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Saturday, April 12, 1997 Some Pictures

Added a profile on Vanessa it was written around the time of "M&J".

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Vanessa Paradis

Vanessa Paradis

It would be easy to dismiss Vanessa Paradis as just another teenage one-hit wonder. But it's true, the runaway success of "joe le Taxi" in the winter of 88, when she was barely fourteen, the first UK Top 3 in French in nearly two decades (it's predecessor was none other than, "Je t'aim moi non plus" the scandalous Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg duet), has so far yet to be followed on this side of the Channel.

In France, though, that's another story altogether. Since Joe spent twelve weeks at Number one in the summer of 87, Vanessa has gone to being nothing less than the new Bardot! First, there was a string of other hit singles, all penned by the winning team of guitar player, Frank Langolff, and catalan poet Etienne Roda-Gil (also lyricist for the likes of Julien Clerc, Johnny Hallyday and a forthcoming project by Roger Waters, featuring Peter Gabriel): Manolo Manolete, Marilyn et John, Maxou, Coupe Coupe and Mosquito. Then a platinum album, "M & J", widely acclaimed as a French pop masterpiece by such fidgety crews as the daily Liberation (it made their list of the five best local albums of 89).

But there was more to come. Her first feature movie, "Noce Blanche" released last autumn won her rave reviews and two of the most sought after French awards: a Cesar for Best New Actress, and the Prix Romy Schneider for the most promising debut performance on screen. And it is true that she was so absolutely radiant that Jean-Claude Brisseau's movie became the seasons events just because everyone wanted to see Vanessa, portraying a young juvenile delinquent in love with her Philosophy teacher who commits suicide rather than giving up her love for him, in very much the same way you went to see any Greta Garbo or Brigitte Bardot movie (is it Emily Lloyed now?) you didn't care about the script or the director; all you cared about was its star.

Vanessa does have that power, and appeal. To cut a long story short, she could well be the international figure France has always been looking for: she sings better than Bardot, acts better than Edith Piaf and dances with more grace than Francois Hardy.

And now, with yet another award, for Best French Female Singer of the year, Vanessa has come up with her second album, still comosed by Langloff, and lyrics by none other than Serge Gainsbourg (also of "Comment te dire adieu" fame and featuring - wait for it - cover of Lou Reed's infamous "Walk On The Wild Side". Well you've guessed it already. Vanessa isn't fourteen anymore, and, at seventeen, feels like singing harder material with with stonger feelings. And the music is different too: bluesier, rockier, sharper.

The most awaited french album of the year, "Variations sur le meme t'aime" is now being released worldwide. It carries the one and only message: A French Star is Born.

Yves Bigot (chief editor of Rapido) 1991

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