Monday, January 11, 2010

REVIEW: Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM

6.75 out of 10

It's safe to assume by now that we all know who Charlotte Gainsbourg is right? Daughter of THE French musician Serge Gainsbourg and his wife/famed actress/beauty Jane Birkin. I never know if I should feel bad for people like Charlotte who are doomed to be in the spot light with mass amounts of hype to live up to. Ms/ Gainsbourg first began writing music at the age of 13. Her first album, "Lemon Incest", had a bit of controversy behind it (mainly due to the tile). Her father also had a big hand in the making of that album. What you may, or may not know is that her father didn't really believe in young Ms. Charlotte as a singer. He thought the looks were there, but not necessarily the "musical talent", "Maybe you should stick to acting?" he said. Lucky for us she dipped her "talent" into music again nearly 20 years later with 2006's "5:55". For those of you who haven't done so BUY "5:55" RIGHT NOW. It's an amazing return to form for any musician. Nigel Goodrich produced, and Air wrote most if not all the music, so if you're at all a fan of either of those people consider it a must own. So here we are a few years later and Charlotte is back again with another French Alt-Pop album titled "IRM". I hate to say it (being that I'm obsessed with French music), but I have to disagree with Serge Gainsbourg... The talent is there, the right people are behind it, and I'm sure any Pop music fan will agree with the sounds coming out of their speakers once they sit down and listen to Charlotte Gainsbourg.

"IRM" is an album in dedication to Charlotte's near death experience in which she had a brain tumor and had to get it removed. The term "IRM" is a reference to the machine that scans your head in search of deformity's/diseases. Now that you know a little bit about the album's theme let's discuss the people behind it.. Beck and David Campbell (Beck's Father) co-write the album, knowing that you can expect to hear plenty of "Beck-isms" on "IRM". There are a few shining moments when the French side of Charlotte does come out, but the album definitely has a Beck sound with a "slightly different" approach. Basically what I am saying to you is if you like Beck you should be entertained by this album. "IRM" is a mix between "Sea Change" and "Modern Guilt". Pretty/delicate female vocals, with strings, acoustic guitars, piano, drums, and a few other studio tricks. Not quite the album I was looking for, but not necessarily bad.

If I was to compare "IRM" to "5:55" I wouldn't think to highly of it, but considering my love for "5:55" I'm ok with it being "not as good". It is an album with a different vibe altogether, as well as different producers behind it, I don't hold that against it. "IRM" IS a good continuation for Ms. Gainsbourg in which you won't be let down, just expect more Pop, less "French" and lotsa Beck (although he only sings on a couple tracks). I do hope that Nigel Goodrich and Air return on her next album, in the meantime this album will hold me over.

Standout Tracks: La Chat Du Cafe Des Artistes, In The End, Me And Jane Doe (I could hear this being used in a movie), Vanities (great strings), La Collectionneuse (love this song once the French begins)

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