"L’Homme à tête de chou" is the fourth Gainsbourg’s concept album, being the "Histoire de Melody Nelson“‘s successor. Like the others, it did not immediately meet the success it deserved.
This album tells the story of a man in his forties falling in love with a rather free-minded shampoo girl. After the narrator meets the young girl at the barber shop where she works, first moment that is marked by “Chez Max coiffeur pour hommes”; we learn about their feelings for each other, with “Ma Lou Marilou”; their erotic games, with “Variations sur Marilou”; and about Marilou’s murder by the narrator, turned jealous lover, when the album presents “Meurtre à l’extincteur” and “Marilou sous la neige”. And finally, it tells his decline into madness, closing the narrative with “Lunatic Asylum”. Despite the fact that some songs, such as “L’Homme à tête de chou” and “Marilou Reggae”, have been well received, “Marilou sous la neige” and the 8-minute epic “Variations sur Marilou”, the song above, were both commercial failures at the time of their release, and waited several years before being found by a younger audience and recognized as masterpieces of French music.
"Marilou Reggae" is the first reggae song by Gainsbourg. He revisited it on his 1979 album Aux armes et cætera.
"Ma Lou Marilou" is inspired by a section of the first movement of Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, known as the "Appassionata" composed by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The album took its title from a sculpture by Claude Lalanne, wife of François-Xavier Lalanne bought by Gainsbourg.
Composed in Theresienstadt nazi ghetto in 1943-44 by Viktor Ullmann, a jew musician, “Der Kaise von Atlantis” was forbidden by SS after some performances. Ullmann died (gazed) in Auschwitz several months later. The title is sometimes given as “Der Kaiser von Atlantis, oder Der Tod dankt ab”, that means: “The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Abdicates”, and described as a “legend in four scenes” rather than an opera. Short, but very emotional piece. Art portraying History, just like happens with Picasso’s “Guernica” for the Spanish Civil War. Enjoy!