August 28, 1995 12:00 PM

Malcolm McLaren

McLaren, the dandyish rock impresario whose strangely varied credits include founding the Sex Pistols and concocting a marriage between R&B and Puccini (on the 1984 album Fans), here pays tribute to the City of Light. He both sings and recites a sort of tour itinerary, with visits to Pére-Lachaise Cemetery, the Métro, etc. He has also, very shrewdly enlisted the help of French pop goddess Françoise Hardy, sighing like Camille on the death-haunted “Revenge of the Flowers,” and the actress Catherine Deneuve, turning up on an intoxicatingly silly extravaganza called “Paris Paris.”

This is essentially souvenir-stand kitsch, but superior pop nevertheless. The album, impeccably produced, glides along on wistful, romantic puffs of melody, punctuated with icy splinters of piano music by Erik Satie. The image that Paris ultimately evokes is not of the eternally belle Deneuve but the balloons of the Montgolfier brothers—a big, gorgeous object soaring on hot air. (No!/Gee Street/Island)

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