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06-09-2006
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Charlotte Gainsbourg- 5:55
There is a thread about her already in the Star Style area but i thought we could have this one to talk specifically about her new album.

I got it a few days ago and it's just wonderful, not that the result was unexpected considering the people she got to work with during the process [Nigel Godrich, Air, etc].

In my humble opinion , i think it's going to be one of the best releases of the year. Everything I cannot see is already a highlight for me.



[amazon]

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06-09-2006
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from The Guardian UK.



Quote:
5:55 arrives just after tribute album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, a disaster of a magnitude unseen in France since the Seventh Panzer Division turned up. It reached some kind of nadir with Cat Power and supermodel Karen Elson's Je T'Aime ... Moi Non Plus, a legendary erotic duet that could have sounded less erotic only if sung by Chas and Dave.

After that, things could only get better, and so it proves. Nevertheless, 5:55 audibly springs from the same reverential impulse. There are tracks here that are not a direct homage to Gainsbourg Sr - the hypnotic guitars and woozy synthesizers of The Operation and the limpid ballad Beauty Mark among them - but his ghost is never far away. There's a distinctive, familiar smell of Gitanes and whisky about proceedings. The languidly funky drums and serpentine basslines, the orchestrations that swell from discrete shimmer to dramatic swoon, the rolling piano figures, the smuttily punning title of Nocturnal Intermission - all of them evoke Gainsbourg's late 1960s/early 1970s purple patch. Charlotte's vocals, meanwhile, manage to recall both her parents: the jolly-hockey-sticks enunciation and passing acquaintance with pitch sounds like her mother, the breathiness and semi-spoken delivery her father.
What stops 5:55 being a well-meaning pastiche, what makes the album touching rather ghoulish, is the sheer quality of the songwriting. Charlotte Gainsbourg is, it seems, a difficult customer in front of the microphone - she apparently overcame her shyness by singing while hidden under a sheet - but her reticence seems to have forced everyone else involved to the top of their game. Exquisite melodies and heart-stopping choruses abound: there's a particularly thrilling example of the latter on the breathless Everything I Cannot See. As lyricists, Cocker and Hannon are on rare form as anyone who's heard the former's remarkable download single Running the World and A Lady of a Certain Age, the tear-jerking centrepiece of the recent Divine Comedy album, will attest. Accordingly, the best lyrics here are fascinating. The Operation pitches its medical metaphor just right: "Our love goes under the knife/ The heart was rejected by the host." AF607105 examines the ineffable melancholy of air travel, hardly a topic regularly touched on in rock. It's a genuinely delightful album, but also a puzzling one. Given her discomfort in the studio and reticence regarding her father - she refuses to discuss him in public "for my own sake" - you have to wonder why on earth Charlotte Gainsbourg made the album. An acclaimed and successful actress, she hardly needs a new career. There is no talk of a follow-up. The reason for 5:55's existence remains a mystery, but it's hard not to feel glad it exists.
[guardian.co.uk/charlottegainsbourg.fr]

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06-09-2006
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behave missmag , your post was much better and had credited...the writer.

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06-09-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MulletProof
There is a thread about her already in the Star Style area but i thought we could have this one to talk specifically about her new album.


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06-09-2006
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I adore the album but that was not unexpected because I admire many of the wonderful people who were involved in the album's production. (Air, Jarvis Cocker, Nigel Godrich)

I am so happy it exists! - it is very Charlotte but also reminiscent of Serge. The lyrics are wonderful, amusing but most of all whimsical but very relatable.

This album and Thom Yorke's The Eraser have been such wonderful discovery's for me this year. Both are filled with themes of loss and abandonment in what is a strange world but both offer much hope. I am sure these songs will take a firm place in life. After all, music is the soundtrack to life.

Yvan must be so proud of Charlotte


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Quote:
Originally Posted by MulletProof
Everything I cannot see is already a highlight for me.

It is an amazing song - it makes ones heart skip a beat.
Thanks MulletProof for the thread!

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06-09-2006
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thank you for writing such a wonderful post, walrus, it's very true what you say, in all aspects. charlotte's honesty in everything that she does is something i have always admired about her.
and it's certainly been a good year for beautiful music. not that there's ever a bad year..more like bad lurkers . but this year, it seems to have gotten some well-deserved attention..thom on top of US charts..johnny cash..bob dylan..it's really impressing. i hope more people take notice on charlotte's album as well since it's really worth listening..

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07-09-2006
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videos!
The songs that we sing.

TV story about her new album.

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07-09-2006
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another interview from early this month.

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07-09-2006
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Thankyou dear Mulletproof.
I was looking for the videos.
Cheers!


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08-09-2006
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August 27, 2006
timesonline.co.uk

No pain, no gain

She’s her father’s daughter all right. Charlotte Gainsbourg is turning her hand, reluctantly, to pop — with superb results. Dan Cairns gets behind her


Ducking and diving through the traffic towards the appointed meeting place, the taxi passes Rue de Verneuil. This is the Paris street where Charlotte Gainsbourg’s father, Serge, lived, and in which, in 1986, he devised his daughter’s debut album, Charlotte For Ever. She was already two years into her film career by then, with three roles and a César award to her name. She was just 15.

Twenty years later, she is — with efficiency and good grace, but little enthusiasm — promoting her return to the recording studio. It has resulted in her superbly dark and murky new album, 5:55, which is as intriguingly offbeat as her films. Ensconced in the boutique Rue du Bac hotel she uses as a base for what she clearly regards as an ordeal, Gainsbourg sits across the table with a cup of tea and an expression that suggests someone poised at the crease, waiting for a tricky delivery. You can see at once the watchfulness and deceptive passiveness she has brought to many of her film roles. (Her performance this year in Dominik Moll’s psychodrama Lemming was a strong example.) “I did interviews for my first films when I was 14,” she says, “and it was awful. I hated having to answer questions. People wanted to get too intimate, so I put up a barrier from the beginning.”

She talks like this a lot, in sentences abounding with the precise vowel sounds of her mother, Jane Birkin, yet with the higgledy-piggledy grammar that betrays the fact she has lived in France all her life. It seems refreshingly like unedited candour at first; later, you begin to appreciate the subtlety and firmness of her approach, how fleet of foot she is. In fairness, she’s probably being both artful and artless. Ask her if she’s having to learn to consider herself as a singer too, now, and she says: “No, but it took me a very long time even being able to accept saying that I feel like I am an actress, because I always felt like an imposter. So in the same way, no, I don’t feel like a singer.” This doesn’t, she says, concern her in the least.

Gainsbourg isn’t entirely insouciant. She flew to America when she was seven months pregnant with her second child to audition for the movie 21 Grams; filming began only weeks after her daughter was born. And she admits to incubating the idea of a return to music-making some time before the French electro-pop duo Air contacted her with the same idea. Nonetheless, it sounds like a fraught experience, with the producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Paul McCartney) having to cajole performances out of her.

“I was so shy,” she says. “It was difficult to see how I would get there, because my voice was shaky and I didn’t have any breath. We tried all sorts of things to make me a little freer. Drinking: that didn’t work. Hiding behind a sheet: that worked. Anything to make me a bit more comfortable.” Part of you wants to say “Oh, get on with it” when you hear this. Her remark several years ago — “I have no imagination: for the piano (she is an accomplished musician), I can’t improvise; for acting, I need a director and a text; all I do is follow other people’s ideas” — can elicit a similar response. Yet Gainsbourg’s shyness is not of the attention-seeking, “come-and-get-me” variety you often encounter in actors and singers. Rather, it seems to spring — small wonder — from a childhood spent in the shadow of at least one, and possibly two, extremely needy parents (Je T’Aime... Moi Non Plus was only the start of it), and under a spotlight whose glare arguably deprived her of anything approaching a normal growth trajectory.

It’s a tribute to her, then, that she is so entirely unfinished, unpolished, even. There are few niceties. She answers unwelcome inquiries with a rebarbative “Why?”, a wary, drawn-out “Right” or sometimes simply “No, no, no”. She has an infectious, conspiratorial laugh, though it is as often a portent of evasive tactics as it is a sign of amusement.

Gainsbourg has often referred, without any apparent self-pity, to a lack of friends in her life. “But it’s the way I am,” she says. “People have friends since their childhood. Well, I changed school every year.” She pauses. “In order, maybe, not to ever have friends. I don’t know.” She comes back to this later, almost as if she’s annoyed that some threads of ambiguity have been left trailing. “From the very beginning,” she recalls, “when I was quite small, I protected myself. I don’t feel I had a tough childhood, although I remember people saying awful things about my parents.

It was a bit shocking, what they did, how they appeared and all that. So, of course, I shut myself off, and people didn’t, they couldn’t...” She leaves another thread hanging. Didn’t try to be her friend, or couldn’t because she stopped them? She looks as if she’s swallowing a hot potato. “Yeah,” she stonewalls, with finality.

Growing up in France, Gainsbourg witnessed the scandal that her father’s alcohol-fuelled activities attracted (not least his duet with his then 13-year-old daughter on the song Lemon Incest, with an accompanying video that showed them cavorting, semi-clothed, on a bed). But this was balanced by a respect for his genius for les chansons français that bordered on adulation, and certainly skimmed over some of his excesses. British attitudes were far more hostile — shaped, in part, by a feeling that this bug-eyed French toad had somehow corrupted the utterly English, and apparently irreproachable, Birkin, but also by a sense that Gainsbourg was all shock tactics and no depth.

Somewhere in the middle was probably right. But what the Brits consequently missed was Serge’s own innate shyness behind the mask of mayhem. Accordingly, we’ve found it harder to comprehend the same trait in his daughter. When I raise this, a sudden froideur descends upon the room. “I try not to refer to him too much,” she whispers. “For my own sake.” She has spent years attempting to secure funding to turn her father’s house into a museum, a campaign that is, at last, showing signs of bearing fruit. But she and her boyfriend of 15 years, the actor and director Yvan Attal, have recently talked about a move abroad. “It’s a wish I really have,” she says with unusual force. “Just to move.”

Discussing how French, or how English, she feels, she answers, revealingly: “The English was really my mother, it was never me. Because, being the daughter of my father, I always felt very French. I can see what my mother gave me, what she made me listen to or see — very English things, like Morecambe and Wise. But with the English, I’m not really comfortable.”

On 5:55, the lyrics — most of them in English, and chiefly written by the former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker — provide plenty of scope for forensic biographical sifting. Gainsbourg attempted to write some herself, but settled for discussing the subject matter with Cocker. The song Little Monsters addresses playground taunts; Beauty Mark includes the line “Your leading lady needs direction”. And the key track, Everything I Cannot See, finds Gainsbourg eschewing the breathy mooching of much of the rest of the album in favour of a vocal stridency that, tellingly, features her most clipped, Birkinesque delivery. Forced to battle against an anarchically discordant piano part, she sounds, at last, like a singer rather than a hoarse whisperer. “I’m very proud of it,” she says with rare gusto. “It’s stupid to say this, but it’s like violent scenes in films, where you just forget, you have to dive in. That was the same. I just had to dive in, and it would be all right. Or not.”

Musically, the album — which also contains contributions from the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, the Nigerian drummer Tony Allen and Beck’s father, the string arranger David Campbell — is awash with noirish sound devices, giving off a strong air of illicitness and assumed identity of which Gainsbourg’s father would surely have approved. More a short-let tenancy than total artistic immersion, Gainsbourg’s occupancy of 5:55 is captivating but tantalising. Briefly, she’s presented as a recording artist.

Next month, her role in Michel Gondry’s new film, The Science of Sleep, will position her once more as an actor. As so often with her, what she seems to be holding back is as thought-provoking as what she delivers, if not more so. You wonder how proud she is of the album, how much other people’s reactions will colour her own estimation of what she has created. “That doesn’t bother me,” she says firmly. As a self-protective mantra, it’s a strong statement. Yet, even now, she sounds as if she’s trying to convince herself that it’s true.

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08-09-2006
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thanks missmagaddict! i didn't know she's going to be in the science of sleep! all the more reason to watch that film. i can't wait to get my hands on her new album.

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08-09-2006
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missmag!! , what a great interview!, i just finished reading it. i'd like to quote factory girl's favorite phrase and say "i dont think i could love her more if i tried'' :p .
i love how she's so prudent in her words..and elegant in the way she leads the interviews..and the all I do is follow other people’s ideas felt slightly familiar.. ..which gives me a bit of hope.

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08-09-2006
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^ it's always good to have some optimism. she's very elegant and eloquent and very charming.

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charming yes. . i dont think one could ever hate her. unless you're deaf! [scroll down, last comment ].

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