Charlotte Gainsbourg makes ‘Sylvia Says’ happier than Sylvia Plath poem in BBC Radio 6 Music Live Room performance

French singer songwriter Charlotte Gainsbourg made her BBC Radio 6 Music Live Room debut this week, where she performed a superb live version of her new song ‘Sylvia Says‘.

Sylvia Says‘ is from Gainsbourg’s new album Rest. An album that is the singer’s fifth studio album, and is the first album she has released since Stage Whisper back in 2011.


The lyrics on the album are predominantly in French, with an English song here and there. The tracks themselves mainly concentrate on the untimely deaths of both Serge Gainsbourg, Charlotte’s father, and her half-sister fashion photographer Kate Barry, and the intense grief Gainsbourg has had to deal with because of them.

As for ‘Sylvia Says‘, it is listed as being written by Gainsbourg and ‘Sylvia’, who is actually the late American poet Sylvia Plath.

That is because Charlotte Gainsbourg took two lines from the famous Plath poem ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song‘ and then wove them into the chorus of ‘Sylvia Says‘. Wove them in such a way, and accompanied by such an upbeat-sounding bass, she makes Plath’s sad little poem seem just that little bit happier.

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead
Sylvia says
I lift my lids and all is born again
Sylvia says
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead
Sylvia says
I lift my lids and all is born again
Sylvia says”

Watch Charlotte Gainsbourg singing ‘Sylvia Says‘ in the BBC Radio 6 Music Live Room in the video below. It is powerful because Gainsbourg makes everything she does sound so simple. Yet, it is not.

Related: Listen to Charlotte Gainsbourg’s ‘Hey Joe’ from The Vampire Diaries

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