Artist – Album: Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
Released: 4th December 2009
Sounds Like: Death defying music
Charlotte Gainsbourg – daughter of the orgasming ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’ couple Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – is lucky to be alive, let alone recording fragile yet optimistic electropop with indie hero Beck. In September 2007, Gainsbourg was rushed to a Paris hospital where she underwent surgery for a cerebral haemorrhage, the result of a minor waterskiing accident several weeks earlier. IRM (named for the French acronym for a MRI scan) is the result, an examination of her experience of the near death experience, the subsequent fear that lead to her repeatedly requesting MRI scans even when given the all clear, but also a newfound love of life.
In a way, the story is better than the album itself. There are some clever tricks, such as utilising the sound of an MRI as an instrument on the title track, and when she’s in her element of breathy indie-folky-pop on ‘Heaven Can Wait’ (with Beck) and ‘Me and Jane Doe’ she really shines. However, it wasn’t Gainsbourg who wrote the songs but Beck, and with that in mind the album loses a little bit of its authenticity. Moreover, although the meaning behind the cathartic rock of ‘Greenwich Mean Time’ or the deathly soul of ‘Vanities’ isn’t hard to interpret, they do feel a little forced when Gainsbourg’s not being cast as the delicate but life-affirming chanteuse.
It is a good album and the fact that Gainsbourg is making an album at all is remarkable enough.
Albumaday... rating: 7/10
1. Master’s Hands – 2:49
2. IRM – 2:35
3. Le Chat du Café des Artistes – 4:03
4. In the End – 2:00
5. Heaven Can Wait – 2:41
6. Me and Jane Doe – 3:21
7. Vanities – 3:38
8. Time of the Assassins – 2:46
9. Trick Pony – 2:53
10. Greenwich Mean Time – 2:25
11. Dandelion – 3:18
12. Voyage – 4:05
13. La Collectionneuse – 5:15
Listen to ‘Heaven Can Wait’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrWN0-MuK38