Monday, 17 July 2017

Françoise Hardy - s/t (aka La Question) (1971)

From Brazil to France - without entirely leaving Brazil.  Françoise Hardy's eleventh album, again untitled but retrospectively known by the title of one of its best known tracks (as per conventions of the time/genre), was a collaboration with Brazilian musician Tuca, who was living in Paris at the time.  Tuca, real name Valeniza Zagni da Silva, tragically died seven years later at age 34, having released just three albums of her own.  Here, writing all the music for Hardy's album and playing beautifully understated guitar, is perhaps her best known work, which took Hardy's career to a new level of maturity.

La Question in some ways reminds me of my favourite Astrud Gilberto album, I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do - around half an hour long, but managing to cram in a huge emotional weight in its wistful, small-hours ambience and songs about love both unrequited and long gone.  In amongst this, there's also an offbeat oddness in songs like Le Martien (French sophistication apparently dictates that alien abductors come bearing not bodily probes, but engagement rings) and in the breathy, wordless evocations of Pauline Réage's Story Of O.

Arrangements throughout this great record are restrained and always perfectly complementary to the track, right through to the closing reimagining of a song by another Brazilian musician, Taiguara.  La Question is a huge highlight not just in Françoise Hardy's discography, but in adult French pop in general.



  1. softshoebanana20 July 2017 at 21:07

    Hi Allan, never heard her before,wouldn't normally consider listening to this kind of stuff but after your write up I decided to take a punt, glad I did, fantastic stuff.
    Listened to Django Reinhardt & Stephan Grappelli before downloading your post and listened to Robert Fripp & Andy Summers after Francoise, made for an entertaining evenings listening.
    Many thanks for your excellent blog.

  2. softshoebanana20 July 2017 at 21:52

    Hi Allan, excellent post many thanks for this.

  3. Son plus bel album,
    poétique et sensuel.