long before she was the impossibly intriguing love interest in the science of sleep, before she was in 21 grams, charlotte gainsbourg was just (no, never just!) the daughter of serge gainsbourg and jane birkin.
i continue to be surprised by the great reach of the weirdo-musician-with-hot-woman phenomenon. it's easy enough to explain (talent, charisma, attention, drugs, temporary insanity...) but that doesn't mean it necessarily makes sense. nonetheless, without this phenomenon, the world wouldn't have charlotte gainsbourg, and we'd be poorer for it. so to all you weirdo musicians out there who may someday record a song called lemon incest with your daughter: i salute you??
anyway. this is not about serge, who was an intriguing, widely-influenced musician who managed to stir up controversy at every turn. maybe not musical controversy, but controversy all the same.
this is not even about jane, who is a talented human, humanitarian, and also a serious weirdo in her own right. (although that bit about naming her nipples gestures at a fairly interesting woman, don't you think?) so it all sort of makes sense when you think about the fact that she was married to a man who sang a song about anise lollipops as a metaphor for um... well, surely you can figure out what "ani loves suckers" might indicate.
anyway. this is about charlotte, wonderful charlotte, who managed to walk away from that train wreck of an origin story with an absolutely amazing range of talent. there's the whole movie thing...
and then there's her music. 5:55, is in pretty much constant rotation as far as my listening habits go.
when it came out in 2006, people mentioned it being her first album in 20 years.
for a woman born in 1971, that has a special ring to it in and of itself.
the album begins with the lovely, haunting, eponymous track, which may or may not slip right past your consciousness. in fact, that's something this album as a whole can do - it will either push in between your ribs like a knife and pierce your heart, or it will breeze right past you, a breathy, french ode to love and lust and heartbreak and the mystery that is life.
it should be mentioned that the music for this album is provided by air - which may or may not give you some perspective as to where it all comes from.
charlotte's voice is breathy, sensual, sweet, often shy, a lot like her mother's and, without a doubt, totally foreign. it always seems (to me, anyway...) that the greatest gift that multilingual lyricists give us is perspective - seeing and hearing things through foreign filters, but in our own tongue. this whole album is a range of such revelations, with songs like beauty mark and set yourself on fire, both of which are ultimately, heartbreakingly human.
but the star of the show? the one that stops my heart, that makes me put this whole album on repeat for hours on end?
please to enjoy:
2 months ago