C'est ça l'amour C'est quoi l'amour?
“Optimistique-moi” (English: “Cheer me up”) is a 1999 song recorded by Mylène Farmer. The fourth single from her fifth studio album, Innamoramento, it was released on 22 February 2000 (note its numeric signature – 02/22/2000).
The song was one of the most anticipated singles from the album, mostly because it was the first one to be fully composed, both lyrics and music, by Mylene herself.
A promotional envelope, limited to 150 copies, was sent to radio stations, but several of them were stolen within the recording company, generating a judicial inquiry. As consequence, the release on radio originally scheduled for 4 January 2000 was delayed to 11 January.
A new promotional format, a white CD single, was sent in turn to radio stations.
The release of the formats was made in two times: first, the CD single and a CD maxi on 22 February 2000, then another CD maxi and the vinyl on 7 March. Unlike her previous singles, “Optimistique-moi” was released under two different digipacks for the remixes, which certainly helped to increase the single’s sales (nine years later, “C’est dans l’air” had also two CD maxi).
For the first time in the singer’s career, the song was remixed in the U.S. where it was released in underground clubs, with only the words “MF”, which allowed the artist’s name to remain undisclosed, however, these remixes were also available in France. Regularly aired on radio in the single version, but also in the ‘opti-mystic radio mix’ on Europe 2, the song also enjoyed commercial ads on television (since 23 February on M6), and radios (since 18 February on NRJ).
Before we go further and look into the clip and other details, I want to make it very clear – its not a pretty melancholy love song. It’s a declaration of a very different kind. The song is angry and full of straight on references to the incest: it is evoked through an allegory (“petit bouton de rose, aux pétales humides un baiser je dépose”) and a phonetic pun (“tes câlins cessent toute ecchymose”), it addresses a lot of anger to the “other” parent (aka the mother in the scenario) as opposed to the perpetrator (aka father figure) is seen as “the loving one” although clearly hinting to the sexual nature of such “love”.
It is painting the dysfunctional dynamic in the family where the child is ultimately the double victim as one parents abuses her sexually but being tender and the other one obviously not being at all protective but also abuses her psychologically every which way possible (putting her down, and misplacing her self-worth, using her as an emotional support (the roles are often reversed in the dysfunctional child-parent relationships) and showing zero of motherly love and tenderness practically reinforcing her inappropriate involvement with her father. Vicious cycle. The deadly trap for a growing soul.
But please PLEASE let’s not read into it as if it’s an autobiographical story as it is so easy for us to do with Mylene’s songs. Let’s respect her personal life by not interfering and show our admiration by focusing on her art as it is her generous gift to us all.
A true artist expresses many different aspects of human experiences through very subjective and personal emotions – only then it has a chance to touch our hearts. Its clear she has an intent to bring this subject to light. She devotes the privilege of being on public view to make a difference, she is a wake-up call – again!! – as she is in so many of her songs.
I have such a great respect for Mylene for doing this mission! The topic is horrendous and needs to be screamed about from the top of the lungs. However, it’s historically being avoided and ignored at all costs. The ugly truth is too ugly to start discussing it. But if kept under the covers when and how will it ever change!!
Did you know approximately 10 -20% of all children have been victims of an incest or molestation by the family members or caretakers? Think about it for a minute – 1 out of 5 people (!!!) are “broken” by the twisted delivery of “love” from the very start of their lives…
No wander this world is distorted towards abuse and violence. And the children are the first victims to suffer…Especially when the abuse happens in the place where one is expected to be most safe, protected and loved. Whom to turn to? Where to run? There are numerous instances when the victims finally do come forward after the years of shame (yes, they are usually brainwashed to believe it’s their fault), the other parent won’t believe them and accuse them of making this all up against the parent in trial. How awful! How unfair!
I am sure the reference to the Pontius Pilate is not at all accidental. Pound on that for a while…
How would those people ever really know what the true love is. Think about it: aren’t the most monstrous actions are so often done in the name of love? It’s so hard not to be enraged by the magnitude of such crimes…throughout the history of our planet…makes me want to puke ☹
So they… “Je fais fi de tes ‘je t’aime’, ils sont des cris qui m’enchaînent “(I ignore your ‘I love you’, they are crying that chain me).
The lyrics are as enigmatic as frank and cut like a knife. It is perhaps for the first time we see this side of Mylene raising profoundly painful questions in the brave and unapologetic manner. There is so much about our modern toxic society we can refer as a “circus”
Finally, fans have drawn a parallel between this text and the clip for Comme j’ai mal directed in 1996 by Marcus Nispel which showed a little girl, abused by her father, finding refuge with insects in a dark closet, the clip ending with the transformation of Mylène into a sublime hybrid butterfly. And some, to note that it suffices to reverse two letters and “insect” becomes “incest”.
According to Instant-Mag, the song “is probably one of the most powerful, mysterious and violent songs Farmer has ever written. (I can also think of “Fuck them all” and A tout jamais) The singer addressed a man she compares to her father “who was not like that” and “who was more clever””. However, “the father would do unthinkable acts (incest), but at the same time, his cuddles would cease her bruises. The former relationship with this powerful and magnified father, very ambiguous, is violently opposed to a mutual love that is dying”. Several words of the chorus may refer to a poem by Paul Verlaine, Printemps. (there is a definite linguistic resemblance)
It is very interesting that the song is a part of the album Innamoramento (perhaps, it is the dawn of Self Love in this case). Only Truth will set you free, they say, and Mylene sure gets liberated in the end of the clip.
By the way, the verb “Optimistiquer” does not exist in French language (or any other known to me language like English and Russian) The word is normally an adjective but its clearly not enough for Mylene – so she makes one up! 😊 and why the heck not?
The lyrics are very rhythmical, precise sounding and creating almost hammering effect – very impressive once again.
The video is amazing! Directed by super talented Michael Haussman who also directed several videoclips for Madonna, Richard Marx and Paula Abdul.
to be continued (read more on the next page)
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lyrics with translation
Tendre, la jeune femme rousse,
Que tant d'innocence émoustille,
Dit à la blonde jeune fille
Ces mots, tout bas, d'une voix douce :
« Sève qui monte et fleur qui pousse,
Ton enfance est une charmille :
Laisse errer mes doigts dans la mousse
Où le bouton de rose brille,
Laisse-moi, parmi l'herbe claire,
Boire les gouttes de rosée
Dont la fleur tendre est arrosée, –
« Afin que le plaisir, ma chère,
Illumine ton front candide
Comme l'aube l'azur timide. »
Tender, the red-haired young woman,
That so much innocence exhilarates,
Said to the blonde young girl
These words, very low, in a soft voice:
"Sap that rises and flower that grows,
Your childhood is a bower:
Let my fingers in the moss
Where the rosebud shines,
Let me, among the clear grass,
Drink the dewdrops
Whose tender flower is watered, -
"So that the pleasure, my dear,
Illuminate your candid forehead
Like the dawn shy azure. "