Françoise Hardy


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French teen idol and pop icon Françoise Hardy returned to record shelves in 2006 with Parenthèses, a collection of 12 duets. Longtime collaborators like Henri Salvador and husband Jacques Dutronc join some up-and-comers to offer up a slew of some of Hardy's favorites. Among the selections, the intimate and lilting duet with Dutronc, the eerie "My Beautiful Demon" with Ben Christophers and "Le Fou de la Reine" (with the perpetually smooth Henri Salvador) are highlights. Keeping production tricks and mixing slick-ery to a tasteful minimum, Hardy manages to capture quite a bit of the magic that made earlier efforts (like 1971's Question) so uncluttered and engaging. Even Julio Iglesias seems to get into the groove, turning in a fine rendition of Dutronc's aching "Partir Quand Même..." that's neither flashy nor overtly sexy -- just comfortable -- and that's a good overall description of the album as well.

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