The once shy poster girl, Charlotte Gainsbourg is now more than just a talented actor. She is the star of a number of award winning films and most recently part of two collaborations which took the Cannes Film Festival by storm.
These cinematic art house ventures included being at a wedding with Kirsten Dunst as the world comes to an end in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, and starring in Julie Bertuccelli’s second venture as a director, The Tree, in which she plays a widowed mother of two who sets off on a battle to preserve the memory of the family and the innocence of childhood.
…Gainsbourg’s claim to fame lies with her work as a musician.
It is no surprise however that Gainsbourg’s claim to fame lies with her work as a musician. It was after all with what she entered the industry and perhaps overshadowed out of France by her acting, she still helms much skill and originality in this medium; much like her father, Serge Gainsbourg.
Charlotte For Ever/Lemon Incest
With her first album, Charlotte managed to set off onto the scenery of sharp sound design and husky singing. The album, which was written with her father at the age of 25, has become somewhat forgotten now and disregarded as it is heavily overshadowed by what would follow in her successful collaborations with more contemporary artists.
The album comes across far more fresh than it should sound, after all it is from 1986, but it is unique with it’s tough editing on voice and sound, electronic touches and poetic post-modern lyrics with its all together modern feeling.
Like her father, Charlotte has never been shy of setting herself out as someone who clearly collaborates for the sake of art. Much like her film outings, the exemplar work of this process of development continues as she produces an album with the French duo Air.
Listening to it, one has to wonder where the pendulum of decisions went; was it Gainsbourg who decided to create a catastrophic narrative to The Operation? Or was it the duo who decided it best to create a key song regarding a beauty mark? Regardless, there is very little fuss in this album, everything is very well executed, measured, and perfectly tuned.
Charlotte’s voice is perfectly mesmerising…
Charlotte’s voice nonetheless is what makes it perfectly mesmerising and having now heard it, it is the one thing I feel Moon Safari by Air could have benedited from; a soft vocal which whispers inner secrets, sufferings and longings.
If 5:55 was anything to go by then it could only continue to get better, as with IRM, it is clear that it is exactly what happened. Gainsbourg enters even more personal ground than before, as she brings the subject of her MRI scans and the shock of brain haemorrhage, making the album more personal, rhythmic and playfully reassuring of soulful existence.
With Beck at hand and recording at his home studio, the album undergoes a shift away from her previous two albums, as it begins to sound more playful with instruments – perhaps even slightly reminiscent of Serge’s omnipresent musical ability.
…a seamless moment of emotion, more poetic than usual overpowering hints found in most pop hits.
The most memorable moment of the album by far is the closing moments of Heaven Can Wait and Time of the Assassins. With both, the songs stand out as heavenly hits of the album; as if it was with these breathes of fresh air the two have found their reassurance in the meaning of life and are able create something that is rarely achieved – a seamless moment of emotion that is more poetic than usual overpowering hints found in most pop hits.
Charlotte achieves a blossoming career, and proves time and time again that she will only continue to develop; as with her work as an actress, she settles for nothing short of greatness. Listening to her with headphones on, Charlotte whispers into your ear, making her music very intimate and personal, and it is this, the experience of personality that makes her so unique and passionate.
As Melancholia hits the cinemas, it is clearly something that she has already started to return to, with her new rhythmic and enchanting single Terrible Angels, which already looks to prove she is back to the brilliance she displayed with IRM.
Images courtesy of Charlotte Gainsbourg