Histoire de Melody Nelson
Released: Nov 1996
Label: Decca International
Rock fans: if there's only room for one French album in your collection, this is the one to get. Gainsbourg's twisted rock opera follows the story of an older man who makes the mistake of picking up a murderous nymphet (pictured on the album sleeve and played in the songs by his wife, Jane Birkin). It doesn't matter if you understand the ribald lyrics or not; this is spacey rock of the highest order, with classical strings swarming around stinging guitar lines and disappearing again. A commercial misfire in 1971, this became known as the finest extended work in Serge Gainsbourg's distinguished career.
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