“Ainsi soit je…” (English: ” So let it be I/Amen…”) is a 1988 song recorded by Mylène Farmer. It remains to be one of the most recognizable ballads of hers. I’ve finally gotten a courage to give it my full attention. Not only the song it truly legendary but also, she has created five stunning live versions of it. Which one is your favorite? Down below I include the links to each of them. Please leave your comments.
The song was released as a single twice: as the second single from her second studio album Ainsi soit je… on 4 April 1988, and as the second single in a live version from her second live album Live à Bercy on 20 August 1997. Both versions achieved a relative success on the charts, falling short twice to reach the top ten in France.
Mylène speaks briefly about the song, as often, without trying to explain it:
“It’s hard to sum up a title like that. I give a lot of importance to the three dots of So be I…. If we can summarize Thus be I… , it would be a portrait. ” (Mylène Farmer – NRJ – 04/20/1988)
It took Mylène very little time to write in October 1987 the text of Ainsi soit je…, if we refer to the testimony of the photographer Elsa Trillat, then very close to the singer:
“One evening, she told me that she had just written a text in half an hour for her next album. She read it to me on the phone. It is Ainsi soit je… ( Mylène Farmer Magazine – 2004)
Mylène will make several hints to the lyrics of Ainsi soit je… years later.
First in 2010 while singing with Ben Harper the cover of the song from INXS, Never tear us apart. In the part of the text adapted in French by Mylène, we find the words: ” Bulle d’amour” which evoke the “Bulle de chagrin” of Ainsi soit je… In fact I just noticed it yesterday writing about the Never tear us apart.
Another wink – this time directly confirmed by Mylène during an interview on RFM on October 2, 2018 – in the song On a besoin d’y croire on the album Disobedience in 2018, Mylène concludes the last verse with: “Être deux, s’approcher / Pour ne faire qu’un ici / Ainsi soit-il”. (To be two, to approach / To do only one here / So be it)
After the huge success of “Sans contrefaçon“, Boutonnat and Farmer decided to release as a new single the title track “Ainsi soit je…”, just one month before the album release. It was the first ballad of the singer. And what a glorious beginning of the future direction! The cover of the single, which was created by Farmer’s friend, Elsa Trillat, is almost identical to the album’s one, but without the puppet which featured in the video “Sans contrefaçon“.
For more info on Elsa and the creation of “Sans contrefaçon” read here:
The single was released under the traditional formats (vinyl) but also CD maxi and, for the first time, a CD video. The single was also released in Japan, but about two years after the Francophone countries.
As for all her songs since “Tristana“, Farmer wrote the lyrics. However, the first words of the couplets “bulle de chagrin, boule d’incertitude” were written in the 1970s by Marie Marie who unfortunately passed away very early by leukemia. The 45 Touts Bulles de chagrin was released in 1988 by Tréma.
When love or hate wraps around you Their locked chains Knotted snake You deliver, or you drag To forget the time that is not wasted Stolen kisses Receive Distinguished feelings Body to body So strong So good Until death Until tomorrow Keep those golden tears on your hands Little bubbles of sorrow Feel the taste of fever.
In this way, Farmer paid tribute to her. Perhaps, the song by Demis Roussos Ainsi soit il also has something to do with the inspiration?
The song’s title refers to the formula which ends Christian prayers (‘Amen’ i. e. ‘Ainsi soit-il’ or ‘So be it/ Let it be’ in English), but here it is spelled ‘Ainsi soit je…’, instead of ‘Ainsi sois-je’, showing that the ‘Je’ (or ‘I’ in English) is personified. Mylene adopts the meaningful splay of words from that point on creating her own extra depth to the lyrics and rewarding greatly those who are possess an excellent command of French language😊
A journalist Benoît Cachin stated that in this song, Farmer “reveals her loneliness, her pain of living and her great lucidity”, and deals with the theme of existentialism, which was also present in “À quoi je sers…”. This suggests that “the singer’s single religion is despair, sadness and great lucidity on the future”. She speaks to someone to warn him against her own solitude. The same semantic field is used as in “Regrets”: cold, winter, time. According to author Erwan Chuberre, the notes are high, giving thus a “nagging nostalgia” to the song, and the music is like a nocturne by Frédéric Chopin. As in “Rêver” and “Redonne-moi”, some lyrics are sung in the high notes to express sadness.
The 5:23 video was directed by Laurent Boutonnat who also wrote the screenplay. This Requiem Publishing production was shot for two days in studios of Stains, France in the end of April 1988, and cost only about 30,000 euros, as some of the money was being saved for the next video, “Pourvu qu’elles soient douces“. It is a tribute to Walt Disney’s animated feature, Bambi. The video was the singer’s favorite at the time. It was broadcast for the first time in the television show Top 50 on Canal+ a few weeks after the single release. The scene of the drowning, shot in the same pond and with almost the same team as that for “Plus grandir“, was very difficult to film because the singer was then afraid of the water. Farmer said in an interview that the sobriety of the clip was well suited to this song.
The video is singular amongst Farmer’s videos of the time, as it does not have a particular storyline.
The music video for “Ainsi soit-je…” was deemed as a tribute to the animated feature Bambi.
The video could evoke the life cycle. According to journalist Caroline Bee, the “melancholy tone is accentuated by the cold colors”. Actually, the colors are more in the brown scale reproducing almost an antique flare to the clip. It’s not, however, the same brown scale as in Sans Logique nor in Les mots
The “owl could refer to a double meaning: the first is the idea of wisdom and a guiding presence in the black ([i. e.] the melancholy of ideas sung by the artist), but [the second is the idea of] an animal that opens eyes to the harshness of life and the temporary nature of things”. I think we are seeing a development of Mylene’s ultimate favorite winged symbol – the Raven (just think “NEVERMORE”). Perhaps, the owl was a gateway symbol.
Magazine Top 50 gave a positive review of the video, saying it “is both simple and technically impeccable. Lights, movie camera movements, framing, everything works towards setting up on the screen the atmosphere of sadness and melancholy expressed through song.” And I do agree with that! Boutonnat is growing and learning as they collaboration straightens more. Later they become so co-joined by the creative process it is almost impossible to distinct when the one ends and the other starts. They are seamless as time goes on.
The video for the 1997 single release was composed of images from the 1996 tour.
According to Compact, “Ainsi soit je…” is a sweet ballad, but that may tire the listener because of it is being too repetitive. However, it stated that the song is really a “hit” thanks to its music video which is composed of “sublime images” and made with “extreme delicacy”. It also said that the song had found its musical influences from France Gall, Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy’s musical works and considered it as a “success”.
In France, the single in its original version was listed on the SNEP chart for fourteen weeks, from 30 April to 30 July. As there was no music video in the first weeks, television show Top 50, which presented the singles chart every Saturday, broadcast Farmer’s performance on Sacrée Soirée to illustrate the song.
The single debuted at number 31 and reached a peak at number twelve in its sixth week. In April 2018, the song was re-edited and re-entered the chart at number five. It remixed to become more up-to-date musical piece. I have mixed (or better say re-mixed) feelings about it. On one hand it is more “modern” but in teh other hand that very “modernization” kills the initial charm and the nostalgia for the old good days. I don’t know if you can relate. Just listen for yourself and comment below what you think.
The live version released in 1997 did not have the same success and remained in low positions: in France, it peaked at number 27 in its second week on 30 August and was ranked for only five weeks; in Belgium, the song entered at number 22, its highest position, on 6 September and dropped the next three weeks. The single was little aired on radios as they preferred to air the live version of more rhythmic songs, including “Désenchantée” on NRJ and “Que mon cœur lâche” on Europe 2.
In 1988, Farmer performed the song in twelve (!!) televisions shows.
In 2003, the song was covered by Michal Kwiatkowski, a contestant of the French show Star Academy 3, and his version was included on the album Les Meilleurs Moments du Prime. French singer Marie Laforêt https://www.discogs.com/artist/462548-Marie-Lafor%C3%AAt had planned to cover the song at her concerts at the Bouffes Parisiens in 2005, as tribute to Farmer who had performed Laforêt’s song “Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes” during the 1989 tour), but eventually cancelled this project.
More about Mylene Farmer and Marie Laforêt HERE
This song conquered the hearts of the fans but also of a wider audience and is now one of Mylène’s “classics” still regularly broadcast on the radio.
Ainsi soit je… is present on the following albums: Ainsi soit je…”… (1988) , En concert (1989) in live version, Dance Remixes (1992) in remixed version , Live à Bercy (1996) in live version , Les mots (2001) , N ° 5 on Tour (2009) in live version and on Best Of Volume 1 / Volume 2 (2011)
Mylène Farmer performs Ainsi soit je… on Les enfants de la une TF1 06 septembre 1997. She received platinum rank for the Anamorphosée. She however chose to preform another album’s song Ainsi soit je… instead wearing a dress by Thierry Mugler very first time after 1989 Tour. And what a sensitive performance that was!
Do you recognize the dress? yes! it is the same dress she wore a few years later to film Souviens-toi du jour clip and the one almost melted in the process
It is again a re-recorded version that Mylène offers on April 24, 2010 in the program “Encore une chanson” on France 2 for the promotion of the Stade de France video.
En Concert 1989
Ainsi soit je… is performed on all the dates of Tour 89 between May 11 and December 8, 1989 .
Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat and Bruno Fontaine.
During the Mylène Farmer en concert (1989), Farmer wore a black patterned dress and began crying from the second refrain. It was so emotional – I remember crying a river together with her watching it on my old VHS:
Ainsi soit je… is performed only on the second part of the 1996 Tour from November 29 to December 15, 1996. Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat. You can see however Yvan Cassar (still so young) is accompanying her on the piano
Ainsi soit je… is indeed absent from the initial setlist of this tour before it was suddenly interrupted in Lyon on June 15 following an accidental fall of Mylène. When the concerts resume, the addition of Ainsi soit je… to the setlist is the only modification of the show (except for the duet with Khaled, La poupée qui fait non, but performed only on two dates). It is important to note that shortly before, at the end of October, Mylène experienced a tragedy in her private life with death of one of her brothers, Jean Loup, in a traffic accident. We do not know if the song is then a form of tribute, Mylène never having spoken about it.
avant que l’ombre… IN BERCY 2006
Mylène sings Ainsi soit je… on the first two dates (then for the seventh date) during the thirteen concerts of 2006, Before the shadow … in Bercy (for the other dates, Ainsi soit je… is replaced by the song L’Autre …). This live performance of 2006 for this title does not appear on any releases. “L’Autre” which was finally chosen to be included on the CD and DVD of the concert. Arrangements for the stage: Yvan Cassar.
TOURNE No 5 2009
Return of Ainsi soit je… in the setlist of the concerts of the Tour 2009 indoors from May 2 to July 1, 2009 then in stadiums from September 4 to 19, 2009 in a piano-voice version with Yvan Cassar on piano. Stunning performance in my opinion! Everything is beyond perfect: piano, guitars, the entire impression and the arrangements, her looks are to die for, the the atmosphere, the state of emotions…everything is just beyond this world!
Défense Arena LIVE 2019
Mylène sings Ainsi soit je… during the nine concerts at Paris La Défense Arena from June 07 to 22, 2019.
Arrangements for the stage: Olivier Schultheis.
more remixes and remakes: https://soundcloud.com/search?q=Ainsi%20soit%20je%20mylene%20farmer
Dereck reacts! to live 2009 (got to watch him tearing up!)
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lyrics with translation
Bulle de chagrin, boule d'incertitude Tant de matins que rien ne dissimule Je veux mon hiver M'endormir loin de tes chimères Je sais bien que je mens Je sais bien que j'ai froid dedans Bulle de chagrin, boule d'incertitude De nos destins naît que solitude Tu dis qu'il faut du temps Qu'aimer n'est pas un jeu d'enfant Je sais bien que tu mens Mais je suis si seule à présent Ainsi soit je Ainsi soit tu Ainsi soit il Ainsi moi je Prie pour que tu Fuis mon exil Mais quel espoir Pourrais-je avoir Quand tout est noir? Ainsi soit je Ainsi soit tu Ainsi soit ma vie Tant pis Bulle de chagrin, boule d'incertitude Deux orphelins que le temps défigure Je voudrais mon hiver M'endormir loin de tes chimères Tu sais bien que je mens Tu sais bien que j'ai froid dedans Ainsi soit je Ainsi…
Bubble of sorrow, ball of uncertainty So many mornings nothing conceals I want my winter Fall asleep far from your dreams I know I'm lying I know well that I am cold inside Bubble of sorrow, ball of uncertainty From our fates is born that solitude You say it takes time That loving is not child's play I know that you are lying But I'm so lonely now Let it be I Let it be you Let it be (also means “Amen”) Let it be me Pray that you Flee my exile But what hope Can I have When everything is black? Let it be I Let it be you Let it be my life For the worse Bubble of sorrow, ball of uncertainty Two orphans disfigured by time I would like my winter Fall asleep far from your dreams You know I'm lying You know that I'm cold inside Let it be I Let…