Mylène Farmer’s Désenchantée : Still Enchanting

Underrated in the grand scene that is pop music, French singer and lyricist Mylène Farmer (September 12, 1961) is definitely one of my favorite pop music artists if only for one song: Désenchantée.

Back in March 1991 it topped the French charts for over 2 months. It was covered by Kate Ryan in 2002. Not a bad version for the average euro cheese pop cover but, as you’d expect, it lacks the emotion and intensity of the original.

Mylene Farmer

Mylene Farmer performing Desenchantee live at Bercy in 2006

I love the song because of its chord progressions combined with a fantastic melody and the poetically written serious lyrics. So even though the music is upbeat and euphoric, it’s underlying core is that of despair, sorrow, inward reflection and hopelessness. In fact, it was inspired by the 1934 book On The Heights Of Despair by Romanian philosopher Emil Corian. But I’d say it could be any existentialist. Even when I first heard the song – and I don’t really speak French – I knew I heard more than just an infectious piece of pop music anthem.

Admittedly I was late to the party when it comes to discovering her but despite the lack of understanding the French language, like most of us, I do speak the universal language of music and when I heard Moi… Lolita by Alizée , also written and produced by Farmer, I got sucked in once again and appreciated Mylène Farmer even more. I do think Moi… Lolita is on par with Désenchantée and one of the best pop songs ever.

Alizee

Alizee

Though my own music is (arguably) not Pop, I am a sucker for melodies. And I love the art of artists wrapping all that emotion in a 4 minute or less song. That’s why I like good Pop Music. The general thought is that Dance Music shouldn’t deal with anything serious. But I disagree to an extent. Until I’ve found the right formula or ideas I don’t think I could ever write and produce one…

Just watch the video and see all those smiling and happy faces singing along with the lines

Everything is chaos
By comparison
All of my ideals:
Damaged words…
I’m looking for a soul
Who will be able to help me
I am from
A disenchanted generation,
Disenchanted

It’s pretty awesome.

I originally intended to write about Mylène Farmer’s obscurity in the world of pop music but that’s not true at all; She has sold more than 30 million records in France and her popularity is immense in various parts of the world. Still, I wish she’d be even more known, but that’s just my ego talking here and in a microscopic version of the music world – like underground dance music – it’s been said about many, I’d even say the majority – including about myself – by music lovers all over the world in any genre.

Mylène Farmer

Mylène Farmer

Of course I don’t like all of her musical output but if someone can write and produce a song like Désenchantée that’s good enough for me to be a lifelong worshiper. The original clip is a work of art, as many of her other vids but my fave is the version she did in the Mylenium Tour. Here’s one with the English translation:

Dance Music matures nicely. Oh wait..it’s Pop!

I was watching Jools Holland on the BBC just as Miike Snow was playing. I didn’t know who they were so I youtubed it by the lyrics they were singing. I say ‘they’ because  they’re a band. From Sweden. And their sound is firmly rooted in Electronic Dance Music and DJ culture

For a long time I’ve been complaining about the Dance Music scene still finding itself in a niche market. But what I didn’t see is that it slowly but surely became part of contemporary pop music. Bands like Miike Snow and even the now famous ones like Keane and Coldplay are all developing their music as expected from a ‘generation of clubbers’. It’s just easily integrated. It comes natural. It’s been part of their diet.

Mike Snow's debut album

So when it comes naturally it’s all good I guess. There’s no reason to wait for the Tiesto’s or Armin’s becoming pop stars. They never will. It might appear that way but it’s altogether different.

Stepping out of what you know is mandatory. O yeah, you can still be successful, famous, a millionaire and even be happy with that. Bands like Sweden’s Miike Snow stepped off, broke out and kept the good bits from 24 years of Dance Music. After all, why be a prisoner of your own style?

Check out Miike Snow’s Black and Blue. They’re even better live. Go see them if you can.