Friday, August 20, 2010

Françoise Hardy - La question (1971)

Of course, when talking about French pop music, Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson is unquestionably the best offering from the genre; the next best is La question by Françoise Hardy. I consider Hardy the preeminent of all French female vocalists; sadly, she never earned the respect she deserved on this side of the pond. Let's change all that.

Where Gainsbourg's Melody Nelson was a raunchy and lecherous romp through dirty Parisian alleyways- its seven tracks clock in just under 28-minutes; La question is a mellow affair, like a beckoning fireplace and bearskin rug after schussing down Courchevel all day. Sparely arranged (most tracks just feature Françoise and an acoustic guitar) it could have as easily fallen into the chanson category, the all-encompassing term used to describe most Francophone music that fell outside of standard pop/rock fare; think of Jacques Brel as the torch carrier. Although I would argue that this is a pop/rock album in the same vein that Carole King or Joni Mitchell could be considered her American counterparts.

At the end of the day, Hardy could've made her career alone on her stunning good looks and her status as a fashion icon, but her voice and personality carry the music beyond that; this is really a wonderful album.


* * e d o * * said...

check this out. it's the record by the dude who was Serge's right hand man for the recording of Histoire De Melody and is amazing

Jimmy Mac said...

Thanks, Edo- DL'ed and in my queue. Will check it out before the weekend is through.

Elliot Knapp said...

Agreed, great album. Glad to see it's getting its due on here! Just reviewed it on my music blog.

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