Tant de belles mélodies
When I listen to Françoise, I inevitably think of my mum. My mother and I share a boundless love for many musical artists (Georges Brassens, Djeli Moussa Diawara, the Beatles, Neil Young... to name but a few). But it's really when I hear Françoise Hardy's angelic/sumptuous voice that I think of her the most. She's her favorite singer, without a doubt. Her favourite artist even (and in Françoise's case, we can easily speak of a total artist in every respect). The one who has been with her since she was a teenager. The one whose albums (each richer than the next) have punctuated the different milestones of her life; the ethereal songs of the Parisian yéyé sublimating her moments of euphoria, comforting her in her moments of doubt or sadness. Françoise was evolving. So did my mother. I can't separate the two women. They are linked in me.
I've been listening to Françoise Hardy since I was in my mother's womb. So I think she's the artist I've been listening to the longest. I wasn't always passionate about Françoise. But as soon as my mother gave me the injection for good (around the age of 15 or 16), it was decided: Françoise and me, it was for life. She would also accompany me in my joys, my sorrows, my accomplishments, my defeats, my devouring anguish, the turning points of my life (past and future); from the cradle to the grave. Françoise is the musical extension of the infinite love I have for my mother. It is the magical bond that unites us forever. And for those of you who think that's "nancy" (for a lack of a better term), I wish you things that aren't fun at all (like getting your testicle stuck in a garage door, for example).
Françoise's debut album is already a pure marvel. It's Françoise accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a very minimalist rhythm section. What more could you ask for from life? Darkthrone? Wu-Tang Clan? Yes, indeed (because I'm a versatile human being for those who don't know). The songs are all great. The lyrics are to die for happiness (in a mystical/magical Saskatchewan prairie, with grass that doesn't stain jeans). It starts with one of Françoise's greatest songs, "Tout les garçons et les filles". It's all there already: the bewitching voice that sounds like it's straight out of an ancient time that never really existed, those guitar arpeggios that go straight to your soul, melancholy that curls all the clever little hairs of your body, bright daytime lights that warm your whole being, raw and benevolent beauty. "Le temps de l'amour" = I want to announce something very important to those who feel nothing when listening to this song: you've never known love or you're dead. Consult an thanatologist. He will confirm my words without hesitation. You will then be able to discuss the funeral arrangements with his colleague in order to have a beautiful custom-made coffin.
"Il est tout pour moi" and Françoise's playful guitar (+ the very groovy bass line) is the vermeil star that rises directly in your face after an exhilarating night of love spent singing and kissing around a fire. "La fille avec toi" is a beautiful and simple story... Same thing for "Ton meilleur ami". Sound painting. We are overwhelmed by simple images that are very clear and beautifuly detailed... Françoise's real talent for telling sad love stories is incredible. In fact Françoise is a bit like the yéyé bard who goes from village to village to share her stories of everyday life but in her own special way, through her both naive and intelligent point on view about everything. The second side of the album is not to be outdone, with a series of miraculous ballads, slow songs for adults, sour sweets, timeless hits... The album ends with "C'est à l'amour auquel je pense" that makes the sky cry. A superb first discographic opus. My rating (which means "excellent") is quite hard for a record of this quality... but Françoise hasn't yet reached her full potential. And that will come soon enough.