Artist: Vanessa Paradis
Title: Love Songs
Genre: Chanson française
Release Date: 2013
Duration: 01:17:02
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz
Label: Barclay

It’s been six years since Divinidylle, and Vanessa Paradis is making up for lost time with the 22-track Love Songs. The title bears some poignancy — this is her first offering since splitting from Johnny Depp. (He and their daughter Lily Rose get co-writing credits on the dubwise “New Year.”) Benjamin Biolay produced the set, wrote six tunes for it, co-wrote another with Paradis, and performed a duet with her. Biolay may not be the next Serge Gainsbourg, but he is the master’s most logical successor in terms of musical sophistication, writing chops, and a willingness to experiment sonically. Among the other songwriters who contributed material are Mathieu Boogaerts, Mickal Furnon, BB Brunes’ Adrien Gallo, Marcel Kanche, and Paradis. Opener “L’au-Del” is a modern French chanson offered in lilting waltz time; guitars and snare drum move directly at the singer who slips them and lets the lyric guide her delivery. The title track single by Biolay caused a discussion between singer and producer — being one of his best songs, she wanted him to keep it for himself, but he insisted she record it. It’s classic French disco, complete with big bassline, spacy strings, Star Wars battle synths, organic and synthetic percussion, wah-wah guitars, and an infectious, hooky, vocal chorus. Paradis’ voice, usually wispy and slight, digs into the lyric with force and delight. “Les Espaces et les Sentiments” is funky pop, where the singer struts atop the bassline, synth pulse, and percussion, and places them in service of her sultry delivery. “Tu pars Comme on Revient,” by Biolay, brings the classic age of French chanson to the indie pop era with a flourish, yet it took this singer to pull it off. “The Dark It Comes” is a duet with ex-Libertines’ Carl Barat; it’s a twisted murder ballad whose narrative stands in sharp contrast to its lush musical arrangement. The tango-gypsy fusion in “Le Rempart” is clever and convincing, as is “Sombreros,” where reggae meets cumbia. “Mi Amor” is Phil Spector rock & roll with 21st century production featuring a dirty bassline vamp and blissed-out guitars in the bridge. It highlights Paradis’ sassy, playful phrasing — she can sing this stuff all day and always sound convincing. She lends a wistful poignancy to her reading of Jacques Brel’s classic “La Chanson des Vieux Cons,” which Biolay illustrates dramatically with a restrained operatic backing choir, organ, and piano. His duet with her on “Les Roses Roses” owes as much to early rock & roll as it does to the breezy sophisti-pop Biolay is famous for. As a result of this collaboration, Love Songs is Paradis’ most heterogeneous album musically — though that is admittedly subtle at first. While Biolay’s importance cannot be overstated, this is the very first Paradis record where she sounds like a full partner with her producer rather than the singer he illuminates. While she doesn’t leave pop behind here, she pushes its envelope — and her own — attaining a diversity that we couldn’t have imagined from her previously.


  1. L’Au-Delà – 3:19
  2. Love Song – 3:31
  3. C’Est Quoi ? – 3:11
  4. Les Espaces & Les Sentiments – 3:07
  5. Prends Garde A Moi – 4:04
  6. Tu Pars Comme On Revient – 2:56
  7. The Dark It Comes – 4:01
  8. Rocking Chair – 4:20
  9. Station Quatre Septembre – 3:29
  10. Tu Vois C’ Que Je Vois – 3:09
  11. La Crème – 2:40
  12. Le Rempart – 3:11
  13. Mi Amor – 3:07
  14. New Year – 3:08
  15. Tu Si Na Cosa Grande – 2:51
  16. Sombreros – 4:23
  17. Etre Celle – 3:38
  18. Doorway – 2:58
  19. La Chanson Des Vieux Cons – 4:44
  20. Les Roses Roses – 3:49
  21. Plus D’Amour – 3:57
  22. Encore – 3:41