Charlotte Gainsbourg to release new album 'Rest'

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Charlotte Gainsbourg has announced the release of her fourth studio album, Rest, out November 17. All tracks on the album are produced by SebastiAn (Frank Ocean, Kavinsky), except ‘Rest,’ composed and co-written by Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, and ‘Songbird in a Cage,’ composed and written by Paul McCartney. Rest also features collaborations with Owen Pallett, Connan Mockasin, and others.

SebastiAn’s background in electronic music accorded with Gainsbourg’s desire for a sound with a disquieting, mechanistic edge, inspired by Giorgio Moroder and, perhaps unsurprisingly for a revered, award-winning film actress, movie soundtracks—particularly Pino Donaggio’s score for Brian De Palma’s ’70s horror classic Carrie,Georges Delerue’s music for Jean-Luc Godard’s nouvelle vague masterpiece Le Mépris, as well as the unsettling ambience of films like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

The album’s first single is the title track, ‘Rest,’ produced and co-written with Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. ‘Rest’ is a poignant, modern lullaby-like song, steering Gainsbourg toward a forensically focused approach to lyric writing. “Those were the first words that I actually sang on the album,” she explains. “I came in with all my bunches of lyrics… It was too much, really, and Guy-Man was saying, ‘you can’t say all that, you have to simplify it,’ and he reduced it to three words! It felt so innocent in a way, but it was exactly what I needed at that time.”

Rest is the first album by Gainsbourg whose lyrics she wrote, having previously felt daunted by the desire to poetize her ideas. Even more intimidating was the idea of putting her thoughts to verse in French. “In the shadow of my father [pioneering French musical superstar Serge Gainsbourg], writing in French was something I never dared to do,” she says. Grappling with the recent death of her sister, fashion photographer Kate Barry, however, created an immediacy—and from within the “intense grief” it was “easier to express certain things” in French. On the album, Gainsbourg addresses personal topics ranging from familial loss, to the tensions between her shyness and her life as a performer and public figure, to charmingly illogical childhood fears—with lyrics pried from her own diaries, rendered here in French and English. Rest marks Gainsbourg’s achievement of the lyrical confidence to get unprecedentedly candid, and to trust her own words’ ability to communicate universal pains of loss through personal ones. Says Gainsbourg, “It’s the first time that I’ve surrendered myself, and the end result belongs to me.”