Track Listing (key track in bold)
2. Ballade de Melody Nelson
3. Valse de Melody
4. Ah Melody
5. L’hotel Particulier
6. En Melody
7. Cargo Culte
As part of my review of the Serge Gainsbourg biopic, Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique, I thought I would do a 2 for 1 review with his most critically acclaimed album. And what an album it is. Every artist has their masterpiece, and this is Gainsbourg’s.
The whole album is done and dusted in less than half an hour, but is still bookended by a couple of seven minute epics. The first song, Melody, is the best of the lot in my opinion. Seriously, the string work is stunningly atmospheric on this. Outside of classical and cinematic pieces, this has to be up there as one of the best uses I’ve heard. In fact, the song has been sampled numerous times by DJ’s such as David Holmes.
The album is a supposed concept album (any French speakers out there can be the judge, as I don’t actually know what the lyrics are!) about a girl, Melody Nelson who is ‘played’ by Gainsbourg’s then muse Jane Birkin (that’s her on the cover). There are some really funky songs on here played by some top session musicians, but also some really nice tender moments as well, and also a track which seemingly just features Jane Birkin laughing (it wouldn’t be Serge without some odd moments)!
I can’t speak highly enough about this album and it’s production values. I guess, being from the English speaking world it won’t be for everyone, but it is equal to almost any other works created by famous artists around that time.