me.”

Lopatin’s intentions, whether it be with Oneohtrix Point Never or with his scoring work for the Safdie brothers, seem very similar in many ways to the reclamation of the cheesy, corny, hyper-meta, and ultra-ironic influences in the genre of hyperpop. While Alice Gas and Umru are stylistically quite different producers, they were both drawn to the magnetic qualities D’Agostino brings to the song. The popularity of “L’amour Toujours” among the peers of these artists is not surprising to either of them, as they explain why the makers and listeners of hyperpop have latched on to it.

“I was talking to 99jakes about this, cause it's [one of] both of our favorite songs.” Alice explained. “Just that lead melody sounds good on any instrument in any context, like you can put fuckin’ 808’s on it, you can make a hard-ass hardcore song with it. It's just, in my opinion, the perfect melody, just simple, you know, get the job done.”

“Everyone in the scene is trying to make the catchiest melody.” Umru says. “And it is an embracing of a cheesy melody. It's super simple, and it's almost corny. The kind of thing that maybe like other scenes of music pass off as not valuable ‘cause it's too obvious. It's too poppy. But, obviously, this scene loves stuff like that.”

While the online obsession with Uncut Gems has subdued somewhat throughout the year, both the film and “L’amour Toujours” have been cemented into the hyperpop canon for years to come. Things move and change quickly in this scene online, but in a dismal year, the embrace of the song has been a source of joy.

Post a Comment

My Instagram

Copyright © Ringtone Mag.