Fueling Fall Melancholy with Françoise Hardy

by Audrey Avril ’19

It feels like we’re closing in on winter. The leaves have fallen, the birds have flown. The days are short now, and the warm vibrancy of early  fall is long gone. You watch the sun set under a shroud of darkening grey clouds. It has gotten colder.

There is nothing like the end of fall to put you in a bit of a sentimental gloom, and there’s no one better to add a touch of sweet to your late-fall bitterness than Françoise Hardy. A more mature twist on the themes and persona of the 60s French yé-yé style of pop artist, Hardy brought a unique voice and perspective to the scene. As a songwriter, she would grow to forgo the cutesy (considered such at the time by predominantly male songwriters) innuendos and specific romance clichés of the genre in a way that transcends the decades in which she predominantly wrote. Her feelings are entirely her own, which makes it so much more passionate a listening experience. Through her often introverted,  sometimes insecure lens, she is a woman half consumed by longing and half lamenting the loss of love. A little melodramatic? Maybe, but maybe that’s what this time of year needs. Here is a short playlist to bring a little life to this dull, dark time of the year.

“Tous les Garcons et les Filles”

Straight off her 1962 EP, this song recounts a loveless youth jealous of the happy couples that surround her.

“Ton Meilleur Ami”

An comically peppy recounting of mixed signals and misplaced love.

“Le Temps de l’Amor”

A haunting yet danceable tune that was featured in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (2012).

“L’amour Ne Dure Pas Toujours”

Definitely a vintage spy vibe off of this track.

“La Premier Bonheur Du Jour”

A short but moving song that showcases Hardy’s curt yet wistful songwriting.

“Message Personnel,”

A quiet start to this track carefully blooms to near-power ballad proportions.

“Mon Amie la Rose”

Originally a poem by Cécile Caulier and Jacques Lacome Hardy later transformed into a song in 1964.

“La Question”

A classic yet darkly strenuous love song whose piano and guitar swings between hints of jazz and a more classical sound.

“Il n/y a Pas d’Amour Heureux”

A rising and lilting take on the tune. Translating roughly to “there is no happy love,” this song makes the statement seem true in a delicate, painful way.

“Comment te Dire Adieu,”

Half whimsical dance number half classic Bond tune, this is probably one of my personal favorites of hers.

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