Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “Deadly Valentine”

I had to step away for a few days to do a large push on revamping my professional website. But in the process of doing actual work, I’ve been compiling a mental list of recommendations for the near and far future. There’s too many to tackle all at once, so I’m just going to start small, and work my way forward.

So tonight’s a bit of a warm-up to get back in the swing of things. It’s a track called “Deadly Valentine” by musician/actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. If the name sounds familiar, you might recognize her as a frequent collaborator of Lars Van Trier, that Danish director that loves to push everyone’s buttons, with such wonderfully entertaining fare as “Nymphomaniac” and “Antichrist.” And yes, I’m being sarcastic. He’s not for everyone. But Gainsbourg’s attraction to his work speaks volumes about her commitment to the craft … acting, music, art, whatever.

If none of that is ringing any bells, you might recognize her last name, the very same as her father Serge Gainsbourg, who’s probably the most famous “pop” artist in French contemporary musical culture. Off hand, I only really know the “Bonnie and Clyde” song, which he collaborated with then-girlfriend Brigitte Bardot. That was 1968, so I use the term contemporary rather loosely. And of course, Serge has many other musical creations, which if interested, you can explore on your own. Spotify has many offerings.

But back to Charlotte. It’s funny, because I’ve only really known her as an actress. I never really quite made the music association, even though, in retrospect, it’s quite obvious. So when I heard “Deadly Valentine,” I was somewhat surprised to see her name as artist, which I wasn’t privy to at the time of listening. I’d say that’s a blessing, since my initial reaction was unbiased.

I’m not really sure how to describe this one, other than that I really like it. It’s got this hazy, ephemeral, hypnotic quality that seems so familiar, yet I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s also fairly groovy, in a Euro electro kind of way. And it sports a ’70s psychedelic coat of progressive cool. But only in the loosest of terms. Hell, I’d even call it dream-pop. But again, just a little.

Charlotte has a feathery vocal style, which triggers that dream-pop resonance, with wisps of weightless lyrical rhythm that float atop danceable percussive rolls. The song may seem ethereal and light, but it does push forward at a motoring clip. Beneath the metaphorical hood, the lyrics themselves trace a lifetime relationship between friends, lovers, and ultimately partners, from youth to the latter stages of life. So there’s a but of substance to boot, which is effectively communicated through her self-directed music video.

I suppose, at some point, I should give Charlotte’s other material a fair shot. Her latest album, which actually came out in 2017, is called “Rest,” and features collaborations with Paul McCartney, Owen Pallett, and Connan Mockasin. It’s also where “Deadly Valentine” comes from. So I’m guessing, I’ll find plenty to like.

For now, I’ll leave it at that. You can explore further, if you so wish … as will I. Here’s Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “Deadly Valentine” to get things started.

“Deadly Valentine” from the 2017 album “Rest”

And here’s her video for “Deadly Valentine” that she directs and stars in. As I mentioned, it places a bit of context on this one. And it’s beautifully shot and edited.

Lastly, I figured I’d include some family background, more specifically her father Serge’s collaboration with Brigitte Bardot, “Bonnie and Clyde.” I’d include more, but like I said, I can’t think of any others off hand. But this embed should lead to others, should you choose to go further. Enjoy!

“Bonnie and Clyde,” originally released in 1968, appears here on Brigitte Bardot’s 1994 release “Bubble Gum.”

Charlotte Gainsbourg:

Serge Gainsbourg: