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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg

IRM (Elektra)

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Charlotte Gainsbourg’s near-death experience following a water-skiing accident in 2007 resulted in countless unnerving hours spent in MRI machines, a realization that we all may be living on borrowed time, and Gainsbourg’s most personal and cohesive album to date.

While not a songwriter herself, Gainsbourg knows how to pick her creative partners. Her first album, recorded when Gainsbourg was just 13, was conceived by her father, the infamous Serge, and her second by a committee of Jarvis Cocker, Air, The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and producer Nigel Godrich. A game of Six Degrees beginning with any of those artists will quickly bring you to Gainsbourg’s collaborator here: the genre-hopping Beck, who was brought in to compose and produce a set of songs that would allow the French singer/actress to cope with this life-altering event and explain her new optimism for living life day to day.

The outside inspiration has reinvigorated Beck, who offers some of his most earnest material since his own Sea Change and some of his most playful studio wizardry since Midnite Vultures. Together, Gainsbourg and Beck have crafted an album that sounds both harrowing and exciting—a perfect representation of day-to-day life.