At the beginning of this month, I saw Charlotte Gainsbourg play at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival. The whole thing was so perfect that it felt like a gig dreamt up for a movie: a group of shadowy figures taking the stage around one in the morning, backlit by neon-esque lights, making their way through a set of impossibly cool French synth-pop while a bunch of Europeans hung out and chain-smoked. It was one of those perfect marriages of sound and visuals, all the grooves and lush soundscapes of Gainsbourg’s new album Rest booming and slithering outwards, always with those lights burning their way into your eyes.
That was far from the first time an arresting image was coupled with one of Gainsbourg’s new songs. In the time since Gainsbourg first announced Rest last September, there have been a ton of videos. The album’s standout, “Deadly Valentine,” came with a deeply affecting clip tracing a couple from childhood to old age. (It was one of our favorite songs and videos of that week.) Later on, there was the juxtaposition of stark, still black and white images with a vivid desert coda in “Les Oxalis” and a disorienting torrent of found footage for “Rest” mirroring the song’s own dream logic. “Ring-A-Ring O’ Roses” traced a relationship on the brink of collapse, and kept returning to this shot of a mattress marooned on the beach; both “Lying With You” and “I’m A Lie” were discomfiting in their own ways, the former featuring Gainsbourg chasing a younger version of herself around a decrepit house as if desperately trying to dig up memories and the latter featuring her on a chair submerging herself underwater.
Why stop there? Today, Gainsbourg’s back with yet another video, this time for “Sylvia Says.” It’s one of the catchier tracks on Rest, but it blossoms into a big transporting chorus like many of the album’s other songs. For the video, Gainsbourg staged an encounter in the streets of New York, with a group of people slowly collapsing to the ground. Once more, there are a handful of striking shots that’ll linger — most notably, the sight of Gainsbourg sitting on a chair atop a garbage dump, and the more ethereal image of her suspended on a bed of mirrorballs. Check it out below.