Charlotte Gainsbourg
Rest


4.0
excellent

Review

by owl beanie STAFF
December 12th, 2017 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is not an album about death; it's an album about living with it.

Ring-a-ring O’ Roses, the opener on Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Rest, does its best to table-set; that is, the instrumental and the hook both seem to establish a languid feel that not only overpowers all else that may lurk, but spans an entire era of the artist’s life. In reaction to what? “The ghosts that followed her in Paris”, Pitchfork reckons, or -- if you please -- Consequence of Sound’s more explicit: “the tragic passing” of both her sister and father. Both phrasings are more than fair -- loss on that scale must turn one’s chest to landfill. It must also imbue their words with an inextricable sorrow.

This album, most certainly, is sorrowful, but it’s a sorrow communicated by a very, very tired human being. She's not given up, per se -- the ebullient synths on this thing delineate a willingness to carry on; it's more the realisation that life will never be the same again, living with ghosts, as it were. Even as she attempts to dance the sadness away in Sylvia Says, there transpires not much room to move, wedged between the stunning resignation of the title track and the antithetical themes imparted in Songbird In a Cage. When I think about it, the borrowing of that famous nursery rhyme in the opener augurs that resignation; it positions grief centre-stage with a double entendre, invoking her father’s memory through the use of the nursery, and illustrating the acceptance of loss by replicating its notably blasé delivery. As if there's no use welling up anymore.

A pocket full of posies / we all fall down. Oh well, it happens.

Serge Gainsbourg’s influence is felt here, but if I might be so bold, his significance takes more abstract forms: the anecdote behind a lyric, the tendency to splinter and stretch a base emotion (bereavement, in this instance) in so many different directions, and/or treating it with some irony (the fact that the most intimate kind of sadness shakes at the epicentre of these occasionally grand compositions is as beautiful as it is disarming). If this record were represented by an arc, I’d expect to find Charlotte somewhere at the bottom, but only as she begins to attempt her ascent back to a point where the most recent trauma – her sister’s passing, from my understanding -- doesn’t follow her around like two anchors tied tightly around her ankles. I’ve found myself at this conclusion because it’s the only way I can reconcile such a heavy, exhausted/ing album with the inclusion of (dare I say it) jaunty and effervescent songs like Sylvia Says and Les crocodiles. The “ascent”, I think, is realised completely with Les oxalis -- easily the catchiest hook on the record, coated as it is in glitter and unmistakable joie de vivre.

The song, as it turns out, is about Charlotte visiting her sister’s grave.

While it distracts itself with intoxicating moments, and Gainsbourg’s delivery remains like the steam emanating from your morning coffee, Rest can’t help but return to where it began. It’s why it’s important, I think: such accurate portrayals of mourning are rare to come by – no less the ones that detail what it’s like years down the beaten path. Records like The Skeleton Tree are immediate reactions – raw, solely focused and incapable of stemming the bleeding, but this one colours in a different landscape; it’s passed through the seven stages before, and all of them still linger in its corners. Charlotte Gainsbourg deserves some Rest.

Ring-a-ring o' roses / a pocket full of posies / a tissue, a tissue / we all stay down.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


2425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i wish i knew what the kid is saying in the last track



alternate review: fuck ye album good!

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


19108 Comments


hoo boy

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


2425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh no what did i do

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


19108 Comments


You've unleashed a beast upon us, LandDiving, and you must atone...

...by bumping that Blemish rating

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


2425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AH you've given me another album i need to return to tonight : ) bless ur soul

luci
December 12th 2017


11943 Comments


"deadly valentine" is awesome

also this album has nothing to do with grief for me and likely won't for most non-french speakers. it's just well-executed indie pop

like I have no idea how this is heavy or exhausting at all. it's light listening for me lol

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


19108 Comments


better put on that frowny face cause you gonna be ~s a d~

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2017


2425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm SORRY alrite lucid jESUs

DoofusWainwright
December 12th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably one of the more upbeat albums I've listened to this year...but that's me saying that.



I certainly don't find this album 'heavy' in any way.



Was surprised I liked the album tbh...because I'm predisposed to not particularly liking her work based on previous experience.

RadicalEd
December 12th 2017


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, unfortunately this struck me as pleasant but somewhat inconsequential. I liked listening to it, but after three full spins I still don't really feel a strong attachment to any of the songs.

yanquiuxo
December 12th 2017


88 Comments


i'm in love with her

DoofusWainwright
December 12th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Biggest weakness of the album is it blends too much, for sure.



Biggest strength is the overall sound that just is 100 times more inviting than on her other albums, it's hard to pin down exactly how she' managed that. Her voice sounds particularly good here.

zakalwe
December 12th 2017


29042 Comments


Yeah her voice is enticing. Ring a ring a roses pocket full of Phwooorrrr!!!!

Evok
December 12th 2017


7746 Comments


Good album

polyrhythm
December 12th 2017


2117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great, even

Digging: Goat - World Music

DoofusWainwright
December 12th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sexiest voice this side of early Yumi Zouma stuff

DoofusWainwright
December 12th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice dig poly, Kitty's vocals aren't full blown sex but certainly give me a semi

polyrhythm
December 12th 2017


2117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

funny to see you naemdrop Yumi Zouma so often Doof, glad they've gotten some recognition outside of NZ

DoofusWainwright
December 12th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm a little disappointed in them in that I thought they had the potential to get a bit better, sort of Beach House level.



They could have dropped their own album as strong as, say, the Cigarettes After Sex. Instead they went a bit textbook synthy and got lost in the pool of 10,000 other bands trying to make it big with that sound.

DoofusWainwright
December 12th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their full album of cover versions of 'What's the Story (Morning Glory)' is soooooo much better than the Oasis original - for me :D



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