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Album Review

Even though 5:55 isn't technically Charlotte Gainsbourg's first solo album (that would be Charlotte for Ever, which was released when she was 13), it is her first solo album as an adult and, with the help of a dream team of collaborators, it's a fittingly sophisticated set that touches on her father Serge's brilliantly louche, literate pop without being overshadowed by it. Air's Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin (who paid tribute to Serge Gainsbourg particularly well on 10,000 Hz Legend's "Wonder Milky Bitch") wrote 5:55's delicate music, while Jarvis Cocker and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon penned its lyrics. This mingling of French and English influences is mirrored in Gainsbourg's subtly expressive voice and accent, which provides the perfect complement to the album's lush sounds and vivid imagery. On "AF607105" — the most Air-like song here — she's a stewardess recounting the most glamorous plane crash ever; she performs an autopsy on a relationship on "The Operation," finally stating that "the heart was rejected by the host." As good as the atmospheric heartache of the first half of 5:55 is, it's on the second half, when Gainsbourg and her crew stretch out a bit, that the album really gets interesting. "Jamais," a slightly tough, witty cautionary tale about literally acting like you're in love, is a standout, while the sexy, obsessive "Beauty Mark" and "Everything I Cannot See" would make her father proud.

Biography

Born: 21 July 1971 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Charlotte Gainsbourg may be better known as an accomplished actress than as a musician, but her singing career has also been significant. Around the same time she began acting, Gainsbourg also started singing professionally. At 13 years old, she recorded her debut, Charlotte for Ever, an album of songs written by her father, singer/songwriter/provocateur Serge Gainsbourg, that was inspired by the film he directed and in which they both starred. The infamous father-daughter duet "Lemon Incest" mirrored...
Full bio
5.55, Charlotte Gainsbourg
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