Françoise Hardy

J'Écoute de la Musique Saoûle

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Little of what Françoise Hardy recorded after the early '70s succeeded in dating well, and this LP from 1978 was one of the first of a desultory string of recordings. Produced by Gabriel Yared, J'Écoute de la Musique Saoûle places Hardy in the context of a mawkish balladeer, a position she's only rarely able to transcend with more subtle vocals. The slick, catchy title track featured Hardy purring over a variety of period effects, and "Brouillard Dans la Rue Corvisart" -- her duet with Jacques Dutronc -- is a notable lost opportunity, the song taken at a relaxed tempo that allows little of real emotion to seep through. Very occasionally, glimpses of the old, artistic Hardy can be heard; "Si Je le Retrouve un Jour" is yet another weepy ballad, though a bit of acoustic guitar allows her to sound as evocative as she did during her late-'60s peak.

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