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Monday, November 26, 2012

Mark’s Pick of the Week: Françoise Hardy by Françoise Hardy

           It’s not often that I get to do a “Pick of the Week” AND a “You Should be Celebrating” all in the same post, but since I can type faster then both John and Steve I get to be the one to talk about one of my favorite albums of all time: Françoise Hardy’s debuted album (aka The Yeh-Yeh Girl From Paris in the US).

            I discovered her accidentally.  A friend of mine sent me one of her singles from another cd, and decided to check out some of her other stuff.  I decided to start with her first album, and was blown away by how great this relatively simple pop music is. 
            That week I basically listened to nothing else, and during one of these repeats I asked a friend in my dorm to listen to it.  He stood there for about ten seconds, asked if it was French, and then said he only listens to music in English.  I don’t tell you this to put down my friend (he’s actually turned me on to a few really good artists,) but instead to kind of make a point.  The Beatles recorded only two songs in a language other then English (two of their early singles in German) and yet they are known all around the world.  This French artist records over two albums in English, and still she isn’t very well known here. 
            I say that because she’s very well known in France as an actress, singer, fashion icon, loved by many English speaking songwriters including Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, as well as worked with the likes of Blur and Iggy Pop. She also has probably has sung several songs in tv or movie montage that took place in France.  Just picture a French song and see if this doesn’t match up.
            I’ve never listened to one of her recordings in English and I never intend to.  Every syllable coming from Ms. Hardy is laid in such a way that it would seem a grievous crime to hear it in any other language then the one it was conceived in.  Even though I don’t know what the lyrics mean, word for word, the feelings and images I get from these songs is more then enough.  
No thanks, I'll stick with the original 
            This month marks the 50th anniversary of this album.  It’s interesting to think this album came out 5 months before Please Please Me.  Now I’m not knocking that album, but I wouldn’t say that’s the Beatles’ strongest work.  This album not only still shines through after 50 years, but remains as one of my favorite pop albums.
            If you like this then I’ve got good news.  She’s been putting out music for the last 50 years so there’s no shortage of music for you to check out. You can check out her website here.

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