Vanessa Paradis

Divinidylle

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Still best -- heck, pretty much only -- known in the United States as Mrs. Johnny Depp, French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis has been a star in her native country since she was a teenager who had several pop hits back in the late '80s. As an adult, Paradis has taken her time in between projects; Divinidylle is her first album in over five years. (Those who require English-language touchstones for their foreign rockers: think of a more accessible and pop-oriented version of Kate Bush.) A straightforward but eclectic pop album ranging from the steel guitar-inflected atmospherics of "Les Revenants" and the haunting piano-and-strings ballad "Junior Suite" to the sunshiny '60s pop feel of "Divine Idylle," the organ-driven rocker "La Bataille," and the modern R&B sway of "L'Incendie," Divinidylle has no pretensions beyond pure entertainment. At its best, as on the clever, lavishly arranged single "Chet Baker" and the flirty duet with Mathieu Chédid "Les Piles," it's among Paradis' strongest works, and it's a far more consistently entertaining listen than many of her early albums, which tended toward the spotty. In fact, Divinidylle is likely Paradis' best album yet.

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