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Charlotte Gainsbourg: Rest

Charlotte Gainsbourg
Rest
(Because)

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Charlotte Gainsbourg presents a swirly, dark mess (and I mean that in the best way possible) of 11 songs on her latest release, Rest. Mostly sung in French, the singer/songwriter/actress/daughter of the infamous enfant terrible, Serge Gainsbourg, presents an intimate peek into her emotional state, as she mines nearly horror movie soundtrack territory, sweeping string synths, and arpeggio keys.

“Ring-a-Ring o’Roses” opens with those swirling strings and arpeggios in high evidence, Gainsbourg employing her signature whisper vocal here. “Lying With You” follows with an incessant piano arpeggio, big low string strikes, and even more kinetic vocals. This one really does sound like the theme from a horror movie. The switch from French in the verses to English in the choruses is interesting as well.

Gainsbourg sings a downward scale of a melody matching piano (on the verses at least) on the disco beat of “Deadly Valentine.” This slip into electronica dance presents a great low bass flump. Meanwhile, “I’m A Lie,” sees Gainsbourg’s orgasmic vocals. A great growling bass, and different sounding plinky keys give this one a lilting sing-song-y vibe.

The only tune Gainsbourg didn’t write is the pretty much straight-ahead disco-rocker, “Songbird in a Cage.” Its writer, Paul McCartney, (yes, that Sir Paul) plays piano (and lead piano lead too during the instrumental break) and drums and guitar under Gainsbourg’s spoken verse and sung chorus. This sounds positively Blondie. It’s a great tune that the ‘cute’ Beatle wrote especicially for Gainsbourg.

Produced with French electronic musician SebastiAn, Rest is Charlotte Gainsbourg’s first new album in six years and rather a great effort.

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