CALIFORNIA


MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com
Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI


California is a song from Mylène Farmer’s fourth studio album, Anamorphosée (1995). It is the third single from it. The music for California was composed by Laurent Boutonnat . Lyrics is by Mylene Farmer.

It is in California that the verb created by Mylène is used, “anamorphosee”. A purely scientific term from which Mylène removes its abrupt or complex side, giving it a poetic or dreamlike meaning.

For the record: anamorphosis is a distorted projection requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point, use special devices, or both to view a recognizable image.


Me: “my life which is anamorphosed, if I can try to find a meaning for this word, it’s more in the idea of ​​this rear-view mirror and, there, we come back more to the cinematographic aspect, therefore to this concentration of the cinemascope format, etc. ” (Mylène Farmer – 8 p.m. Paris Premiere – 05/30/1996 )

California clip was filmed in Los Angeles on February 9 -11, 1996. It was such a smart commercial move to release truly “American” clip and to insure Anamorphosée sells well and bring Mylene straight to the top. She did it!! The clip is an irresistible “hook” we all so happily swallowed 🙂 Did you get it: “hook”/”hooker”… (haha)



MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

The clip directed by Abel Ferrara was offered on television on March 20, 1996.
It could be the 90 version of Libertine, its evolution.” (Mylène Farmer – XXELLE – Musique Plus – October 1996 )

Director : Abel Ferrara
Actor : Giancarlo Esposito
Screenplay : Mylène Farmer & Abel Ferrara
Producer : Thom Sidoti
Executive producer
 : Anouk Nora (Gédéon)
Photographer : Marianne Rosenstiehl
Stylist : Maripol
Produced by Toutankhamon SA


music video



California skillfully mixes novelty with the use of numerous neologisms and the punctuation of the text with English terms. Mylène will again use the language of Shakespeare in other songs such as famous Fuck them all and so many other titles she sings partially in English ( Les mots , Slipping away (Crier la vie) , Looking for my name …) during duets or even entirely in English on the album Bleu Noir in 2010 ( Inseparables, Light me up ) or on the album Interstellaires in 2015 ( I want you to want me ).

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Alongside this new lexicon, we find more classic references here with Apollinaire and the Mirabeau Bridge (” Vienna at night (and) strikes the hour “).

There was a lot on Mylene’s mind the year California was created. I can relate. I was very much “”anamorphosee” myself when just ariived to the states in 1996 (almost the same time as Mylene).

L’Instant X , the second extract from the album Anamorphosée released in December 1995, met with great success and strongly boosted sales of the album, which was then struggling to establish itself in the rankings. Mylene goes as far as doing girl-to-girl kiss with Valierie Bony at the TV performance of the song. Little scandal, little, taboo breaking and a lot of rumors works every time.

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com


California is a perfect choice for the 3d single, don’t you all think? It remains among the most recognizable and loved titles Mylene ever created.

A title perfectly representative of the album. A real shift not only musically but also deeper for Mylène who take s a courage to step out from her dark image to a sexier, lighter, even optimistic universe.
A universe also strongly Americanized for this album composed during the Californian exile of Mylène, after the failure of Giorgino . It turned out to be a blessing in disguise after all.

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com


California was a passage that was still important, and, once again, living nine months in a country or in a city is an important moment in life. So California, this song, was actually born of this passage. ” (Mylène Farmer – Radio 21 – 21/10/1995 )
The single-track Promo CD was sent to radio stations on February 29, 1996 .

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Two promo supports are offered in France, including a magnificent promo in a luxury edition with a silhouette photo of Mylène lifting up to reveal the CD. One of his creations of which Henry Neu is most proud.

California single released on March 26, 1996 . Alongside the classic 2-track CDs and Maxi CDs, there is a double Maxi 33 rpm and a limited edition digipak CD single.

Very unusually, the Maxi CD will remain available in stores and on the net for many years.
Because of its duration and the number of titles, this CD is considered an album (an EP more precisely) hence a large number of copies, which explains that.

California enters the 7th place of the top French singles which will remain its best ranking. It only sold around 110,000 copies but allowed the album to hold up well on the charts.
The title is a real multicast radio hit on fm, even becoming, in May, the most played French title on the radio.
California has since become a true classic of the “farmerian” repertoire.

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Interview with Abel Ferrara (2014) Interview with Anouk Nora (2007)

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Excerpt from interview with Giancarlo Esposito (allocine – 2013)
A clip signed by a great director, Abel Ferrara. We shot in Los Angeles at the Château Marmont. And also on Sunset Boulevard. I really fell in love with Mylène. She’s a real talent, adored in France. In the United States, they call her the “French Madonna”. And that’s exactly what she is. . Smart, bright, beautiful. It was a pleasure to work with her.

The clip although created by Ferrara reflects the themes dear to Mylène: the power of men over women, but the final victory is by women even if tragic. ( Sans Logique, Je t’aime mélancolie even Que mon cœur lâche), the twin ( Fuck them all , The Soul-Stram-Gram ).

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com
Clip California – Filming documents of the director François Hanss

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

I have two immediate associations off the bet when I see the clip: film Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Belle de Jour directed by Luis Buñuel and starring Catherine Deneuve.

Of course, the story Mylene created has even more bone chilling twist, the fascination with a Neo-Libertism in the settings of the Sunset Boulevard is undeniable.

As far as the context itself, its clearly a reflection of her emotional breakdown as well as a strife for rebirth and transformation, perhaps finding new zest for life in the whole new World (aka the USA).

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

I am sure it was a cultural shock as well overall emotional displacement after the Georgino. The lyrics are autobiographical indeed, the clip is definitely very imaginative and brings up a concept of the Alternate Self existing simultaneously in the same timeline along with other aspirations.



Obtaining the agreement of Abel Ferrara to make this clip of Mylène will have been the subject of very long transactions carried out by the producer Anouk Nora and Mylène “herself”.
I called him, we chatted. He asked me what I wanted to do, what did I express in my song. I told him that I wanted to play a prostitute. And we had a long conversation. Then he asked me to work on the script because he thought it was interesting so far as I wrote the text so I probably had ideas. Then we had a conversation again and I went to New York to meet him and, well, I offered him some ideas, he added his own, and it worked out that way.” (Mylène Farmer – “Tip Top” – TF1 – October 24, 1996)

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com
February 1996, Los Angeles, California, USA — French singer Mylène Farmer on the set of her video clip “California” by American director Abel Ferrara. The video tells the story of a woman from high society who meets her double, a prostitute. — Image by © Marianne Rosenstiehl/Sygma/Corbis



MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

California is the first music video directed by Abel Ferrara.
Before this clip, he had made many feature films including Snake Eyes in 1993 with Madonna.


MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Marianne Rosenstiehl was the set photographer.
She had not photographed Mylène since 1992. This is her last collaboration with her to date.

I have dedicated an entire page (click here) to the collection of the California photos by Marianne Rosenstiehl. They are incredible.

The budget of the clip produced by Gédéon is estimated at 610,000 euros, which makes it the most expensive clip of the year 1996 (the second most expensive clip for Mylène behind L’Âme-Stram-Gram in 1999 and its 900,000 euro).

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

The video is almost impossible to find in the USA to stream…grrr..

Ferrara (has been told) was really surprised and puzzled by Farmer’s insistence that he directs this clip. She offered 200,000 dollars to shoot a three-minute music video which eventually became a short film. Ferrara said he had a great respect for Farmer’s professionalism.

The actor who plays both the pimp and the husband is  Giancarlo Esposito known for many supporting roles in great films ( Desperately Seeking Susan (with Madonna), Cotton Club , Malcolm X , Usual Suspects…). The making of the clip shows that the actor had great difficulty keeping his wig in place, causing Mylène to have a good laugh 🙂


MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Farmer admitted that she talked with the prostitutes before filming to learn more about prostitution and commented: “Freedom, for me, it may be a bitch who prostitutes on Hollywood Boulevard.  We all have a vulgar side in us that we repress. Sex is an integral part of our lives”. Mylene  said she loved that role.

The topic of prostitution is not uncommon theme for Mylene. She explored it obviously in her famous Libertine video which shocks folks up to this day. Then California, then one of the versions of Appelle mon numero (in the hotel room) and later in some extend in Stolen Car. California of course being the most pronounced declaration of it. But let’s look at the complexity of the topic she proposes.

At the beginning of the video, a young, rich couple (Farmer and Esposito) is preparing to attend a reception. Meanwhile, a prostitute and a pimp (also played by Farmer and Esposito) are violently quarrelling. From her car, the rich woman looks at the prostitutes on the sidewalk and then sees her double threatened with a knife by her pimp who eventually murders her.

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

After the society reception, the rich woman gets bored and goes to the toilet where she disguises herself as a prostitute and joins those outside. She makes love with the pimp and savagely kills him to avenge the murdered prostitute (her “twin”)

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Excellent plot if you ask me! 😊 She can’t help herself to bring the justice even if it is by the wrongdoing. Still our Mylene!

The first images of the video were published by French magazine Voici, which had managed to illegally acquire some shots during the production. In an interview on Paris Première in 1996, Farmer explained that the video (which would be analyzed on Arte in July 2002 does not reflect her perception of California, adding: “It is a little caricature I would say. It is still polarized or focused on prostitution. Los Angeles is not only prostitution. I always wanted to play a prostitute and I admit that for “California”, it came spontaneously.

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

And so I called Abel Ferrara who often evokes prostitution in his films.

According to biographer Bernard Violet, the video provides the message that “women love to sometimes turn into a sexual object, but they still have their pride”, and compares the end of the video to the film Basic Instinct. (ahh! That’s another one I forgot to mention!)

I allow myself however to disagree with “flatness” of what the film communicates according to Violet.

In fact, the more I watch it, the more I am noticing: what if there isn’t just one prostitute in the film but two?
Remember, we always follow Mylene deeper than the obvious, so let’s see what we are about to discover today…

The cleverly disguised message is that both of Mylène’s characters are the “objects.” No matter how well off or otherwise poor they are – they both “belong” to a man. If you noticed, in the beginning both of the guys literally disapprove the outfit Mylène wants to wear. They “own” her in both representations. Both of them “repay” by having sex which appear to be semi-voluntary and rather being “used for”. I guess how I see it is the richer self realizes that she is heading to the same destiny as the whore one as she is well aware that her posh façade won’t guarantee any happiness nor safety nor true love. She does the justice to her “lower” self and rebels against the abuse (ahh love her feistiness!) and by doing so, she breaks free from her own enslavement.

MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

The message certainly feels very familiar as its not at all for the first time Mylene tells women to own themselves and not to be owned. I hope you see it too.

Florence Rajon criticized the video, saying that the collaboration between the two artists (Ferrara and Farmer) was “more disappointing than seducing” and that “we cannot really consider “California” a masterpiece”: the subject was “too exploitative” and “images of beautiful postcards of Hollywood are a bit too telephoned”. I personally strongly disagree with Rajon. And you?

By contrast, Royer deemed the video a “total success, in which are merging the dreamlike imaginary of Mylène and the brutal realism of Ferrara”.

California with David Matiano

Mylène is a guest on the program “Les Années Tubes” a few days before the first concerts of the 1996 Tour (broadcast on Saturday May 18, 1996 at 8:50 p.m.) .

She also performs Sans contrefaçon A version very close to that of the future live. We find in particular the same costumes for the dancers who, bare-chested and dressed in sequined shorts and neon-colored boas, become the time of this drag-queen song.
The interpretation of the title is done in front of the public standing close to the stage. Jean-Pierre Foucault then joins Mylène on stage for an interview on future concerts.

Full transcript of the interview


MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com

Mylène performs this lascivious dance on California with David Matiano, one of the dancers of the 1996 Tour. But here is why this name become ominous for Mylene. Its David Matiano who accidently causes Mylene to fall off the stage in Leon during XXL song in June 1996 (only a month after this TV performance took place).

Another bad omen stood out as I was watching making of California by Francois Hanss (see above). Did you notice how loudly a mirror broke while filming the clip? Old superstition signifies that someone close will die. In October same year Mylene’s big brother Jean-Loup was killed.


TOUR 1996


California was performed on all 1996 Tour dates from May 25 to December 15, 1996 .
Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat. Choreography: Mylène Farmer.



MYLENIUM TOUR


Mylène performed California during the Mylenium Tour concerts from September 21, 1999 to March 8 , 2000 .
Stage arrangements: Yvan Cassar.



Avant que l’ombre… a Bercy 2006


California was performed live during the thirteen concerts of 2006, Avant que l’ombre… between JANUARY 13 and 28, 2006 .
Stage arrangements: Yvan Cassar.

I love the outfit and the whole stage visuals of the song including the yellow crime tape in the shape of the cross (of course, of course!)



TOUR 2009


California was sung only during the five stadium concerts between 4 and 19 of September 2009 of the 2009 Tour . Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat.



Paris La Défense Arena 2019


Mylène sings California during the nine concerts at Paris La Défense Arena .
Stage arrangements: Olivier Schultheis.
Choreography: Parris Goebel.



http://www.mtv.co.za/music/videos/ca6qa6/california

The author Erwan Chuberre considered “California” as “one of the best tracks of the album”, and that the lyrics are “particularly exquisite and successful”. Royer sees “California” as “an anthology piece, a musical gem all in subtlety.” And I second that, dear friends!


remixes


No less than six remixes created by the duo Laurent Boutonnat – Bertrand Châtenet but also Ramon Zenker (who had already remixed L’Instant X ), Nils Ruzicka and Niki Gaslino.

In 2003, a new remix of the title was offered by Romain Tranchart and Rawman on the album RemixeS . Romain Tranchart was half of the Modjo group behind the hit Lady in 2000.
We were going in the spirit of doing a dancefloor-oriented remix that was going to rock everything and then after a day, we knew it would be something quieter. Impossible otherwise to keep the original emotion. In the case of this album (RemixeS) it was she and Laurent who selected everything. She would have been confused at first, but she validated the remix after a week of reflection. ” (Romain Tranchart and Rawman – “Mylène Farmer and you” – No. 23)


reactions


Finally, to entertain you a bit, please check out Dereck Reacts video – he just cracks me up. I love how he calls it “one sick beat” 🙂


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LYRICS WITH TRANSLATION


Aéroport, aérogare, mais pour tout l'or m'en aller
C'est ni le blues, l'coup d'cafard, le check out assuré
Vienne la nuit et sonne l'heure et moi je meurs
Entre apathie et pesanteur où je demeure
Changer d'optique, prendre l'exit et m'envoyer en Amérique
Sex appeal, c'est Sunset, c'est Marlboro qui me sourit
Mon amour, mon moi, je sais qu'il existe
La chaleur de l'abandon, c'est comme une symphonie
C'est sexy le ciel de Californie
Sous ma peau, j'ai LA en overdose
So sexy, le spleen d'un roadmovie
Dans l'rétro, ma vie qui s'anamorphose
Tu-tulu-tu
J'ai plus d'ID, mais bien l'idée de me payer le freeway
C'est l'osmose, on the road, de l'asphalte sous les pieds
Vienne la nuit, c'est le jet lag qui me décale
LAPD me donne un blâme, c'est pas le drame
Se faire un trip, s'offrir un streap sous le soleil en plein midi
6 a.m., j'suis offset, j'suis l'ice dans l'eau, j'suis melody
Mon amour, mon Wesson, mon artifice
La chaleur du canon, c'est comme une symphonie
C'est sexy le ciel de Californie
Sous ma peau, j'ai LA en overdose
So sexy, le spleen d'un roadmovie
Dans l'rétro, ma vie qui s'anamorphose
Tu-tulu-tu
C'est sexy le ciel de Californie
Sous ma peau, j'ai LA en overdose
So sexy, le spleen d'un roadmovie
Dans l'rétro, ma vie qui s'anamorphose
C'est sexy le ciel de Californie
Sous ma peau, j'ai LA en overdose
So sexy, le spleen d'un roadmovie
Dans l'rétro, ma vie qui s'anamorphose
C'est sex-
So sex-
C'est sexy le ciel de Californie
Sous ma peau, j'ai LA en overdose
So sexy, le spleen d'un roadmovie
Dans l'rétro, ma vie qui s'anamorphose

Airport, terminal, but for all the gold I’m going
It’s not the blues, it’s the check out
The night comes and the hour rings and I die
Between apathy and heaviness where I remain
Change my perspective, take the exit and send me to America
Sex appeal, it’s Sunset, it’s Marlboro that smiles at me
My love, my me, I know it exists
The warmth of abandonment, it’s like a symphony
It’s sexy California sky
Under my skin, I’ve got LA in overdose
So sexy, the spleen of a road movie
In the retro, my life is anamorphosing
Tu-tulu-tu
I don’t have an ID, but I’m willing to pay the freeway
It’s osmosis, on the road, the asphalt under your feet
Vienna at night, it’s the jet lag that shifts me
LAPD gives me a reprimand, it’s not the drama
To make a trip, to offer a streap under the sun in full midday
6 a.m., I’m offset, I’m the ice in the water, I’m melody
My love, my Wesson, my artifice
The heat of the gun is like a symphony
It’s sexy the California sky
Under my skin, I’ve got LA in overdose
So sexy, the spleen of a roadmovie
In the mirror, my life is anamorphosing
Tu-tulu-tu
It’s sexy the sky of California
Under my skin, I have LA in overdose
So sexy, the spleen of a roadmovie
In the retro, my life is anamorphosing
It’s sexy the sky of California
Under my skin, I have LA in overdose
So sexy, the spleen of a roadmovie
In the retro, my life is anamorphosing
It’s sex-
So sex-
It’s sexy the sky of California
Under my skin, I have LA in overdose
So sexy, the spleen of a roadmovie
In the retro, my life that is anamorphosing


MYLENE FARMER CALIFORNIA by MyleneFarmer.com
The page last edited October 2, 2022

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