In Which She Is One With The Image and The Sound

Hard To Pin Down

the allure of Françoise

by Brittany Julious

I don’t want to say it’s all about the bangs.

But when it comes to Françoise, it’s all about the bangs.

I think we’d all like to believe that our infatuation with certain celebrities has some sort of redeeming quality beyond the sun-kissed coif of Jennifer Aniston or the all-too romantic curls of Patrick Dempsey, but that would be a lie. For some, the personal style trumps artistic merit (no matter how large that merit may be).

There are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young, waif-like females parading around street corners and down back alleys. Hours spent browsing websites online for inspiration, although most likely misinformed by a slew of images culled from Google; they immediately find comfort in the image of Françoise.

Her eyes are large, round and warm. Her beauty, natural and graceful, is a respite from plasticized and inorganic expectations for the modern females. Their slender physiques are clothed in dark black pants and striped tops. And their hair? Full of shine, it’s sleek, so memorable that one can’t help but admire the staying power. The undeniable and effortless chic that Françoise defined over forty years ago.

That’s not to say that Françoise was and is not a symbol of female ingenuity, talented beyond compare.

Of all of the fascinating women of her era, Françoise seemed to best embody the characteristics that made the 1960s memorable.

Her songs were of the ye-ye style, yes, but she never abandoned her musicianship for the sake of quaint, sometimes simplistic French pop music. “Comment te dire adieu,” remains one of her best known songs as well as a critical favorite (especially among the hipster set).

download the album comment te dire adieu here

As the ye-ye style eventually lost popularity, Françoise merely expanded her musical horizons. Although she is arguably the most well known ye-ye artist beginning with her first record, Tous les garçons et les filles, the end of the ‘60s saw a richer, more realized phase of her musical career (with songs recorded in French, German, and English) by way of over 20 albums recorded in the following three decades.

The modern Francophile, however, seems to skim over this point.

Here’s a good starting point. Here’s another. And in case it all seems to confusing, remember that Träume (1970) is lush and warm and meant for fall, Gin Tonic (1980) is the re-emergence of the “hard-to-pin-down” cool that made Françoise Françoise, and Clair-obscur (2000) is the comeback, the re-awakening and the reminder that some things just get better with age.

Brittany Julious is the senior contributor to This Recording. She tumbls at britticisms and blogs at glamabella. Read her interview with the Watson Twins here.

portrait of the author behind a hot poster

ENJOY THE MUSIC OF THIS SPECIAL ONE

“Jeanne” – Air with Françoise Hardy (mp3)

“Suzanne” – Françoise Hardy (mp3)

“L’Anamour” – Françoise Hardy (mp3)

“Comment Te Dire Adieu” – Françoise Hardy (mp3)

“La Rue Des Couers Perdus” – Françoise Hardy (mp3)

“La Mer, Les Etoiles, et Le Vent” – Françoise Hardy (mp3)

“Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux” – (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

The hair makes the man in No Country for Old Men.

Venus and Serena remind us of the future.

John C. Reilly’s beautiful singing voice.

3 thoughts on “In Which She Is One With The Image and The Sound

  1. Nice. Now my Françoise vinyl might buy me lunch. I believe at one time the French would fight over Françoise and Brigitte the same way people fight over Jimmy Page and Steve Howe. Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson.

  2. Francois looks like the kind of girl who would be complaining about smells all the time and cry if she stained her white jeans.

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