“Je te rends ton amour” (English: “I give you back your love “) is a second single from Mylene Farmer fifth studio album Innamoramento. It was released on 8 June 1999. The song became top 10 hit in France for Farmer, and its controversial music video gained considerable attention at the time, being censored by several television channels. (still in the USA – it is banned everywhere but on vimeo).
Lyrics is by Mylene Farmer and it is one of the most complex and obscure texts of her career. Attempts at interpretation, often very interesting and do find very different meanings. I also offer my own interpretations further on the page. Please leave a comment on the bottom of the page and let me know if you agree with my take on the song.
“I know what the song means, very precisely. But it is not for me to impose an interpretation. It can be a love story or the story of a hijacking of God. “(Mylène Farmer – Mosquito TV – 10/13/1999 )
After the release of “L’Âme-stram-gram“, rumors announced “Dessine-moi un mouton” as second single from Innamoramento, however, Mylene decided to release her favorite song of the album, “Je te rends ton amour“, instead.
It has always been rumored around this song that a first mock-up of the music had been composed by Laurent Boutonnat in 1995 at the time of the recording of Anamorphosée . This model has been proposed to Nathalie Cardone, for her album released in 1999, but who didn’t take it. It might be a cause for regret now…but not for us, Mylene’s fans 😊 and could it be that Mylene returned all her love (meaning didn’t feel the same devotion anymore) for Laurent after him “betraying” her for Nathalie Cordone? We might never know but “M’extraire du cadre /La vie étriquée /D’une écorchée /J’ai cru la fable /D’un mortel aimé /Tu m’as trompé” seems to apply to the situation with Laurent and her strife to break free from the “cadre” Lauren has created for her over the years. Long story short, she ended up more or less on her own while working on Innamoramento. She didn’t have a replacement for Laurent and therefore took charge and wrote music for 5 songs from the album herself!
She turns to the same recipe for creation of Innamoramento as she did with Anamorphosée and recorded it Los Angeles at Ocean Way and Record One studios (from May to the end of October 1998). Laurent Boutonnat took lead on producing, directing and arranging the album. Jeff Dahlgren was also present as a guitarist. The mixing by Bertrand Châtenet was carried out between Los Angeles (Studios Record One) and Paris (Studios Guillaume Tell).
The single was released in various formats providing a new song, “Effets secondaires“, as well as two remixes produced by Perky Park. The image used for various covers, made by Marino Parisotto Vay, shows Farmer being crucified. The designer Henry Neu said to be particularly proud of having made the velvet envelope containing a promotional cross-shaped CD.
The lyrics contain several references to the paintings, including Egon Schiele, an Austrian painter born in 1890 and died at 28, who painted many thin red-headed women, and who was much appreciated by Farmer. His painting Femme nue debout is even mentioned in the chorus as well as French painter Paul Gauguin
In the song, Farmer evokes a Schiele’s painting, La Femme nue debout, and personifies the model painted. Well, the face of the module does resembles Mylene quit a bit, don’t you think? Perhaps, it contributed to the association
She also uses the typography of Schiele’s signature to write the song’s title on the cover of the CD and vinyl.
According to the author Erwan Chuberre, the song deals with “a too heavy love to hold or with a weight of an artist on his work”.
Sales of the single were lukewarm. In France, it debuted at a peak of number ten on 12 June, which was at the time the 17th top ten of Farmer. However, the single fell sharply the following week and then stayed in lower positions. It stayed for 12 weeks in the Top 50 and 20 weeks in the top 100. It was the 78th best-selling single of 1999 in France, but the second least-selling single from Innamoramento.
In Belgium (Wallonia), the single entered the Ultratop 40 at number 30 on 19 June and reached a peak of number 18 the next week. Then it dropped on the chart and totaled ten weeks in the top 40. It was ranked at number 92 in Belgian Annual Chart.
In the magazine Voici, Joseph Messinger, a French psychoanalyst, did a surprising analysis of this video. According to him the blood represents successively holiness, the loss of virginity, the defilement.
Little by little in the video, Farmer loses her original purity. The stigmata refer to the idea of pain ensuing from the human condition. The Bible, a symbol of dogmatic thinking, evokes the notion of forbidden. When Farmer wants to decrypt it with her fingers, she is punished for trying to accede to a knowledge reserved for an elite (this image refers to Eve and the serpent). The psychologist Hugues Royer also believes that the video addresses the theme of the loss of virginity, and “the blood that flows from the breaking of the hymen becomes a torrent of hemoglobin”. He also said that it reminded the world of Roman Polanski’s film, Rosemary’s Baby , and was inspired by the writings of the author Georges Bataille , who described “the religious sentiment as the root of evil”.
This last influence was also established by author Sophie Khairallah who cites the novel, Story of the Eye and subsequently a book about Mylene herself called Le Culte which came out in 14 Sep 2007. Anyone of you read it? Please tell us what do you think
Mylene didn’t wear the dress again by Olivier Theyskens for her Mylenium Tour, In fact pretty similar dress was made to replace the original one which apparently she was not longer permitted to wear.
Olivier Theyskens launched his own eponymous fashion house in 1997, presenting a collection in Paris called “Gloomy Trips”. It is the same long dress in red monochrome with stripes, and the red jumpsuit worn by Mylène in the clip I give you back your love. Note that the dress is worn with matching thigh high boots (which can also be found in the clip).
These two creations are also present in a photo taken by Les Cyclopes which will be published in Caroline Evans’ book Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness published by Yale University Press in 2003. It is clearly indicated in this book that these two outfits were created in 1997, two years before the clip was made.
Mylène Farmer sang “Je te rends ton amour” in two television shows and at both occasions, she wore the same dress as in the video: first, in La Fureur du parc (in playback) on 19 June 1999. The show was broadcast in the Parc des Princes, in Paris. Farmer accepted to perform her song at the beginning of the program.
Mylène Farmer performing the song on 50 Ans de tubes on 30 July in the dress made by Olivier Theyskens. Mylene performed the song in a works gallery of the French sculptor Caesar, in Provence. She appeared from the ground, standing on a platform that rose in the airs.
For the first time in Farmer’s career, the video was directed by François Hanss.
Shot for two days in the Notre-Dame-du-Val abbey of Mériel (Val-d’Oise, France), this Requiem Publishing and Stuffed Monkey production cost about 100,000 euros. The screenplay was written by Mylène Farmer.
Read more here of how the clip was made.
The video caused considerable controversy in France, due to its scenes of nudity and blood, and of its apparent criticism of Christianity and the Church. It was considered as being “too daring”. The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel gave a negative opinion, but it did not forbid the television channels to broadcast it. A committee, mainly composed of housewives, decided to broadcast a shortened version of the video during the day not shock children. Therefore, M6 aired a short two-minute version that stopped when the demon wildly caught Farmer, at the second chorus. In response to this censorship, Farmer asked Hanss to cut the shocking scenes for the airing on television and decided to release the video in its full version as a VHS with a booklet of unpublished photos by Claude Gassian.
All funds collected from the 70,000 sales of the tape were DONATED to Sidaction, an association fighting against AIDS – wow wow wow!!! Go Mylene!!! Why don’t we hear about it??? Did you know? I just found it out!!!
In 2000, in an interview on MCM, the singer said about this censorship: “It’s not interesting to want to be shocking at all costs, in order to be relevant/interesting. I deal with subjects that are maybe a little tricky, taboo. It’s a risk… right now the censorship, especially in France, is a bit harsh and it attacks everything and any subject… I find this truly regrettable!“
Well, this video is a hard no-no in the USA even now. It is regrettable indeed.
Chuberre praised the song, saying “”Je te rends ton amour” shows how the writing of the singer is progressing. It is a superb text dealing with a too heavy love to hold or with a weight of an artist on his work”. He describes the melody as being “insistent and bewitching”, the image for the formats as “fascinating”, but the remixes as being of lower quality than those of “L’Âme-stram-gram“.
Before I let you dive into the facts if you don’t know most of them already, I want to open this chapter with my own very personal take on this song and of course inseparable part of it – mind blowing masterpiece video. IMDb gives it high 8.3
By the way, I discovered something I’ve got wrong for all these years: Mylene’s eyes are actually hazel brown (you can see it clearly on this video being shot close up) and not dark brown as I always thought.
Knowing Mylene’s Catholic background, I thought, perhaps it is very personal to her as far as her relationship with the Faith Institution. What if being “married” to it brought her more pain and suffering than she bargained for; and all it is just for following blindly the path that led her to church.
The timing is cutting very close to the investigation of sex abuse cases involving about 3,000 priests, some of which dated back fifty years. The investigation although started slowly in mid 80s, took a public form between years 2001 to 2010. Diocesan officials and academics knowledgeable about the Roman Catholic Church say that sexual abuse by clergy is generally not discussed, and thus is difficult to measure. Members of the Church’s hierarchy have argued that media coverage was excessive and disproportionate, and that such abuse also takes place in other religions and institutions, a stance that dismayed critics who saw it as a device to avoid resolving the abuse problem within the Church.
In a 2001 apology, John Paul II called sexual abuse within the Church “a profound contradiction of the teaching and witness of Jesus Christ“. Benedict XVI apologized, met with victims, and spoke of his “shame” at the evil of abuse, calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice, and denouncing mishandling by church authorities.
Interestingly only a few years later in 2018, referring to a particular case in Chile, Pope Francis accused victims (!!) of fabricating allegations, but by April, was apologizing for his “tragic error” and by August, was expressing “shame and sorrow” for the tragic history.
If this is not what has been portrayed in video than I don’t know what is. I disagree with some critics, that the figure in black is a devil himself. Although the word “DEMON” is clearly shown on the video, I feel that it is a reference to the actions of clergy which are demonic in nature committing such heartless abuse of innocent children. And when they tried to speak up, the church would rather let them drown in their own innocent blood (aka call it a fabrication) than admit the crimes that have been committed by the church members.
For a while, I was perplexed by the fact that she is returning the ring twice: the first time while reading the bible before the confession and the second time in the pool of blood concluding her horrific experience within the church. After thinking about more and more, it occurred to me that even prior to the rape and torture caused by of “the actions” of the church she was not satisfied by the “blind faith” with which she has entered it and by the tapping into (scratching the surface so to speak) the bible teachings (not really “reading” since she is still blind at that time) only confirms her decision to “divorce” such an institution.
In the end of the film she is completely vulnerable and naked being violated and suffering in silence as no-one and nothing (not even the crucifixion nor other religious sculptures watching silently such a horrific act did anything to stop it).
Perhaps, the stone sculptures are symbolizing all those figures at the Catholic church who have chose to cover up the abuse of innocent, blindly trusting children. No wonder she wanted nothing to do with it and returns all her love…. She is no longer wearing a commitment band to such an institution and drowns it in the pool of blood. In the black mourning dress (as her innocence has been brutally stolen), she steps out of the church now no longer blind just as the victims of the abuse no doubts did.
Mylène performed this title during the Mylenium Tour concerts from September 21, 1999 to March 8 , 2000 .
Stage arrangements: Yvan Cassar.
Mylène sang Je te rend ton amour during the indoor concerts in France of the 2009 Tour from May 2 to June 22, 2009 .
The song was not included in the show’s setlist for indoor dates in Russia or stadium concerts.
Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat.
Paris La Défense Arena 2019
Mylène sings I give you back your love during the nine concerts at Paris La Défense Arena from June 07 to 22, 2019. It was a truly majestic performance with Mylene sitting on the throne embellished with the wolves’ heads. Concept Image by D/LABS was displayed on teh screen behind her
Stage arrangements: Olivier Schultheis.
videos with translations
The two official remixes of the song are made by Perky Park who had previously offered two remixes from L’Âme-Stram-Gram.
An (unofficial) remix of the song was created specifically for radio and released by Voltage. This hadn’t happened since Sans Logique and Beyond my control in 1989 and 1992 with remixes for NRJ.
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M'extraire du cadre Ma vie suspendue Je rêvais mieux Je voyais l'âtre Tous ces inconnus Toi parmi eux Toile Fibre qui suinte Les meurtrissures Tu voyais l'âme Mais j'ai vu ta main Choisir Gauguin Et je te rends ton amour Redeviens les contours Je te rends ton amour C'est mon dernier recours Je te rends ton amour Au moins pour toujours Redeviens les contours "La femme nue debout" M'extraire du cadre La vie étriquée D'une écorchée J'ai cru la fable D'un mortel aimé Tu m'as trompé Toi Tu m'as laissé Me compromettre Je serai "l'Unique" Pour des milliers d'yeux un nu de maître Et je te rends ton amour Au moins pour toujours Je te rends ton amour Le mien est trop lourd Et je te rends ton amour C'est plus flagrant le jour Ses couleurs se sont diluées Et je reprends mon amour Redeviens les contours De mon seul maître : Egon Schiele et ...
Extracting myself from the frame My life suspended I dreamed better I saw the hearth All these strangers You among them Canvas Fiber that oozes The bruises You saw the soul But I saw your hand Choosing Gauguin And I give you back your love Become again the contours I give you back your love This is my last resort I give you back your love At least forever Become again the contours "The naked woman standing" Extract myself from the frame The narrow life Of a flayed woman I believed the fable Of a beloved mortal You deceived me You You let me To compromise myself I'll be "The One For thousands of eyes a master's nude And I return your love At least forever I give you back your love Mine is too heavy And I return your love It's more obvious in the daytime Its colors are diluted And I take back my love Become again the outlines Of my only master: Egon Schiele and ...