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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Helena

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published October 28, 2006

Née dans la nature/Born In The Wild
Universal Music c/o Sunnyside SSC 3032

Helena Noguerra, born in Brussels of Portuguese parents, has already been successful as a model, an actress, a TV and radio personality, a novelist, and a singer even though she’s only in her mid-thirties. Née dans la nature, Helena’s third album, incorporates a range of French styles such as chanson, jazz hot, and bal musette but there are also dollops of yé-yé.  Like Carla Bruni, another singer who started out as a model, there’s a wispy “little girl lost” quality to Helena’s singing. Such a fragile, innocent yet seductive quality is not uncommon among French pop singers. While Helena is responsible for the lyrics, and guitarist Philippe Katerine for the melodies, one exception is a dreamy rendition of “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” a song originally recorded by Kylie Minogue. There’s a lush, slightly cheesy quality to much of Née dans la nature. It’s nearly marshmallow music, silky and sweet, treacly yet firm, and it’s the type of stuff that can also turn into a guilty pleasure.