Histoire de Melody Nelson is a 1971 concept album by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Produced by Jean-Claude Desmarty, the album was released on March 24, 1971 through Philips Records. Its Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical narrative follows the illicit romance that develops between the middle-aged Gainsbourg and 15-year old girl Melody Nelson. Histoire de Melody Nelson is considered by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished work, as well as one of the greatest French-language albums in popular music.Wikipedia
Before I talk about the album itself, let me share about the rabbit hole I fell down. I was about halfway through the first track, Melody, when I thought, “Man, this song *really* sounds like Beck’s song Paper Tiger. Then I remembered that Beck once produced an album for a French Singer named Charlotte Gainsbourg… I look it up, and sure enough, Charlotte is Serge’s daughter. Just an interesting couple of facts (I think this is what happens when an INTP is a big fan of music) . By the way, I looked it up and Beck actually sampled the Serge Gainsbourg track on Paper Tiger, which explains their startling similarity. The article in which I found that information about Beck sampling Serge pointed something out that hit home for me. It said that the two are rare amongst singer-songwriters in that they are as attracted to sound as they are to song. That really spells out why I don’t like most singer-songwriter music, it seems like for many of them the music is merely a vehicle for them to present their lyrics. One could say they are just poets masquerading as musicians. But there is an album of the day to talk about! To borrow a word from the succeeding generation, this album slaps. I didn’t know I needed an album that sounds like George Baker’s Little Green Bag overlaid with whispered, French, spoken-word vocals and orchestral blasts, but here I am. Serge is apparently considered the greatest musician France ever produced, and has influenced many that came after him, so he definitely belongs on the list My personal enjoyment: 4/5 Did it belong on this list: 5/5
I would say that I enjoyed the music behind this one. But knowing my history of the nation of France, I decided to look up what this album is about and boy did I find another reason to not like the french. This album is about a man hitting a 15ish year old girl on her bike with his Rolls Royce, who he then promptly falls in love with and seduces. I don’t care about the artistic intent and all that when the subject is pedophilia. Not a fan
Non-content de nous proposer une ribambelle d'albums rock de merde. Robert Dimery, l'emminent créateur de cette liste scandaleuse n'a selectionné que deux albums français au sein des 1001. Parmi eux donc, cet album de Serge Gainsbourg, figure emblématique de la chanson française. Mais là encore, Robert avait tout faux. En effet, malgré la ribambelle d'albums comprennant au moins un titre classique de Serge Gainsbourg, Robert a trouvé le moyen de choisir un album experimental racontant une histoire dont tout le monde se fout, d'autant plus que les décérébrés votants du générateurs ne pipent pas un mot de français (ce qui vous en conviendrait, démontre une fois de plus leur manque flagrant de culture). La France est donc representee par cet album ridicule ou le Serge s'amuse a nous susurrer des mots a l'oreille, ce qui me plaça dans un inconfort palpable. Le pire dans tout ça, c'est que celui sur qui nos derniers espoirs reposent n'est autre que le hautement surcoté MC Solaar, que je me devrai de sanctionner d'une note assassine pour l'ensemble de son oeuvre. Ce mercredi matin ne démarre clairement pas de la meilleure des manières, d'autant plus que comme vous le savez, il semblerait que je n'ai plus d'eau chaude a mon domicile.
I saw a documentary about Serge Gainsbourg maybe a dozen years ago, and that made me a fan. Fascinating person and artist. This album is great. It's very, well, Serge Gainsboug. Weirdly accessible, even in the 2020's, and even though I don't understand any of the lyrics because I know maybe a dozen words in French (nearly all food, my fellow fromage-heads). The musical arrangements are fantastic, and, wow, that guitarist can play! Somehow, with the music playing underneath the spoke French dialogue, it just works. This is one I'll listen to again.
Sauvegarder Avant: Rien Dès Le Début: Melody, Ballade De Melody Nelson, Valse de Melody, Ah Melody, L'hôtel particulier, En Melody, Cargo culte (c'est à dire tout l'album) Presque Sauvegarder: Rien Notes Générales: As someone who speaks French, I figure my two-cents is valid here. In terms of the "Lolita" part of the wikipedia page, that's really not a big part of the narrative and the whole narrative is clearly not meant to be taken seriously as the guy meets her after hitting her with his Rolls Royce as he's driving on the sidewalk. The music is the most important part, and once you let Gainsbourg's mic-swallowing exist in the atmosphere of the tracks it's not so jarring. Would've been a 5 if it was longer, I just wish it had more time to develop some of those songs. But I guess that's the point of the album, it's a short fling from car crash to plane crash. 4.5 that gets rounded to a 4 for length.
C'est en lisant dans le livre des 1001 la critique d'un certain JiH dans le grimoire de Robert que j'ai enfin ouvert les yeux ; cette compilation des 1001 albums ne s'adresse qu'à la communauté hipster. Pas question pour l'éditeur et ses complices de sélectionner un album à succès, non, jamais. Il est ici question de choisir l'un des albums les moins connus de l'artiste afin de jouer au connaisseur et pisser sur le mainstream. Une bien triste vision des choses que je dénoncerai en message privé à l'intéressé, puisque je le connais.
Who is ̶K̶e̶y̶s̶e̶r̶ ̶S̶o̶z̶e̶ Melody Nelson? Had I the fluency required to understand this album I might have enjoyed it more (the Wikipedia certainly didn't help), but it's just not something I'd ever want to return to. It wasn't half bad, and I actually enjoyed the background music and chords that played throughout, but by god it sounded like this man was recording post mic-consumption, and I just couldn't get past that.
wtf, this is absolute crap. like an even less interesting, less musical version of that moby turd. singer just whispers in french with the mic INSIDE his mouth, music is just sporadic jazzy numbers. I'm sure artists think it's cool, but i think it fucken sucks.
1971 concept album by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Histoire de Melody Nelson is considered by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished work, as well as one of the greatest French-language albums in popular music. Its Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical narrative follows the illicit romance that develops between the middle-aged Gainsbourg and 15-year old girl Melody Nelson. While it became a pivotal album of the 1970s and was instrumental in the development of French rock music and trip hop genre... Thanks, Wiki! I was surprised by the sound of this album. Spoken word "whispering" vocal... The funky bassline is cool! Since I like trip-hop it was interesting to hear the music that influenced some representatives of this genre... French female voice pronouncing "Melodie Nelson" is sitting in my head all the day :)))
Pretty groovy. Really dope precision bass tone. Sexy French lyrics I don’t understand at all. Super simple drums. And a throaty blues guitar. Kind of a perfect 70’s rock album
How come I didn't even know about this album before? I've heard of Serge Gainsbourg, but never in context of music. And now I know what a mistake that was. Histoire De Melody Nelson is a really well crafted album (although very short, just 27 minutes), that combines four main pillars, that could stand on their own anywhere else: - a funky bass line, that welcomes us to the album and doesn't leave us until the last notes - guitar with incredibly psychedelic solos, you could easily mistake it for a Pink Floyd part - orchestral elements added by Jean-Claude Vannier, adding another dimension to the album - and finally the vocal of Gainsbourg, soft and very deep voice, mostly just talking, is like a perfect topping for this musical cake. The whole album feels like a jam session of four musicians playing different genres of music, but somehow not only it works well, but is absolutely amazing. One of the easiest 5 stars on this list, especially among the albums I have never heard of.
The french lyrics and slow melody is reminiscent to beatnik spoken word sessions in a cafe shrouded in cigerette smoke. Overall, a mysterious and alluring mix of rock and jazz.
Not the masterpiece it is usually hailed as, but very original and atmospheric. An album where to come back from time to time.
Really enjoyed this! Epic orchestral moments along with some good ol’ rock music that felt like a bit of a jam session. Felt really modern too. Maybe lots of people have been influenced by him but it all just felt really familiar. A couple of tracks properly sounded so much like Nick Cave & Kylie’s ‘Wild Rose’ track, I’d be shocked if they weren’t straight up trying to make a Serge Gainsbourg track when they made it. Will defo revisit this album.
Just an effortlessly cool album, you can hear how much it influenced another great French artist, AIR. I will be digging through his catalog. Love the jazz influence and just really solid guitar and bass.
the instrumentation and production are impressive, but the concept is cringey AF
While I would not go back and listen again, I definitely felt cool while listening 😆
No thanks. I actually hear the air from his mouth. Grosses me out
Tre merde !
I thought his voice sounded so creepy so I looked up what the album was actually about: “Its Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical narrative follows the illicit romance that develops between the middle-aged Gainsbourg and 15-year old girl Melody Nelson.” Yeah, no. This was gonna be a 2 based off what I initially heard and now it’s a 1.
no, no, no. absolutely not. i don't care if many music critics and personnel find this influential and life changing. this album is about statutory rape! i was going to give it 2 stars because musically, it wasn't too bad of an album, but that was until i got to the sex noises in "en melody". what on earth is this album? i wish i could give 0 stars.
Damn. Chicago 2012. Yup
Absolute surprise - Loved it
Total revelation, never knew of this album’s existence and yet it has influenced so much music that I love!
I would have never listened to this album if It weren't for this project. This is why I'm doing it. What a vibe this thing has.
It's like opera... I don't understand it, but it sounds amazing.
There are flaws, to be sure, but I adore this.
I really liked this album. I had never heard it before, but I listened to it like 4 times. and I didn't understand a word of the lyrics.
Loved it, very very french
the instrumentals are fucking phenomenal, tho I don’t really care for the vocals feels like i’m in a Ghirardelli commercial with some of these songs still super impressive that an album like this came out in 1971 - 9/10
Clairement un chef d'oeuvre cet album Un peu cringe par le propos et cet éternelle obsession des français pour les filles de 15 ans🙄 mettons ça sur le dos de l'époque ... Cela dit, La bass est juste malade sur cet album ! Le tone, les grooves. Fondateur du trip hop bien évidemment. Les arrangements de cordes sont sublimes
Tre cool. I've not listened to a lot of French music (outside of rap and whatever they play on Lupin) but this was good.
This was a great listen, and surprising that it was made in 1971.
This was a fascinating album. Loved the ebbed and flow of it.
In an alternative, dystopian world, I could have lived and died without ever having heard this 28 minutes of sublime music. Fortunately, I do not live in such a world, so I have heard it, and my life is enhanced by having done so.
This is a really fascinating album and piece of art. It's disturbing, perverted, poetic and sonically unique. I really enjoyed it.
This is a great album; you can hear how Jean-Claude Desmarty has inspired producers like Nigel Godrich (check out "Paper Tiger" by Beck to hear what I'm talking about).
I have always wanted to learn French, and after hearing this album for the first time, I enrolled so that I could understand the lyrics on my own. I love this album so much!
Gainsbourg is the epitome of cool. This album is rocking and sexy and suave, and doesn't outstay its welcome.
Banger after banger after banger. The only downside is it is a short album at 30 minutes.
Serge! You sexy man! Ooo lala. His voice is like liquid chocolate... I'm loving this ganache of sweet tunes, littered with the sweet voice of an angel. Influential and sampled by many and reviled by an army of angry liberals I just yearn for his yellow stained fingers to stroke the nape of my neck.
quite nice even if i cant understand the lyrics much nothing much like it
Very sultry music about an underage romance. Very evocative.
This was pretty good. Definitely a different kind of album for the time it was released.
got into the guitar riffs on some of the track, also following along with the english translation was an interesting story
Definite headphone album, love how forward the vocals and bass are. Wish I spoke french. Girl on the cover reminds me of Lor. Melody - Prise Complete is my highlight.
soothing and nice and cool and short and cute
great bass + really well orchestrated. almost cinematic with a narrative. reminded me of portishead. this grew on me.
Strange French man says melody a lot then sings a song and then says melody a lot again. Pretty good though
This couldn’t be more stereotypically French if it hit you over the head with a baguette while smoking a Gauloises. I need to revisit this. That was pretty damn fun to listen to. I felt like I could almost understand it at parts too.
I don't speak French so I have no clue what was being sung, but I could listen to this all the time
Cool as hell. 7/10
Wow. What a surprise. Particularly loved the first and last one. Excellent psychedelic. Can't believe wiki told me this was pop
If Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson made a movie together, this would be the soundtrack.
So sexy and cool
Groovy late 60s/early 70s psychedelic/blues jam vibe with some awesome bass work. Jean-Claude Vannier knows his to write some lovely melodies (pun not intended)
Very enjoyable. Something a bit different but very easy on the ears. 3.5
een beetje donker en een beetje warm. you want it darker vibes
Really Cool. Epic opening track and was short and sweet. An eclectic mix of sounds - really liked the strings. Vocals very loud!
Heavily sampled by David Holmes, hard to hear it without that context - bit hit & miss but extra star for Don't Die Just Yet
instrumentals are groovy as all hell wow
It's obviously beautiful, Serge's voice is very smooth and I like it musically. I'm just afraid I'm losing some of it because mon francais est tres mal.
Different from what I'm used, really like the guitars. I need a mieux français though!
Musically great. Overall very cool vibe to the record
Wish my a French was better
I love this album. So sensual...so sexy. Never really heard anything else quite like it. A near 5, but 4.5 🌟 seems more accurate.
It’s great. Not quite a 5. The cover art is a 6.
Good stuff… probably didn’t give this enough attention, but always enjoy a bit of serge!
Rockier than I expected, like a Gallic Zappa.
Interesting album! Need to listen to the whole thing later.
4.4 + France’s pervie uncle can swing. The epitome of cool and composed. First came upon this via Beck’s “Paper Tiger.”
11/11 Sultry French vocals, soft rock soundscape. Standout Tracks: Melody, L'hôtel particulier, Cargo culte
Nice to have non US/UK choice. I loved this one, very funky, and due to minimal french, can avoid alleged paedo overtones to lyrics as noted in other reviews.
Ons melodieken hé. Leuk verhaal dat nu niet meer gemaakt zou worden. Gainsbourg altijd goed
A short groovy little album, with a bit of a Lolita theme to it. Worth listening to for some funky basslines mashed up with orchestral strings. It almost sounds like a sort of proto trip-hop album.
No idea what he’s whispering, but it sounds great. Really cool vibe, but I think it would benefit from having the band and music closer to the mic, it feels so far away! 4/5 - Who IS Melody Nelson?
Despite not knowing the name Serge Gainsbourg, I kind of knew what to expect. This was a perfectly chill way to start the day.
Kolejny dowod na potege matrixa listowego, wczoraj pisze o wyzszosci francuzkiego popu nad hamerykanskim, a dzisiaj dostaje jeden z najbaradziej eksperymentalnych, a nadal popowych albumow listy, bo takim wlasnie krazkiem jest histoire de melody nelson, plyte ciezko zaklasyfikowac gatunkowo, bo o takie kombo psychodelii, orkiesty i funku naprawde ciezko, pan Serge Gainsbourg na 28 minutach krazka opowiada historie zwiazku tytulowej lolity z panem wieku sredniego, oczywiscie autobiograficzne watki, jak przystalo na francuza, pan Serge opowiada historie swego zycia z lolita, nie jestem pewien czy na okladce jest akurat jego lolita, ale guglowanie albumu zwraca fotki pana Serga z podobnie loliciarska lolita, lecz nie sam motyw przewodni jakim jest tak francuski zwiazek stanowi o eksperymentalnosci tego albumu, ale muzyka, ktora latwiej zrozumiec niz francuzkie liryki naszpikowane grami slownymi z ktorymi translacja przegrywa nierowna walke, bo muzycznie jest to unikalne polaczenie funkowego rockowania z harmoniami muzyki synfornicznej, najlepiej te polaczenia graja na najdluzszych kawalkach epka, czyli otwierajacym i zamykjacym kompozycje melody i cargo culte, zwlaszcza ten drugi swietnie buduje napiecie przez stopniowe wprowadzanie kolejnych brzmien, zaczynajac od pojedynczych fristrajlowych brzdakniec elektryka, rytmicznego drumienia, zeby w polowie traku dojsc do czesci chorkowo symfonicznej i zamknac z przytupem wszystkim co fabryka dala, kompozycje z tej plyty sa dzielem pracy w duecie z Jean-Claudem Vannierem, dosc popularne imie tej plyty, bo jeszcze trzy osoby o takim imieniu sa featurowane na liscie personelu w tym jako producent pan Jean-Claude Desmarty, ktoremu trzeba pogratulowac tak swietnie brzmiacego nagrania, zwlaszcza jak na rok 71, wiec pomimo tego, ze lirycznie album pozostaje dla mnie engima, to jednak sluchalo sie go swietnie, w mysl zasady z poprzedniego pika, im mniej sie cos rozumie tym przyjemniej sie tego slucha, ciekawe ile swojej zaslugi w nagraniach mial sam pan Serge jako muzyk, bo tez jest zlistowany jako pianino, ktore sie troche przewija oraz gitara, chociaz tutaj tych gitar jest zdecydowanie wiecej niz jedna, tak czy inaczej album krotki, ale zostawiajacy wrazenie ktorego sie latwo nie zapomni, na plejke leci endingowy utwor, a cala plyta na poleczke spotifajowa, dajac kolejny powod do nadrobienia lolity nabokova
4/5. Sounds good, but why’d he have to do Lolita bruh, I can’t endorse that
My high-school level French is failing me here, but the funky beats speak to me.
Obviously I can’t understand the lyrics, but they’re delivered well and the music underneath them is great. Good stuff.
Sprawling, funky tracks in a satisfyingly short package. Also not the least bit suprised about the subject of the story considering it was made by a frenchman.
I have no idea what it was about. But it was good.
Bon, la thématique qui serait inspirée du roman Lolita de Vladimir Nobokov (que je n'ai pas lu) est malaisante. Bien que le roman serait considéré comme un chef d'oeuvre, je n'ai pas les clés pour comprendre l'intérêt de raconter ce sujet. Le qualité littéraire de ce livre devait donc plaire à Gainsbourg et il cherchait peut-être à provoquer comme il l'a déjà fait par le passé, mais le fait que ça semble effectivement cadrer avec l'homme soulève une ambiguïté qui ruine un peu mon écoute. Si on passe par dessus ça, en terme de qualité d'album, il y a du travail là! Un album concept court, avec une musique qui vient soutenir superbement une histoire racontée tout au long de l'album, ça fonctionne vraiment bien. La façon de livrer le texte qui peut être agaçante pour certains sert bien l'histoire. La basse sur l'album est superbe et les orchestrations ont définitivement influencées plusieurs artistes par la suite. La pièce En Melody est fantastique. L'ambiance dans la pièce Melody qui est reprise sur la dernière pièce, Cargo Culte, a sûrement influencée Jean Leloup pour quelques pièces sur Le Dôme (en plus de ressembler beaucoup à la mélodie d'Edgar). La basse de cette même pièce qui ferme l'album de Gainsbourg a été utilisée sur la pièce Paper Tiger de Beck. Bref, musicalement un album fantastique qui a influencé pleins d'artistes et qui se mériterait un 5 étoiles si ce n'était de la thématique. Pièce préférée: En Melody
Wow, Beck et Jean Leloup et Martin Léon ont écouté ça certain. L’ambiance de l’album est malade. Les cordes sont dépouillées et simples, mais super efficaces.
Well, that was an adventure. I don't know what in the name of French classical funk that was supposed to be, but I enjoyed it. This artist is either le Leonard Cohen or le William Shatnère, depending on whom you ask. Lots of dramatic talking and strange musical interludes. If you enjoy weird fusions of musical styles, you might like this one. I liked it pretty well and found it creative but didn't fully five-star adore it. Fave track: The opening track, "Melody," by far.
Serge Gainsbourg is a noted super-weirdo so I am very excited for this. Though he's also, I believe, a terrible pervert and creep, so also a little frightened. Melody starts pretty cool... Ok yea, this was musically everything I hoped for: weird jazziness, cool guitar, low muttered lyrics, a general cool lush vibe that was totally awesome.. And it was also everything I feared: according to Wiki this is indeed a concept album about him having sex with a 15-year-old. Oh Serge, why can't you just make good music without being a creepo? Still, gotta judge it on the music alone, I think. So high marks, but with an asterisk
I've been listening to a lot of French music from the 60's and early 70's lately, so I was happy to see this on the list. Serge Gainsbourg always seemed to have that creepy, older( French)man-vibe happening, similarly to Canada's Leonard Cohen, but you can't deny the talent and importance this music has to offer. I bought the old 45 of "Je t'aime… moi non plus", a couple years ago and have been intrigued with Serge and Jane Birkin ever since. The music is cool and if you can get past Gainsbourg's talking/singing style, it's an essential listen.
The music is strangely compelling.
интересная вещь, концептуальный альбом, отсылки к набокову, все дела (лучше почитать про альбомчик перед прослушиванием). плюс сама музыка хороша (первый трек ваще кайфс), но тут уж простое человеческое "не вставило"...
still gotta listen
This album stinks of Gitanes and sex.