Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Francoise Hardy pt III

Francoise Hardy released tons of material in the mid 60's. It's hard to keep track of it all, because she recorded in French, English, Italian, and German and had her records released all over the world. The same material was repackaged and recycled for each country, with the US versions being a minor curiosity. How does one sell a cute French girl with an acoustic guitar to American audiences in the 60's? By using lame puns and putting her inside a shipping crate, of course!

Anyways, I have a fair amount of this stuff, but don't listen to it as much as I used to. But, recently something caught my ear. A friend of mine played me the following tune by the Dirty Beaches:

As many people have noted on Youtube and other corners of the Internet, the best part of the song is the piano loop. The rest of it is some stoned low-fi version of Jesus and Mary Chain and Serge Gainsbourg; ie. a dude mumbling in a low voice. There was definitely something familiar about that goddamn loop. I admit, I couldn't place it and let my fingers do the walking. Sure enough, it's a Francoise Hardy song:

I admit the whole mania about this song and the Dirty Beaches song escapes me. The Dirty Beaches song sort of confirms to me why I haven't bothered to keep track of any new indie rock for the last 10 years: it's boring and derivative.

As for the F. Hardy original, it's a nice tune and all, but I guess I like her less arranged stuff. If you do want that song, get the album pictured at the top of this post. It's a great record and contains the following songs as well as "Viola":

The guy in the Dirty Beaches lives in Montreal, so I guess he may have come across the record up there. Or, he could have heard the sample in a Robbie Williams song:

So, this just gets weirder and weirder. Some dude finding a Francoise Hardy record at a thrift store in Montreal and going home and making a silly song in his bedroom is something I can understand (and relate to). But, Robbie "Millenium" Williams, sampling the same record two years earlier? This confuses me to no end. And making a ridiculous video where he is in a fluffy bunny costume? So, is Robbie Williams hipper than the Dirty Beaches guy? Can someone point me to some signposts so I can find the dividing line between mainstream and underground culture? I just don't know anymore... Find out and tell me, I will be home digging through the rest of my Francoise Hardy records looking for loops, yo...