Review by: Nina Anatchkova
Album assigned by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Beat music did come to latin Europe under the tag yé-yé (quite logically, from the English “yeah! yeah!”) and as far as I am aware, the predominant cliche on the French musical scene was that of the young wide-eyed ingenue singing bubble-gum double entendres. Françoise Hardy does, of course, stand out here not only because of her famous shyness but that may be a key to the generally introverted nature of this album that deals with love and mostly loss.
The album opens on a cover version of a song first performed by The Vernons Girls – Only You Can Do It, which was originally a happy poppy anthem about first love, but is here, I feel, improved by a different set of lyrics. And while the joy of having someone to make you want to be kissed and so on does indeed go well with the catchy intro and upbeat tone, Françoise Hardy’s version about wanting your lover to come back to you gives the upbeat tone an altogether different meaning.
In fact, maybe he will return and not have a word to say, and therefore not say anything because everything seems to have changed, leading Ms. Hardy to decide to not wait for anyone anymore as the following tracks will inform you.
But these tracks are beautiful to listen to, anyway, beautiful in their subtlety and in Françoise Hardy’s subdued plaintive vocal delivery, and in the somewhat traditional beautiful imagery associated with the various pains of love and love lost – talking and not talking, the night over the city, forgetting, going away, returning, and, of course, roses.
Do not be led to believe that this is a boring one-note mopey album for people who have been dumped, though – there is a variety of moods on display here, and I’d go as far as to say that the poetic qualities of the French language are also given their proper place under the limelight, so if that is a point of interest to you, definitely check out this album. I know that now that I’ve become acquaintant with it, I’ll probably pick it over a Carpenters record anytime I am in the mood for some dreamy pop music about… you know, love.