Histoire de Melody Nelson



March 24, 1971

---------- MELODY ----------

Les ailes de la Rolls effleuraient des pylônes
Quand m'étant malgré moi égaré
Nous arrivâmes ma Rolls et moi dans une zone
Dangereuse, un endroit isolé

Là-bas, sur le capot de cette Silver Ghost
De dix-neuf cent dix s'avance en éclaireur
La Vénus d'argent du radiateur
Dont les voiles légers volent aux avant-postes

Hautaine, dédaigneuse, tandis que hurle le poste
De radio couvrant le silence du moteur
Elle fixe l'horizon et l'esprit ailleurs
Semble tout ignorer des trottoirs que j'accoste

Ruelles, culs-de-sac aux stationnements
Interdits par la loi, le cœur indifférent
Elle tient le mors de mes vingt-six chevaux-vapeur

Prince des ténèbres, archange maudit
Amazone modern' style que le sculpteur
En anglais, surnomma Spirit of Ecstasy

Ainsi je déconnais avant que je ne perde
Le contrôle de la Rolls. J'avançais lentement
Ma voiture dériva et un heurt violent
Me tira soudain de ma rêverie. Merde!

J'aperçus une roue de vélo à l'avant
Qui continuait de tourner en roue libre
Et comme une poupée qui perdait l'équilibre
La jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs

<< Tu t'appelles comment ?
- Melody
- Melody comment?
- Melody Nelson. >>

Melody Nelson a des cheveux rouges
Et c'est leur couleur naturelle


The wings of the Rolls brushed against poles
Then I became lost in spite of myself
We arrived, the Rolls and I, in a dangerous zone
An isolated place

Down there on the hood of that Silver Ghost
From 1910 moving forward, my scout
The silver Venus on the radiator
Whose light veils fly through the outposts

Haughty, disdainful, while the screaming radio
Covers the silence of the motor
She stares at the horizon and her mind elsewhere
Seems to entirely ignore the sidewalks I run over

Alleys, dead ends and places
Where parking is illegal. An indifferent heart
She holds the reins of my twenty-six horsepower

Princess of shadows, cursed archangel
Modern Amazon that the sculptor
In English, named "Spirit of Ecstasy"

And so I was screwing around
Before losing control of the Rolls. I moved forward slowly
My car swerved and a violent thud
Tore me suddenly from my daydreams. Shit!

I saw a bicycle tire up ahead
That continued to rotate freely
And like a doll losing its balance
She pulled her skirt up to her white pants

"What's your name?"
"Melody what?"
"Melody Nelson."

Melody Nelson has red hair
And it's her natural colour

No pictures in the gallery.


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Visually and musically outstanding
By Jack Anderson on January 11, 2019

Everyone knows Serge Gainsbourg. But only lovers of music and Serge Gainsbourg know about Histoire de Melody Nelson. This album is without any doubt one of his best, if not the best. This is his first true concept album. And for someone who stole so many great ideas, at least here is was doing it before most of the others. We are in 1971 and the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, released two years after, in 1973.

The album starts with beautiful words. We are far from the fun aphorisms. Serge Gainsbourg tells a story, utilizing and leveraging the true power of words and mastering an art form. This is so powerful that Gainsbourg uses the past simple (passé simple) to set the story, which is very simple. An older man drives with his Rolls Royce and suddenly hit a younger woman called Melody. At the end of the opening seven-minute song, he finally asks her name:
- Tu t'appelles comment ? (What's your name?)
- Melody.
- Melody comment ? (Melody what?)
- Melody Nelson.
All is said.

Second song, "Ballade de Melody Nelson" a beautiful and simpler song, but with Jean-Claude Vannier's classical arrangements are beyond words. Simply magical. The entire exercise is totally mastered and I will here stop with the superlatives. At least for a sentence.

Third song, "Valse de Melody". A crazy beautiful waltz, in which the narrator explains that the Sun is rare, but that everything moves around with Melody.

But during the sixth and joyful song, suddenly everything stops. We can hear the sound of the wind, and the narrator explains that he lost his beauty in a plane crash.

The album then ends with beautiful voices from beyond the grave.

I give it 10 out of 10. A perfect timeless classic. Music beyond music. A perfect symbiosis between words and music. As Serge would say... "pas dégueu" (not disgusting).


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