Charlotte Gainsbourg: Rest

Emily Zemler on December 4, 2017

Rest marks the first time that Charlotte Gainsbourg has done most of the lyric writing on one of her albums. The French singer and actress has previously unveiled three studio albums, including her 1986 debut (which was written by her father Serge), and she’s relied heavily on collaborators to create her vision. These 11 tracks, though, are the result of Gainsbourg’s own ideas and thoughts, which are filtered through the pensive ambience of producer SebastiAn. “Lying With You,” sparkles through a haze of melody, captivating the listener with Gainsbourg’s breathy croon, while “Kate,” written for the singer’s recently deceased half-sister, is a striking piano ballad that resonates with emotional urgency. The majority of the tunes alternate between French and English—one exception is “Songbird in a Cage,” penned by none other than Paul McCartney—but the message translates through each note regardless of language. Moments of childhood innocence permeate the music, rising to the forefront on opener “Ring-A-Ring O’Roses” and closer “Les Oxalis,” on which Gainsbourg’s young daughter sweetly intones the alphabet. As a whole, the album feels different than the musician’s prior. It’s less removed, for obvious reasons, so there’s a real sincerity that rings throughout—it feels like less of an illusion. The title track, sung in a whisper in both English and French, embraces this new aesthetic. As she sings, Gainsbourg seems to be murmuring directly into your ear, unfiltered and open.

Artist: Charlotte Gainsbourg
Album: Rest