PLUS GRANDIR


Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI

Plus Grandir is a song from Mylène Farmer’s first studio album, Cendres de lune (1986). It is the second single extracted (in 1985, before the release of the album).

There is so much packed into this 7 min 32 sec video! As if 24 years old Mylene was overloaded with her thoughts and feelings by then and just waited for the chance to unbottle it all. There is so much condensed and fused in: Catholic guilt, discovery of the original sin that sometimes find you in somewhat violent circumstances, punishment and rage often self-imposed as well as by the “peaking dwarf nuns” probably referring to the outside judgment, fear of dying and losing your rag doll innocence in the process of this eternal dance called life.

There is so much symbolism that I feel overwhelmed. Its picturesque, its color scheme is clean and built around three major colors: black, red and white. Very much something Mylene resonates throughout her entire career. Its dramatic, its perplexing, it is with a touch of youthful maximalism but nevertheless it is a glimpse into the future Mylene. Not at all in the form of the old woman with a scull face, but rather Mylene with the multilayered substance which we will have a pleasure to witness for many years to come. She pokes us deeply…and for that I am so grateful.

This is a special song and a clip for me since it’s one of the first ones I’ve ever seen. I remember how much it shocked me and how much I was thinking about it for many days, weeks, months and years.

I hated my disempowering childhood and could not wait to grow up and take control of my life. I felt helpless and abused resonated strongly with the dummy from Sans Contrefaçon as well as the rug doll from this video.  Psychically, I feel the massage she is sending.

The music is one of a kind as well. There is a whole another theme playing in the background creating a symphonic multivocal arrangement (one is Mylene’s voice and the other is a synthesizer). It a bit primitive of course from the standpoint of a modern production but given the time of 1985 (!!) it was quite advanced. The melody is very refreshing and stays with you as well is the angelic tone of Mylene’s with her such a young pouty articulation.

“Plus grandir” was released twice: first, on 25 September 1985 in a studio version as second single from Farmer’s debut album Cendres de Lune, then on 12 May 1990 in a live mix version as second single from the live album En Concert. In spite of positive critics and a music video produced as a short film in cinemascope, the song achieved moderate success in France in terms of sales and chart performances. 

After the moderate success of the “On est tous des imbéciles“, Farmer separated from the songwriter Jerome Dahan and her contract with the record company RCA ended. She then signed with Polydor for two albums and, for the first time, she wrote the lyrics of her next single, “Plus grandir”, which was also released in Canada, but without cover at the same time that “We’ll Never Die“( only released in her birth country…I didn’t know that, you?) with “Chloé” as B-side.

Despite sales being fairly low, Polydor allowed the duo Mylène Farmer / Laurent Boutonnat to create the album Cendres de Lune, in March 1986. And that’s how it all started, ladies and gentlemen! 😊

About five years after the single’s release, Farmer did not yet expect the relative success of this song, which was her first composition. She then decided to release this song for the second time, but in live version, after the success of the live album En Concert in 1990.The song’s success was relative, except in nightclubs. Eventually, the song was the last collaboration at level of editing and management between Farmer and Bertrand Le Page because of artistic differences in late 1989.

The 1985 video, the first one shot in cinemaScope was made by Laurent Boutonnat who also wrote the screenplay. Farmer drew the storyboard of the video. This Movie Box / Laurent Boutonnat / Polydor production with a 7:32 length cost about 330,000 francs (about 50,000 euros; the most expensive videoclip of 1985) and was shot for five days: four days at Studio Sets in Stains and the other one in Saint-Denis’s cemetery.



Boutonnat stated: “It is a co-production with Polygram. I went to see both the president of the group, Mr Levy, and that of Polydor. Both were seduced by the script and accepted the idea of shooting.” Boutonnat managed to convince advertiser Stephan Sperry to contribute in the financing of the video. Jean-Pierre Sauvaire, film editor Agnès Mouchal, costume designer Corinne Sarfati and film director Francois Hanss were part of the technical team. Max Gautier, Farmer’s father, also participated in the preparation of scenery, which included among other things a pond (also used in Ainsi soit je...) and the dolls made by Farmer herself.

Rambo Kowalski (better known as Harve Lewis) played the role of the rapist, has also appeared in the next video, “Libertine”. A full articles about his role in Mylene’s career – click HERE

The instrumental “Cendres de Lune“, available on the album of the same name, can be heard at the opening credits.

Boutonnat tried to register himself with the National Center of Cinematography for the video was considered as a short film. Therefore, it was aired in the cinema in preview and was first seen in Kinopanorama cinema in Paris on 13th of November 1985. On television, it was broadcast for the first time on Platine 45, on Antenne 2.

About the video, Boutonnat explained that the young woman who is played by Farmer is “beset by religious fantasies mainly (…) and related primarily to the world of childhood. You know, all those little things that you are afraid when you are young. I tried to transcribe in my music video like that phosphorescent statue of animated virgin and the appearances of dwarfs“.

Journalist Caroline Bee said the theme of the video refers to the “passage from childhood to adolescence with what it involves of physical, but also psychological changes, (…) and new responsibilities, and sexuality“. According to an analysis published in Instant-Mag, the amputation of the doll is a “symbolism of the defilement” and is synonymous with a “childhood stolen”. Writer and psychologist Hugues Royer declared that the rape is here the symbol of mourning forced of the early years. “Agreeing to become an adult goes with the acceptance of our inevitable end.

Biographer Bernard Violet thinks the music video has several film references, including The Devils by Ken Russell, and Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock.

In France, the video was often censored and only broadcast in a shortened version, as it criticized religion and deals with death and sex. I still can’t find it in the US in any major video hubs like youtube or vimeo. Don’t even ask me what it took me to get the tape of her clips in Russia 😊

For example, French show Bonsoir les clips, although being aired on the night, refused the video which it considered as “too morbid”. On television, the scene of the rape as well as that of the evil dwarfish nuns were removed. (that’s hilarious! no?)

Despite that, the video was much aired on television in 1985 and 1986 and received positive reviews. Magazines Charlie considered the music video as very “amazing”.

OK as “a true little masterpiece”, and Salut said it has a “tortured atmosphere”. Bee stated the “video is neat and the atmosphere is murky”.

For the live version, a video of the 1989 tour was made with new images from “Plus grandir” performance and choreography. The introduction was filmed at the same time as the not live images from “Allan”, and shows the monk who opened the concert, in a hazy nature.


Plus Grandir is the first song Mylène wrote the lyrics for.


It is Alain Lévy the president of Polygram who after having listened to the album during the mixing of this one will decide that Plus Grandir will be the first extract. A choice that will surprise Mylène, Laurent Boutonnat and Jean-Claude Dequéant and will even make them angry because for them, the real locomotive song for this album is Libertine.


in 2021 Polydor has decided to re-issue the collection of earlier Mylene’s songs as Plus Grandir: Best Of


In Mylène’s own words


“It happened a bit by chance. It was born after the music. This time, it was I who wrote it. I don’t know if I will repeat this experience. It is very, very difficult to write a text. It must be concise, precise and I admit that I had trouble. ” (Mylène Farmer – FR3 – 10/31/1985 )

“I have never left my adolescence and I do not intend to abandon it. Old age traumatizes me. This time, I believe that the subject touches everyone. ” (Mylène Farmer – La Dépêche du Midi – 24/08 / 1986 )

“What matters to me is to live in the moment, and I would like the public to accept the idea that I have evolved. To the point of not covering a song like Plus Grandir, which no longer corresponds to my state of mind. ” (Mylène Farmer – Gala – 05/30/1996)


I hope it remains true now when Mylene is about to upgrade to the version 6.0. and start experiencing the world from the wisdom of 6 decades.

“Memento mori” the ancients used to say which literally means “Remember that you must die.”

As morbid it might sound on the surface, I think it also brings a profound sense of living in the moment as nothing lasts forever. It’s a Zen message of having nothing but the present moment and the moment does have an expiration date. Don’t miss your joys, your sorrows, your moments of agony and ecstasy – as it is your LIFE the dash between two dates as it is on the gravestones. Make it worthwhile, my dear friends…


tour 1989



“Plus grandir” was sung during the 1989 concert as a second song of the show. Farmer then wore black veils, a white collar and small white socks (hmm.. Michael Jackson hint?), and performed a rhythmical choreography with two female dancers who reproduced the same gestures behind her. At the end of the song, the singer said “Good evening!” to the audience.

The song was not performed during the next four concerts. In 1995 Farmer said the theme of the song was no longer part of her concerns.



remixes


REACTIONS


Since the video is still banned in the USA, Dereck can’t even keep the reaction on Youtube. But here is a link just for you: https://share.vidyard.com/watch/GKa3cotza2Kar3AjvjVXBq


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lyrics with translation


Petit rien, petit bout
De rien du tout
M’a mise tout sens dessus dessous
A pris ses jambes a son cou

Petit rien, petit bout
La vie s’en fout
Dans mes draps de papier tout délavés
Mes baisers sont souillés

Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Plus grandir pour pas mourir, pas souffrir
Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Pour les pleurs d’une petite fille

Jeux de mains, jeux de fous
C’est pas pour nous
Suspendue au lit comme une poupée
Qu’on a désarticulée

Petit rien, petit bout
De rien du tout
Reviens dans mes images j’me suis perdue
Après, je n’sais plus

Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Plus grandir pour pas mourir, pas souffrir
Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Pour les pleurs d’une petite fille

Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Plus grandir pour pas mourir, pas souffrir
Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Pour les pleurs d’une petite fille

Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Plus grandir pour pas mourir, pas souffrir
Plus grandir, j’veux plus grandir
Pour…

Little nothing, little bit
Of nothing at all
Turned me upside down
I’ve got to get out of here
Little nothing, little bit
Life doesn’t care
In my faded paper sheets
My kisses are soiled
I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to grow up
I don’t want to grow up to die, to suffer
I don’t want to grow up anymore, I don’t want to grow up anymore
For the tears of a little girl
I’m not going to let you down
It’s not for us
Hanging on the bed like a doll
That we have disarticulated
Little nothing, little piece
Of nothing at all
I’m not sure what to do, I’m not sure what to do
Afterwards, I don’t know
I don’t want to grow up anymore
I don’t want to grow up anymore so I don’t die, I don’t suffer
I don’t want to grow up anymore, I don’t want to grow up anymore
For the tears of a little girl
I don’t want to grow up any more, I don’t want to grow up any more
I’m not going to die, I’m not going to suffer
I want to grow up more, I want to grow up more
For the tears of a little girl
I want to grow up, I want to grow up
I’m not going to die, I’m not going to suffer
I want to grow up more, I want to grow up more
For…


The page last edited July 25, 2022

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