Histoire de Melody Nelson - Serge Gainsbourg
Histoire de Melody Nelson Image
Metascore
96

Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

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  • Summary: The US release of Serge Gainsbourg's 1971 album featuring Jane Birkin in the classic Ballade de Melody Nelson.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. This is genre-defying music, but anyone with an interest in hearing a blueprint for trip hop or a master class in the depiction of desire in pop music, should be sure to listen to this mysterious, timeless, contradictory album.
  2. Frequently labeled as a lecherous rogue or public provocateur, Gainsbourg is also one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and this masterpiece is the proof.
  3. 100
    This reissue on luxuriously hefty vinyl is the first time the album's been released in the U.S.--a superb opportunity to hear a record that's been occasionally imitated but never matched.
  4. Andy Votel’s encyclopedic liner notes and a Gainsbourg interview make this version the definitive reissue for the as-yet unsullied.
  5. As a concept album, listeners will need to forgo Gainsbourg's typical mixed bag of song structures within an album in favor of more similar songs threaded with recurring musical motifs. [Spring 2009, p.80]
  6. 80
    It's blend of whispered poesy, free-form rock, and orchestration, by Jean Claude Vannier, is much celebrated and sampled. this reissue provides a definitive account of its making. [May 2009, p.86]
  7. Gainsbourg's whispered nothings are mystery no more, translated here alongside the French lyrics. While there are no bonus tracks, the accompanying booklet features extensive essays from music writer Andy Beta and electronic musician Andy Votel.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. JamesM
    Apr 28, 2009
    10
    This is a monster.
  2. DanD
    May 26, 2009
    10
    A perfect mix of music, texture and mood. The music perfectly reflects the mood and the evocative meaning of the text, also perfect. Very A perfect mix of music, texture and mood. The music perfectly reflects the mood and the evocative meaning of the text, also perfect. Very much appreciated if you can understand the french subtelties, nothing's lost in the translation. Expand
  3. JimmyJim
    May 3, 2009
    10
    Few albums are as flawless as this one. When you listen to Cargo Culte, you just can't believe it was recorded in 1971! Many recent Few albums are as flawless as this one. When you listen to Cargo Culte, you just can't believe it was recorded in 1971! Many recent releases sound so dated compared to it. More important, the lyrics are true poetry. Expand
  4. AGuy
    May 5, 2009
    10
    Great string arrangements, amazing musicianship, and a unique concept. Gainsbourg entrances even those foreign to the language and creates Great string arrangements, amazing musicianship, and a unique concept. Gainsbourg entrances even those foreign to the language and creates France's masterpiece of the 20th century through kinky themes and a stalker's dispair. The length of the album is bittersweet - but just makes the whole album worth listening to several times. A cult classic in its own right. Expand
  5. ClifCarneiro
    May 24, 2009
    10
    Gainsbourg was and will always be seen as a creative and uber-talented guy. This concept album is pure genius! As PopMatters said, there are Gainsbourg was and will always be seen as a creative and uber-talented guy. This concept album is pure genius! As PopMatters said, there are sounds that were used 20 years later, in a music style called Trip-Hop, which has been my favourite music style since 4 or 5 years (even if there aren't a lot of genius artists in this style: Björk, Portishead, Massive Attack, Emilie Simon, Gorillaz, Goldfrapp, Air, ... are one of them, of course). Expand
  6. AUser
    Apr 28, 2009
    9
    A truly innovative album even by today's standards.
  7. jyotirmayadas
    May 5, 2009
    9
    It is really cool how an album like this - from forty years ago and in French - can grow on you. At first, it is so much hodge-podge, and It is really cool how an album like this - from forty years ago and in French - can grow on you. At first, it is so much hodge-podge, and then after reading more reviews and multiple listens, I "got" it. I am eager to read the lengthy booklet - w/interview Gainsbourg - and I am sure I will become further enthralled by this artist and his work. Expand