Françoise Hardy - Le premier bonheur du jour (1963), 7/10

One of the most beautiful voices you'll hear and classic yé-yé at its most elegant. Françoise Hardy provides some of her finest and most entertaining yet graceful performances, set to a wonderful collection of songs. This is very hard not to fall in love with and simply charismatic beyond any of her later work despite its infancy in sound. Le premier bonheur du jour has become my personal soundtrack for road trips through the countryside, a laidback warm summer evening, or just takes a seat as a companion when needed. The album is filled with joyous melodies and ballads, just listen to the instrumental on "L'amour ne dure pas toujours" or the ‘wop doo wops’ on "On dit de lui" and try to resist its charm. Practically every song has its own individual elegance and delicate allure, things start off at an absolute peak in the title track and the experience remains charming and enthralling all the way through to its conclusion in “On dit de lui”. Bob Dylan wrote her love letters after seeing her perform live during this era of her career... and I don't blame him. Although songs like “Va pas prendre un tambour” or “Toi je ne t'oublerai pas” lack the maturity of her later work, they are still head and shoulders above her contemporaries’ simplistic takes and performances. An alternating of these traditionally aestheticized songs with the more progressive sound in “Avant de t'en aller” give the album its place among the greater yé-yé of the sixties. There are songs that sound dated such as “Comme tant d'autres” that still have a unique quality in sound that help them stand apart in integrity of arrangement. More graceful tunes like “J'aurais voulu” or the endlessly infatuating “Le sais-tu?” clearly make up the stronger passages, however and help give Le premier bonheur du jour its status as one of Françoise Hardy’s best.