Françoise Hardy - Le Premier Bonheur du jour - LP - 180gram
This was Françoise Hardy's second LP and final one as a teenager (19), and is a mini-pop masterpiece that stands well above the work of any solo mainstream pop artist of her age at that time (1963). The recordings all appeared previously during the course of the year on EPs, and the running time is barely 26 minutes, but this feels like a completely coherent set that beautifully showcases who she was as an artist at that moment in time - as well as a predictor of the greatness to come.
Exactly half of the tracks were composed by her, music and words. These songs are strikingly mature. the product of an independent intelligence and spirit, with virtually nothing in common with her "yé-yé"-girl contemporaries who were putting out mostly disposable product forced upon them by older male record execs and producers. Above all, they had to be coy and cute and baby-dollishly sexy. On the other hand, Françoise Hardy's originals, starting with "Comme tant d'autres," feel like the voice of a new generation not so willing just to do what is expected of her. "J'aurais voulu" is a profoundly personal, yearning ballad; and "Saurai-je" and "Le sais-tu?"are probing pop ballad gems, the latter being of the more lilting, midtempo variety. Her "Nous tous" is a relentlessly catchy change of piece, on a par with contemporaneous high-quality girl-pop emanating from the U.S. The sixth of her six self-composed songs, "L'Amour ne dure pas toujours," is perhaps the most stunning in its maturity level, as deep and dark thoughts about love are set to a starkly original jazz tune propelled by a predominant jagged organ sound.
Of the songs written by others, the lead-off title track "Le Premier Bonheur du jour" is of a timeless beauty, lyrically and melodically, and Hardy's interpretation is breathtakingly honest and intimate.
She also very skillfully adapted compositions by Paul Anka ("Avant de t'en aller") and Burt Bacharach/Hal David ("L'Amour d'un garçon") into French. (The latter, "The Love of a Boy," had been a #44 U.S. pop hit for Timi Yuro in 1962) For pure pop-rock excellence it would be hard to beat "On dit de lui," the French-language version of "It's Gonna Take Me Some Time" (the British B-side of Connie Francis's 1962 top ten summer smash "Vacation"), which someone had the good sense to rescue from undeserved obscurity by getting it to Françoise Hardy (assuming she didn't discover it herself). Slink off to dreamsville with this deluxe 180 gram vinyl release!
A1 Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour
A2 Va Pas Prendre Un Tambour
A4 Toi Je Ne T'Oublierai Pas
A5 Avant De T'en Aller
A6 Comme Tant D'Autres
B1 J'Aurais Voulu
B2 Nous Tous
B3 L'Amour D'Un Garçon
B4 Le Sais-Tu
B5 L'Amour Ne Dure Pas Toujours
B6 On Dit De Lui