Usually thought of as a middle-of-the-road popular singer, Françoise Hardy -- at the beginning of her career, at least -- covered more stylistic ground and owed more debts to pop/rock than she's given credit for. Immensely popular in her native France, the chanteuse first displayed her breathy, measured vocals in the early and mid-'60s. Her (mostly self-penned) recordings from that era draw from French pop traditions, lightweight '50s teen idol rock, girl groups, and sultry jazz and blues -- sometimes in the same song. The material is perhaps too unreservedly sentimental for some (in the French tradition), but the songs are invariably catchy and the production, arrangements, and near-operatic backup harmonies excellent, at times almost Spector-esque. Fans of Marianne Faithfull's mid-'60s work can find something of a French equivalent here, though Hardy's material was stronger and her delivery more confident.