Au bout de la nuit is a second track (right after Libertine) of the first studio album Cendres de lune By Farmer & Boutonnat.

Cendres de lune is released on 1 April 1986 and was preceded by the hit single “Libertine”.

The album then was rereleased in 1987, preceded by the song “Tristana“. Despite this success, it is considered moderate when compared with Farmer’s standards and her later high-selling albums, but it helped to launch her career.

After the moderate success of the first four singles (“Maman a tort“, “My Mum Is Wrong” [the English-language version of “Maman a tort”], “On est tous des imbéciles” and “Plus grandir“), Farmer decided to release her first album. At the time, she had signed a contract for two albums with the recording company Polydor, which reserved the right to break the contract at any time. Fortunately, in 1986, the success of “Libertine” brought Farmer her first big hit and allowed her to produce Cendres de lune.

The vinyl release of the album contained only nine tracks, including Maman a tort“, “Plus grandir” and its B-side “Chloé“, plus six other songs. Polydor did not procure the copyright for “Maman a tort“, “On est tous des imbéciles” and its B-side with very rare “L’Annonciation” from RCA, the label Farmer released those tracks on. However, in 1987, with the increasingly prominence of the Compact Disc, the album was reissued with a total of 12 titles: “Tristana“,

the 1987 hit written by Farmer, and two remixes (“Libertine” [remix special club], “Tristana” [remix club]) were added to the track listing. The second and further cassette releases comprise ten songs, including “Tristana”, but missing the two remixes.

The album was also released in Canada and Germany. The cover, in black and white, was produced by Laurent Boutonnat and shows Farmer in profile, apparently sad, putting on a hat.

The lyrics were written by Laurent Boutonnat who claimed to have had difficulty in composing them. However, “Plus grandir“, “Tristana” and “Au Bout de la nuit” were written by Farmer herself (from “Tristana” onwards, she wrote all the lyrics of her songs), and “Maman a tort” by Jérôme Dahan. Generally, the lyrics deal with themes that would recur in Farmer’s future albums, namely death, violence, suicide, sexuality, insanity, sadness and fear of aging. Therefore, the bases of the singer’s universe were laid with this first album whose darkness contrasted greatly with the optimistic songs of the time.

Except for “Libertine”, the music was produced by Laurent Boutonnat who used mostly synthesizers and acoustic keyboards and was inspired by the new wave.

Cendres de lune was generally well received by critics. It was considered as an “excellent” album and a “success” (Podium) “a first album rather masterly” (La Provence),”in the area of the variety, one of the most beautiful things of the moment” (Les Gran).

“Full of little marvels” (Charente), it contains “hits having an wholesome impertinence” (Télé Poche) and “provides a real insight of [Farmer]’s talent”; [the singer] carries us with her crystalline voice and strange texts, out of time and out of the standards” (Le Républicain).

“The songs of Mylène fill the air with an atmosphere alternately naughty and sad but very engaging” (7 à Paris). “Mylène’s voice is exquisite, and her accomplices made her sing little ordinary things” (La Dépêche). “[Farmer] seduces with sensitive texts, almost surreal, tenderly erotic” (Le Télégramme).

In France, Cendres de lune charted for the first time in April 1989, after the success of the second album, Ainsi soit je…. It peaked at number 39 and has sold 367,700 copies to date. (not counting of course the pirate copies in counties like Russia which I personally bought back in the day)

Music, production, arrangements and direction: Laurent Boutonnat. I am very impressed with him even so young. Brilliant production for that time, even today doesn’t sound “old”. It is so incredibly sexy, hot and sensual with moans and kissing sounds within yet such a deep sensitive context. It is a very honest and intimate dive into the woman’s point of view (and a range of fillings) on lovemaking…and the sense of a grave loss after the culmination is reached and passed. It is beautifully dramatic. It is a bit a la Serge Gainsbourg but coming from the fragile sensuality of a young girl.

Au bout de la nuit Béart 87 Antenne 2 January 14,1987. A complete story of the Béart 87 HERE

For her second text, Mylène once again takes on the role of a young girl losing her virginity. But unlike “Plus grandir”, she is here completely consenting as it happens with the man she loves (“Je t’aime oh, je t’aime”).

A Giorgino scene comes to mind.. How powerful her performance in it! I have no words other than wow! I hope you agree if you have seen it. If you still haven’t, do yourself a favor – watch it! I personally think the only reason it flapped is because it was ahead of its time – a curse of a genius! 😥😭

Like other texts by Mylène Farmer that will follow, “At the end of the night” is felt before being explained. Indeed, she tries to make us feel the sensations she experiences throughout their lovemaking.

I wonder if the famous novel came out in April 1932 had anything to do with the inspiration of the name for the song?

VOYAGE AU BOUT DE LA NUIT by Louis Ferdinand Céline

Briefly about the book: A 38-year-old doctor, who was at this stage working at the public health clinic in the Parisian suburb of Clichy, he was entirely sure of himself and expressed the above sentiment with astounding self-assurance. This novel, which he also described in such modest terms as a ‘literary symphony’ and a ‘capital moment of human nature’ was nothing ordinary destined for Céline or this manuscript, which has fueled rumors and legends for nearly sixty years.

Many have insinuated that this ballad deals with suicide after a break-up. It is possible of course as Mylene will not ever limit you in your beliefs and impressions. I’m however offering you the following analysis:

From the start of song, the first sensual contacts (“Your body / Slipping on my skin”) make her fall into ecstasy by their strength and beauty (“Beautiful / It’s so beautiful”) .(“Your mouth”) kissing her and talking to her gives her such a passionate sensation (“Hot / How hot”) that, under his pleasant grip, she is incapable of it (“Blowing on my words”).

The thrill is defined as being a movement of seizure arising from an emotion. This is literally what happens to Mylène expressed through the lyrics. As it should be, the last thrill, the one that takes place just before the passion comes to an end is the strongest, the most overwhelming and makes Mylène take longer to recover.

Such are the antics of a man and a woman who love each other. The emotion that wins them makes them take off to seventh heaven before suddenly letting them go so that they fall back to Earth. This is what happens to Mylène. After experiencing heat, she is frozen (“Cold”), but not just for that. Something in her torments her in this room where nothing moves.

Symbolically, silence represents a prelude to opening up to revelation: it opens a passage, marks progress. It envelops things and events and gives them grandeur and majesty. This is what happens to Mylène and the important event must be the loss of her virginity: something that will allow her to open up to something, to enter a new era in a woman’s life: adulthood.

But we are not there yet. Here she is still in shock during this “night”. She tells us that she feels like she is “Lifeless”.

Indeed, part of her, her childhood, died with her virginity. From then on, not knowing what will become of her and no longer having any den, she believes she is dead. She has no solution but to take refuge in the night probably by means of a restorative sleep (“At the end of the night / (…) I run away”) .

Indeed, the night symbolizes the time of gestations, germinations, conspiracies which will come to light in broad daylight as a manifestation of life. This “night” will then allow her to integrate all her qualities as a woman which will flourish in broad daylight with her becoming mature. Naturally, all this is happening in Mylène’s subconscious and therefore she does not realize it. For her, this is due to a completely logical phenomenon. She achieved a goal (“At the end of the desire”) and exhausted her strength. She must therefore recover and be reborn to move on to something else: recovery that this “escape at the end of the night” will also allow her.

This “Hush ” is in my opinion to be translated by “Wait, let me think”. This so that she can understand what is happening to her. She has the impression, as we have seen, of having committed suicide (“Suicide”) and it is normal because going through this stage of leaving the childhood behind and towards the adult world where everything is different, this “death” or rather a “transformation” is a painful stage we all go through: and we will all die to leave nothing more of us (“All is empty”).

Mylène Farmer and Francis Lalanne

A complete story of the Mylene accompanied by FRANCIS LALANNE  HERE

To accept the entrance to the adult world is to accept to embark on the indeterminate: something also symbolized by the “flight towards the night”. Therefore, we understand more why this idea is contained in the chorus (“At the end of the night / Without life, I run away”).

Fortunately, despite these upheavals, she still has something. Or rather, she still has someone: the man she loves more than anything in the world (“I love you / Oh! I love you!”)

If you experienced such overwhelming passion (I hope you did!) you know it does feel like a little death not only in the sense of the orgasm which is the closest thing to completely letting go (which what death ultimately is) but also in the sense of falling back to the reality, back to the “no-passion” (cold) state, back to the daylight after the surreal magic of the night, it is a rough awakening. I believe, this is what this song is about…Please comment below your thoughts and feelings about it.

It seems that this song is also the beginning of the long cherished and intertained idea of the future romantic idealizations of the loved one (Innamoramento) originates which make the L’autre appear in our eyes as an exceptional being, flawless and irreplaceable.

What will happen afterwards? It’s up to us to imagine it or to link this text to another song by Mylène Farmer. I personally always thought this song is out of this world beautiful. It always fills me up with such a profoundly pleasurable pain that I am just melting right into it without a trace…I think I had listened it on repeat a million times at least …through my first falling in love, through my first painful separation, through my sleepless lonely nights, through me transforming and growing up…



lyrics with translation

C'est si beau!
Ton corps
Glissant sur ma peau
Que c'est chaud!
Ta bouche
Soufflant sur mes mots
Oh, c'est long!
Le temps
Du dernier frisson
Qu'il est froid
Ce silence
Qui grelotte en moi
Au bout de la nuit
Sans vie, je m'enfuis
Au bout de l'envie
Tout meurt sans cri
Tout est vide
Tout est ride
Je t'aime
Oh, je t'aime
Sans toi
Il me reste quoi?
Au bout de la nuit
Sans vie, je m'enfuis
Au bout de l'envie
Tout meurt sans cri
Je t'aime

It is so beautiful!
Your body
Sliding on my skin
How hot it is!
Your mouth
Blowing on my words
Oh, it’s long!
The time
Of the last shiver
How cold it is
This silence
That shivers inside me
At the end of the night
Without life, I run away
At the end of the desire
Everything dies without a cry
All is empty
All is wrinkle
I love you
Oh, I love you
Without you
What am I left with?
At the end of the night
Without life, I run away
At the end of the desire
Everything dies without a cry
I love you

The page last edited August 4, 2022

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