Serge Gainsbourg

Histoire de Melody Nelson (Light in the Attic)

Phases and Stages

Serge Gainsbourg

Histoire de Melody Nelson (Light in the Attic)

Thirty-eight years after the release of Histoire de Melody Nelson, you can still hear the heavy breathing. Collaborating with composer/arranger Jean-Claude Vannier, Serge Gainsbourg left much to the imagination on his 1971 Nabokovian song cycle, unfolding an illicit and tragic love story in just seven songs. Then-lover Jane Birkin coos the titular name on "Ballade de Melody Nelson," but the sleazy funk basslines and Vic Flick's wandering-eye guitar-work on opener "Melody" and orchestral closer "Cargo Culte" drive the LP's love, sex, and death beautifully. 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. An added treat: an interview from Rock & Folk magazine, where Gainsbourg tries to describe the idea behind Melody: "I wanted to write a fantastical tale, somewhat surrealistic, without any bearing on reality."


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Serge Gainsbourg
Just Another Manic Monday
Just Another Manic Monday
Music Mondays (and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, etc.) at the Alamo Drafthouse

Audra Schroeder, July 7, 2006

Body of Work
Body of Work
Joe Dallesandro on 'Je T'aime Moi Non Plus'

Marc Savlov, Aug. 5, 2005

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Audra Schroeder
SXSW Interactive Conference Quick Cuts
The Signal & the Noise
Statistician Nate Silver on more data, more problems

March 15, 2013

SXSW Film Reviews: 'Kiss of the Damned'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

March 15, 2013


Serge Gainsbourg

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle