Françoise Hardy

Voilà

Song Review by

Though it's little-known to English-speaking audiences, "Voila" is great 1960s symphonic pop, similar in some respects to and as good as contemporaneous efforts by Dusty Springfield in the same vein (such as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"). Certainly it was one of the greatest triumphs of Françoise Hardy's career, and it is unfortunate that most of her 1960s work subsequent to this track (which appeared on a 1967 French EP) was not nearly as ambitious in the scope of its production. "Voila" begins with an alternation of sassy piano and horn riffs, against a thundering yet crisp percussive beat that's Phil Spector-like in its density. Hardy sings the verses in a somewhat more confident and playful tone than was her wont, rejoined at various turns by responsive horn lines. She gets more earnest and strident, though, as the chorus approaches and the melody shifts into more powerful gear. The chorus is pull-out-the-stops time, as Hardy grandly intones the lyrics in some of the most powerful, yet clear, singing she ever put on disc, bolstered by melodramatic choral backup vocals, horns, and piano trills. Just as it reaches a fervent climax, though, it hushes quickly down. So do her vocals as she returns to the verse in a sexy near-whisper. Soon enough it's back to the chorus, which this time ends on an expansive sustained note, the horns, piano, drums, and voices all swelling to an appropriately operatic finale. "Voila" is heart stopping, sentimental, dramatic pop, pulled off with more aplomb here than in almost any other disc, by Hardy or anyone else.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Ma Jeunesse Fout Le Camp 1967 EMI Music Distribution 0:00
Les Grands Succès de Francoise Hardy 1987 Vogue 3:23
Blues 1962/1993 1993 BMG International
Greatest Recordings 1995 Vogue / Disques Vogue 3:20
Les Chansons d'Amour [BMG] 1997 Camden 3:22
The Vogue Years 2001 BMG International 3:21
L' Essentiel [BMG] 2001 BMG International 3:26
Frag Den Abendwind 2001 BMG International 3:21
Collection [Box Set] 2002 BMG International 17:47
Les Grands Numéros, Vol. 1 2004 381 Roupe BMG Quebec / BMG Québec 3:23
Platinum Collection 2008 EMI Music Distribution 3:21
C'est Chic! French Girl Singers of the 1960s 2010
Various Artists
Ace / Ace UK 3:21