Friday, March 27th, 2009
Review of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson and giveaway
Cuaderno ContableThough Pitchfork’s double-whammy today of a perfect 10.0 score and “Best New Music” laurel certainly don’t hurt, the legend of Serge Gainsbourg’s 1971 album Le histoire de Melody Nelson was well-established. Tremendously influential and infamously lecherous, the musical tale of an affair between an older French gentleman and teenage girl is a notorious one – even if you haven’t heard the record, you’ve heard OF the record.
It’s difficult to come up with words to describe the album. The proper adjectives – seedy, creepy, sleazy, debauched – all seem like negative descriptors but in this context, they imply perfection. It’s all deliberate and perfectly arranged with the orchestral strings, greasy funk guitar and most importantly Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s voices – the embodiment of lech and ingenue respectively – bring their story vividly to life. Even if you don’t speak French, and I don’t think that they would have taught me the necessary vocabulary in my 9th grade class, the record gets the message across musically and by the end of its sub-30 minute running time, you’re left feeling not a little bit dirty. Which I suspect is entirely the point.
Though it’s been almost 40 years since the album’s release, it’s only just been released in North America for the first time in deluxe CD form, with extensive liner notes, and heavyweight vinyl. And, courtesy of Light In The Attic, I’ve got a prize pack consisting of both the digital and analog forms of the album, along with a limited-edition poster, to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “Je veux l’histoire de Melody Nelson” in the subject line and your full name and address in the body. Contest is open to residents of North America and notes that though the CD was released this week, the LP has been delayed till mid-May so if you win, that’ll come a bit later. But in the meantime, watch the video clips made for each song on the album by Jean-Christophe Averty. And then wash your hands.
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Ballade de Melody Nelson”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Valse de Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Ah Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “L’Hotel particulier”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “En Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Cargo Culte”
Thanks to a commenter yesterday for pointing out that the forthcoming Wilco live doc Ashes Of American Flags, out on DVD April 18, will be getting a couple theatrical screenings in Toronto in May as part of Hot Docs. The band have also posted a bit of a news update with regards to the new album, narrowing down the release date to “late June” (which I’m guessing means June 23) and a track listing, though not in sequence.
Santigold is at the Phoenix with a full band on June 3.