PRINT February 1995


Malcom McLaren’s Paris

LIKE FANS, HIS previous pastiche of Madame Butterfly and punk-boy gonads, Malcolm Mclaren’s Paris (Disques Vogue) combines a sort of dribbling unrhymed Anglo-Saxon rap with familiar or familiar-sounding music, in this case Parisian jazz pop and the sorely overworked piano etudes of Erik Satie. If you’ve ever wondered why the French have never produced good pop music, listen closely to the vapidly posturing ooh-la-la of Mclaren’s schoolboy sex fantasies, with their echoes of grunge chic a la le Beat Hotel and Miles Davis: pretention and cliche ooze from every line. “Jazz is Paris and Paris is jazz”—McLaren buys the fantasy of Paris as a tastefully crumbling brothel full of classy babes like Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Hardy aching to service expatriate black jazz-musicians and middle-aged hucksters like himself, a Playboy mansion of the mind avec Verlaine and Picasso. The actual vocal presence of Deneuve and Hardy on this CD, whispering such original lyrics as “I feel love . . . ,” leads one to suspect that Mclaren’s main talent consists in conning famous middle-aged ladies into greasing his financial ventures. Paris is easy to listen to as background music in a bar, but really, who needs this shit?