À L’OMBRE


Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI

À l’ombre (In the Shadow) is a song from Mylène Farmer’s ninth studio album, Monkey Me released on 3 December 2012.

It is the first single extracted. À l’ombre” is an electropop, dance song similar in style to the songs on Farmer’s Point de suture album.



The lyrics of the song À l’ombre were written by Mylène Farmer. The music for À l’ombre was composed by Laurent Boutonnat.                                                                              

Note that this is the first time Mylène has made an (indirect) reference in one of her texts to the country of her childhood, Canada:

Et là, sous les érables
Le froid se cabre

” And there – Under the maples – The cold is rearing up “.

This song is in a way a “sequel” to the previous one from 2005 – Avant que l’ombre… It seems she explores the concept of a “shadow” further. It is really an interesting development that took her 7 years. If you are familiar with a psychoanalytic approach called “shadow work”, you probably know that, the shadow (also known as id, shadow aspect, or shadow archetype) is either an unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious ego does not identify in itself, or the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious of.

photo by Nathalie Delépine

From the get-go, I referred to Mylene’s efforts as a wake-up call – meaning, she is trying to “wake us up from the shadow”, from the auto-pilot type of living into the full awareness (into the “light”) where we are alive and fully in touch with our true essence (the Soul). She awakes us though feelings, provocative and at times uncomfortable thoughts, through certain shocking revelations…But all those efforts are of the same intent -to get out of shadow…Or at least be aware of its existence and befriend it. 😁

I love that the text is very straight forward – C’est dans l’air kind of “forward”. She doesn’t beat around the bush at all – she says it as it is. Lovely wrapper of the catchy dance melody seals the deal for me. In short, I love this song!

TS Prod announces to the media on September 27, 2012 the return of Mylène with a Timeless 2013 tour, a new Monkey Me album for December 03, including a first single with a then unknown name is announced on the radio for October 22.

The title of Mylène’s single was unveiled on October 16, 2012: À l’ombre.

It is the journalist of RTL, Anthony Martin, who revealed it via a tweet: “” I listened to “À l’ombre” the new song of Mylène Farmer. Text by MF, music by L. Boutonnat. Put on the radio next Monday at 8 am.”

The days before the first broadcasts, rumors would multiply. Those who have listened to the song speak of a return to basics, of “pure Farmer / Boutonnat” or even of a” new one Désenchantée“.

Polydor France posted the visual of the single on Twitter on October 18, 2012.

There is a lot to be said about the symbolism embedded into the video. External distortion of the “mask” we all wear is for sure the prevalent one for me. Its not very Boutonnat, in fact, I didn’t even catch his vibe the first time I saw it. But nevertheless its him. I can’t shake off the feeling of disturbing and picturesque aspects immerged into one as I watch it – I am sure that’s the point…What do you all think?

The photo by Nathalie Delépine’s single was taken inside the Covent Garden hotel in London as evidenced by the visual below (on the left photo taken from a room of the hotel)

On October 22, 2012 the single À l’ombre is available from 8 am on legal download platforms. The radios can also broadcast it from this time (no exclusivity has been granted to a radio station for the broadcast).

The reactions of the net about À l’ombre are divided.

Mylène breaks a record with À l’ombre which becomes number 1 on iTunes in France on the day of its digital release in just two hours.

For its first week, À l’ombre enters the 4th place of the top singles in France with 8,875 sales.

On October 26, 2012, the first pre-orders announced three physical media: a CD single, a Maxi CD (limited edition) and a Maxi Vinyl (limited edition) and the release for November 26.

First broadcast on NRJ on November 03, 2012 of a remix of the song by Guéna LG: “Guéna LG New Chords Radio Remix”. This remix will be sent to radio stations on November 06.

We learn via amazon.fr on November 08, 2012 that there will finally be a second Maxi CD.

Excerpts from the various remixes of Guéna LG, Offer Nissim , The Young Professionals and Tony Romera are available on November 13, 2012 on the musicboxlive site (site intended for DJs). The remixes are very quickly available for full listening on the net.

On November 26, 2012, release of four physical media: CD Single, CD Maxis 1 and 2 (in limited editions) and the Maxi Vinyl (in limited edition). The remixes are offered on legal download platforms. Thanks to the release of these media, for the week of November 26 to December 2, À l’ombre is ranked 1st in the top singles in France with 22,027 sales (19,294 physical media and 2,733 downloads).

À l’ombre is the thirteenth single from Mylène to reach the first place of the top singles in France. A record, no artist or group, French or international having managed to rank more than five titles in first place.

We find À l’ombre (in its single version) in Mylène’s third best-of album, Histoires of, released on December 04, 2020.

The first images of the clip directed by Laurent Boutonnat are broadcast on December 1, 2012 at the end of Claire Chazal’s 8-hour newscast on TF1. A few minutes later, an extract of about a minute is broadcast on the channel. Immediately after, the clip is offered in full on the MYTF1 site.

First broadcasts of the clip À l’ombre on the musical channels on December 04, 2012.

The clip is offered on December 05, 2012 in HD on the You Tube channel MylèneFarmerVEVO. The clip is available for download on iTunes on December 07, 2012.

Mylène has never performed À l’ombre on television.

“We were not very excited by the first single À l’ombre, a somewhat surprising title, in the continuity of what the Farmer / Boutonnat duo had accustomed us to with Eurodance arrangements lacking in class, Mylène Farmer appeared via this new extract to have struggling to renew. ” (ptitblog.net – 12/01/2012)

“À l’ombre arrives with its intro played with the Fisherprice horn (and pumped on So we dance by Stromae) and it is a deluge of 90’s effects that descends: rise snare drum à la Barbie Girl, synths borrowed from Dr Alban … little Laurent had a great time in his room. Incidentally, the melody is quite ordinary. Too bad for a first single. […] Let’s take advantage of If you don’t say it to evoke the texts: overall, we remain on familiar ground, with death, separation …

Themes that exude the joy of living through titles like À l’ombre, Nuit d’hiver and J’ai essayé de vivre” (Quaibaquo.com – 12/02/2012)

“Boutonnat’s keyboards are clumsy, from a past century and destroys all the sympathy one can feel during melodic listening. The example of single causing the shadow is obvious, efficiency entangled in a pathetic litany of sounds. ” (Avoir-alire.com – 03/12/2012)

“If the artist was chasing the trend with Bleu Noir, Oui mais…non, she returns here to her first love: rhythm boxes and eighties synths on À l’ombre, the first single whose reception was more than mixed, even among the fans. The title also sounds the return of a tortured Mylène Farmer, while her previous disc suggested a small light in the end of the tunnel. Tired of this too brief life / We become the shadow of ourselves / The soul is the light / But the soul wanders / On all roads “, sings the artist, announcing the color of a disc that the beautiful part À l’ombre of Mylène Farmer. ” (Pure Charts – 12/05/2012)

“Let’s move on to the intro, atrocious. The heavy and heavy beat brings a certain charm to this single. The verses are promising, but the chorus is unfortunately lacking in spirit and the whole thing struggles to fly. A disappointment, like the had been Degeneration in its day. ” (evous.fr – 12/13/2012)

“There are still bad habits,” easy “melodies (À force de … , close to Pourvu qu’elles soient douces), often dated arrangements (the electro dance of À l’ombre ). ” (Télé 7 jours – 12/17/2012)

“Apart from the impeccable ballads, Quand and Je te dis tout, the Tu ne le dis pas, this twelfth (sic) album launched by the honorable and hits-que À l’ombre leaves you hungry. Decidedly, nostalgia is not what it used to be. ” (Wag! – January 2013)

“On the text side, we find the mysterious, mystical and dark Mylène on À l’ombre, NUIT D’HIVER and J’AI ESSAYÉ DE VIVRE” (Women of today – 01/03/2013)


TIMELESS 2013


Mylène performed À l’ombre on all the dates of the 2013 Timeless tour from September 7 to December 6, 2013.



The title was arranged for the stage by Laurent Boutonnat. As for the clip, the choreography was created by Franck Desplanche.

For the backdrop À l’ombre, directed by Eve Ramboz, we find images of Olivier de Sagazan‘s performance in the song’s clip as well as works by different artists proposed by Mylène. Did you notice how Mylene gives a kiss to her dancers in the end of the song?

We can discover in the scene images À l’ombre, a rather naughty lithograph by Mylène.

Like all the costumes for this tour, the white bodysuit shirt and black leather satin corset worn by Mylène were made by Jean Paul Gaultier.

According to the newspaper Le Point, “Sagazan’s work is a mixture of beautiful, and sometimes disturbing, painting and sculpture which plays with appearances and fears. The work of the performer looks so much like the singer’s world that one wonders why both did not meet.

Thomas Montet of Pure People deemed the video “disturbing”, seeing in it “the praise of madness” According to de Sagazan, the music video is “magnificent”.

Farmer in the music video for “À l’ombre”. The scene depicted is directly inspired by the French artist Olivier de Sagazan’s work Transfiguration.



An Italian fan, Angela P. Palermo, was able to talk to Olivier de Sagazan:

Showcase your art … What do you want to communicate?
I would like to communicate the existential worry and my astonishment at life.

Your performances are reminiscent of works by Francis Bacon, is that right?
Yes, absolutely. I work in the same spirit of “disfigurement”. For me, “disfigurement” is not something morbid, it is another way of questioning the living.

When you were contacted to work with Mylène, did you have any idea of ​​the work you were going to do?
no … In fact Mylène saw my work on Youtube and wanted to collaborate with me for her clip.

Was there a subject already ready for “In the shade” or it was all improvised?
Well, what was improvised, like in all performances, is knowing that I have to put dirt on my face, and transform my face with dirt, but then I don’t know where I am going, what will it be… I worked blind.

After a little uncertainty, Mylène lent herself to the game. What was it like working with her?
I quickly made Mylène understand that I was not interested in doing my performance in the background. In the clip I realize my performance and Mylène sings on top of it. I really wanted a mix of our work and for her to agree to use the land as well. A hybrid of our work. That what was most important during the performance? Concentration? Entertainment? Freedom ?

For me, it’s important to be in my work, to succeed in conveying why I do it, what I want to communicate in my work … And that’s what Mylène was captivated by. I finally used “the channel” of Mylène and show biz to get my message across and to offer a wider openness to my work.

If you could have chosen a song by Mylène for your own performance, which one would you have chosen?
Well, I think the lyrics to “In the Shadows” fit well. I think Mylène partly wrote the text based on the performance, and it’s pretty good. There are a few key words in what Mylène says that perfectly match the performance.

What if it had been another song?
I don’t know Mylène’s repertoire well, music is one thing and words are another … On the visual of my work you can’t just put just any lyrics.

Would you work with Mylène again? Maybe on stage at a concert?
Doing my performance live, that’s an idea … It’s a bit like what was done during his last tour, since as you know we see at one point my performance projected in the background.

What are your future projects?
The performance I did for Mylène’s clip, you can see it at the Garibaldi theater (Palermo) on June 17 and then another in the same spirit at Spasimo (Palermo), and I will be there with about ten dancers and actors … Both at 9 p.m.

Thank you very much for your availability, good evening.
Thank you good night.


remixes


Several remixes of the song are offered. Guéna LG who had already remixed Yes but … No ,  Bleu Noir and Lonely Lisa created their versions while Tony Romera , Offer Nissim or The Young Professionals remixed Mylène for the first time:

À l’ombre – Offer Nissim Club Remix
A L’OMBRE INSTRUMENTAL
À l’ombre – TYP Remix Club
À l’ombre – Guéna LG New Chords Radio Remix
À l’ombre – Guéna LG Remix
À l’ombre – Tony Romera Club Remix
À l’ombre – Instrumental Version

reactions


Dereck reacts: ”This woman is a Goddess” I react: oh boy, you are slow…it just occurred to you!? 😉



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lyrics with translation


L'onde est si calme
Un présage, d'automne
Là, la peur s'engage
Sur mon visage
Le doute frissonne
Suis-je
Faite pour les rêves?
D'une voix faible
Dis-moi
De ne plus être
À l'ombre
Risquer de n'être personne
L'on se cache et l'on se cogne
À l'ombre
On se coupe de soi-même
On s'arrache ainsi au ciel
À l'ombre
Et sentir que l'on se lâche
Que rien ni personne ne sache
Quand la nuit tombe
Las de cette vie trop brève
On devient l'ombre de soi-même
L'âme est la lumière
Mais l'âme ère
Sur tous les chemins
Mon cœur se ferme
Le diable harcèle
Mes lendemains
Et là, sous les érables
Le froid se cabre
Mais toi, dis-moi de ne pas être
À l'ombre
Risquer de n'être personne
L'on se cache et l'on se cogne
À l'ombre
On se coupe de soi-même
On s'arrache ainsi au ciel
À l'ombre
Et sentir que l'on se lâche
Que rien ni personne ne sache
Quand la nuit tombe
Las de cette vie trop brève
On devient l'ombre de soi-même
À l'ombre
Risquer de n'être personne
L'on se cache et l'on se cogne
À l'ombre
On se coupe de soi-même
On s'arrache ainsi au ciel
À l'ombre
Et sentir que l'on se lâche
Que rien ni personne ne sache
Quand la nuit tombe
Las de cette vie trop brève
On devient l'ombre de soi-même
The wave is so calm
An omen, of autumn
There, the fear begins
On my face
Doubt shivers
Am I
Made for dreams?
In a weak voice
Tell me
To be no more
In the shade
Risk being nobody
We hide and we bump into each other
In the shade
We cut ourselves off from ourselves
We tear ourselves away from the sky
In the shade
And feel that you are letting go
That nothing and no one knows
When the night falls
Tired of this too short life
We become the shadow of ourselves
The soul is the light
But the soul is on the way
On all the roads
My heart closes
The devil harasses
My tomorrows
And there, under the maples
The cold rears its head
But you, tell me not to be
In the shade
To risk being nobody
We hide and we bump into each other
In the shade
We cut ourselves off from ourselves
We tear ourselves away from the sky
In the shade
And feel that you are letting go
That nothing and no one knows
When the night falls
Tired of this too short life
We become the shadow of ourselves
In the shadow
To risk being nobody
We hide and we hit ourselves
In the shadow
We cut ourselves off from ourselves
We tear ourselves away from the sky
In the shade
And feel that you are letting go
That nothing and no one knows
When the night falls
Tired of this too short life
We become the shadow of ourselves

The page last edited July 8, 2022
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