Françoise Hardy is reciting the first lines of Serge Gainsbourg’s song La Javanaise for my benefit. We are sitting at a small table in the middle of an otherwise empty room in a stylish Paris hotel. Eyes closed, her hand tracing a repeated arc in the air, she enunciates every word as if teaching a hapless pupil – “J’avoue j’en ai bavé, pas vous…” she intones softly, “Avant d’avoir eu vent de vous…”
These seductive lines, she says, are the perfect example of the “sonority” of a song lyric, the elusive element she values above almost all else in her music. “For me, everything begins with the melody,” she says, growing animated. “Without the melody, there can be no words, but I also need this sonority, this poetic sound that the words make when they combine with the melody. This has always been my obsession. I know that I am very limited vocally, but I also know why I am still here – it is purely because I am so selective when finding the melodies.” The Guardian
TUCKED away on the back cover of 1964’s Another Side Of Bob Dylan is a poem.
“For Françoise Hardy,” writes Dylan. “At the Seine’s edge/A giant shadow/Of Notre Dame/Seeks t’ grab my foot…” Hardy has known about Dylan’s untitled poem for the past 54 years, but it was only a few months ago that she really began to understand it. “Earlier this year, two Americans got in touch with me,” she says. “They had inherited some drafts of the poem that Dylan had left in a café. They sent me these drafts, and I was very moved. This was a young man, a very romantic artist, who had a fixation on somebody only from a picture. You know how very young people are… I realised it had been very important for him. (Uncut)
Et le dernier album ? Il est beau, mélancolique (ce qui n’est pas triste), plein de charme.