Pop Model

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Lio's fourth album was also her biggest to that point, a transcontinental affair (recording took place in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro; production was partially handled by John Cale and noted engineer Steven Stanley) that resulted in a series of smash singles. If lacking the pure bubbly sweetness of the earliest albums and the somewhat slyer grooves of Amour Toujours, Pop Model, clearly a product of its time, nonetheless puts everything together well enough to stand out. "Pop Song," which kicks off the album, sets the tone strongly -- rhythmic delivery (not quite MCing but not so far from that as might be guessed), big beats, and a literal joie de vivre. From there Pop Model struts, kicks, and has itself a wonderful time, Lio skipping through the songs in fine voice. She is sometimes buried by the arrangements, to be sure, and once or twice the music starts to verge on a more generic bright-and-trebly commercial style that could have been the backing for the end credits of any "wacky" late-'80s movie. But often everything comes together just fine, and her turns on "Les Deux pour le Prix d'Une" and "Chauffeur Suivez Cette Voiture" are particularly strong. Flecks of earlier paths continually recur as well, as can be heard on the yeh-yeh-tinged "Les Filles Veulent Tout" and the orchestral backing on songs like "Dallas" -- nothing to do with a soap opera theme -- and "Veste du Soir." Meanwhile, her spirited remake of the early T. Rex classic "Hot Love" is a pure delight that Marc Bolan himself likely would have approved of. The 2006 reissue includes a slew of extended remixes that are more functional than anything else, plus a drumless remix of the already fairly sedate "Barbie," while "Brunettes Are No Puppets" is an English-language take on "Les Brunes Competent Pas pour des Prunes."

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