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Francoise Hardy: Parentheses

Lyra Pappin

Francoise Hardy


Label: Caroline
US Release Date: 2006-11-27
UK Release Date: 2007-01-22

Francoise Hardy is as famous a French singer as you can get. Growing up in the spotlight, Francoise has released numerous albums, and achieved mass appeal in her native France, but also enjoys a global audience. Drop dead gorgeous in her youth, Francoise continues to be the epitome of a French seductress, mixing richness with sophistication and an elusive appeal. Do I dare say it? She’s got that certain “je ne sais quoi” of course.

Parentheses is a collection of Hardy's favorites and the result is perhaps the best music for an elegant (and maybe a touch pretentious) dinner party. Francoise Hardy isn’t considered exactly edgy in her homeland, but with the foreign appeal of her deeply smooth vocals, combined with some interesting duets, this album is a collection of songs sure to draw some contentment and interest from an older, shall we say more “appreciative”, crowd.

There are no risks taken on Parentheses, but there’s nothing disappointing in it either. There’s a grace to its simplicity, which is rarely achieved by any North American counterpart. Warmth permeates this record, as indicated even from the orange and red hues in the album’s artwork. Elegant and stylish, Francoise breathes her way through “Les Sédiments…” and conjures up an intimacy that heightens the soft sway of the light musical accompaniment.

She also sings with longtime collaborator and husband, Jacques Dutronc, which is the highlight of the album; a gorgeous lightly skipping dance through a beautiful love called “Amour, Toujours, Tendresse, Caresses…”. (Which translates to: Love, Always, Tenderness, Caresses...). So lovely!

Each song is well crafted, sung with care and a genuine affection that lends a greater depth to the overall effect than most mainstream artists of this generation. This isn’t the perfect album for your average Saturday night. Unless your average Saturday night involves wine tastings, foie gras and discussions about the latest art gallery opening. But hey, who couldn’t use a night like that once in awhile?


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