Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Histoire de Melody Nelson SERGE GAINSBOURG
"Histoire de Melody Nelson" is a powerful piece of work by Serge Gainsbourg with arranger and orchestra conductor Jean-Claude Vannier released in 1971. Jane Birkin is the voice of Melody Nelson (age 15) and Serge is the character who accidentally crashes his Rolls into Melody's bicycle and thus begins their 'Lolita-esque' romance until Melody's life is cut short in a tragic plane crash. After the LP's release, a short film featuring all of the songs was made called "Melody." It is included on the 2 DVD compilation that's currently available as an import (and is a must for any Gainsbourg fan).
The music is picturesque on its own with the basis of the band being funky bass and drums with a ripping guitarist. Add a string section and Serge narrates and sings. The opening is triumphant ("Melody") and Vannier's "Ballade De Melody Nelson" has Jane Birkin melodically singing her character's name and that will be stuck in your head for days. The band jams on the nearly instrumental "En Melody" and there's even a choir added on "Cargo Culte" finishing up a quick musical journey that's both ahead of its time and uncategorizable. The sounds are haunting and groovy, translating well even if you can't speak French. CLASSIC Gainsbourg.