Did I mention Figaro's stuff arrived Friday ? Today he let me know that l'Histoire de Melody Nelson was at the top of the biggest box. I haven't been able to stop listening.
Why I Hate l'Histoire de Melody Nelson
Une poupée qui perd l'équilibre, la jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs . . .
Fuck Serge Gainsbourg, that fucking voyeur pedophile satyromaniac. How can he objectify a fifteen year old he's just knocked off a bike with his Rolls like that? What sort of man writes a concept album about deflowering her and her subsequent death in an aeroplane accident, and then records his girlf having a shockingly piggy orgasm on track six to flesh it out? With his googly eyes and hideous looks, of course he would fantasize about some poor 'aimable petite conne' of a virgin who would fall hard enough for him to let him take advantage of her. And he sang on the album about as well as Leonard Cohen sings now. Except he actually tries to carry a tune. Fuck him. Evil shit like this is why NAMBLA is allowed to happen.
That having been said . . .
Why I completely fucking love l'Histoire de Melody Nelson
My god, Serge Gainsbourg made an enchantingly beautiful album about being a voyeur pedophile satyromaniac. I'm reminded of a story about Paul McCartney making a bet about being able to write a song about anything and coming up with one from Picasso's obituary. Except it embarrasses me to compare this with anything that came out of Paul McCartney even though I love the Beatles and think the Liverpool Oratorio was a cute . . . oh fuck, why am I still writing about Paul McCartney?
Outside of Jane Birkin squealing there's nothing pornographic about the sounds; the lines quoted above are the naughtiest. I don't write that to defend the album; I write that to exclaim over how the world of longing created here is all the more artful.
Not one wasted word or note - they all take you right into the heart of a hard but besotted man who believes the girl he's obsessed with is both a straightforward simpleton and an unearthly, irresistible force that he can never understand and that's too good for his world. His voice, sucky though it is, manipulates. In the Valse de Melody, where he carries the tune, the seconds where it breaks and snaps show us more desire than Ang Lee managed in Brokeback Mountain's 3 fucking hours of snooze. And the arrangement is flawless. This being Serge Gainsbourg, and it being the 70's, he got an orchestra to use as a simple backing to his vocal crackling and the three piece band that drives the action. And the orchestra is one big ambient instrument helping beautifully bury the listener in the narrator's perturbing emotions, letting the whole thing seem like a desperate quest not just to possess but to love.