“Monkey Me” is a 2012 song by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer with music by Laurent Boutonnat. It was the third single from her ninth studio album, Monkey Me, and was released on radio on 30 August 2013 (Benoit Di Sabatino birthday), then physically on 7 October of the same year. A music video composed of graphics was available on the web four days earlier. The song was generally well received by critics and the singer’s fans who considered it one of the best tracks of the album. In France, it peaked at number three on the week of the release of the physical formats.
Surprisingly, only about 8% of you chose the song as your favorite from the album. Disagree? voice your opinion below:
Farmer hadn’t released anything since the single “Je te dis tout” in March 2013 and was being completely silent ever since. I would imagine due to the intense preparations for the Timeless Tour which she started in September 2013. Regardless, the fans were eager to see something new coming out…
During that time, filmmaker and frequent collaborator François Hanss posted online many photos he had taken in a jungle on a recent trip to Congo, which led the singer’s fans to presume that the forthcoming single would be “Monkey Me”, but there was no official statement.
On 19 July, while her fans were wondering whether she would release a third single from the album, Farmer announced that the song titled after the album would be released as a single. For the first time in her career, Farmer proposed to her fans to create the official cover of the single “Monkey Me” and to post their creations on Twitter or Instagram so that she can choose her favorite one. The contest was won by Richard Vanloot. Go Richard!! 🙂
On 30 August 2013, two versions of the song were sent to radio: a shorter version and a remix named “The ET’s Radio Mix”. See the mix below – nice one, no?
Off the bet, Mylene introduces us into the main idea of the song:
Je suis dans la peau d’une autre.
Si je suis en prison,
Et j’y suis pourquoi pas une autre.
I am going to restrain myself from reading the song as 100% autobiographical, but I am sure by now we know Mylene wouldn’t have written it if there was nothing to resonate with. Therefore, it is a personal matters to Mylene as all her songs. And that is why they have a power to penetrate through the layers of our mind/heart self-defense and make us relate over and over again.
I am Monkey Me myself more than I would like to admit. We all are in some extent in “somebody else’s skin” from time to time. And yes, the strife to “fit in” sometimes makes us feel uncomfortable and imprisoned but yet we do it again – crawling into the image we have created for ourselves to mimic someone else. Is it a survival technique – most likely! Is it a service to the primitive reptilian brain of ours – I bet it is. Does it work for the worldly success – well, you’d be the judge based on your own experiences. But the ultimate question is– does it make us happy? – pretending to be somebody else?
Mylene doesn’t want to answer that for you. She only describes her own feelings about it and note – with no judgment whatsoever – I LOVE THAT about her texts.
She hints that whatever MONKEY HER we see it’s not REAL HER and you do that math 😊
Je suis pas là, suis pas de ce monde.
I am not there, and not from this world.
Instead, there are a few clues she elegantly plants into our minds:
Pense au delà c’est une sagesse
Adoptez moi pa, pada
Je reste coi, je singe les ombres
Again, tons of hints and teases that make your mind race through the multitude of possibilities – ahh LOVE IT! From the “Adoptez moi pa” which immediately links to the
Optimistique-moi to the other two songs with the similar titles:
Avant que l’ombre… and À l’ombre (which is another hit from the same Monkey Me album)
I can’t not to point out to the mischievous aspect that I love about Mylene’s lyrics so much and what I saw again in this song (only when I was editing for the tri-lingual subtitles for the song – see them in the end of the chapter).
The English word “monkey” and the French “manque” (as in missing/lack/absence”) sound practically identically especially when singing and vocalizing the last consonant “que” in “manque” is sounds like “eee”. Mylene being bi-lingual probably spotted such resemblance and being amused by it structured the entire text around it. To enjoy the full extent of such an extensive play of words you need to be bi-lingual as well. Finally, my disadvantage become very useful here! Thank you, Mylene!
So lets go over this one more time “when she says “Monkey Me” as can be read as “manque Me (moi)”
As well as “manque ici” has the same exact alliteration as “monkey see” which is a part of the famous English saying, “monkey see – monkey do”. It is an expression describing someone who imitates another person’s actions, good or bad, simply by having watched them without particularly good reason why.
So perhaps, Mylene being known for her ever-changing and mutable through the years image, gives us an answer how she does it. From the early years working together, Laurent Boutonnat described her as “malleable” and that it was very easy to make her to take on the image they needed her to project. Very rare quality, don’t you think? We know plenty of actors who play just themselves role after role. Mylene in the other hand is capable of losing herself in the persona she is playing. I can’t stress it enough – you know it! If she is a rebellious “boy” from Désenchantée she totally is. If she is a girl killing her lover carried away by the deadly game in the Sans logique, no one doubts the authenticity of the image she creates. Her entire acting career (and yes, I see it as such in her music videos) is Sans contrefaçon (without counterfeit)
C’est bien ici bas je manque ici.
Perhaps it’s the reminder “L’animal” of a free and strong independent nature is out there somewhere but don’t we wish to possess jut a few of the “animal” like qualities. We know that animals most of the time are wiser, smarter, freer and better than us, humans. Mylene has always known it and held animals in high regards since forever. O r perhaps is a very specials dedication to E.T who passed away on the first day of 2011. E.T is there somewhere but its here on Earth Mylene misses her forever . Read MORE HERE about the topic. and HERE about E.T.
The underlining meaning are of course too many to list. Feel free to add in the comments what you have noticed while listening the song and watching (I hope with the newly added subtitles by your truly).
Below the photos by Posh taken during the concert on November 13, 2013 in Brussels – thank you for the great shots!
The “Monkey Me” plush toy finally appeared during the tour at a price of € 30 and the “Monkey Me” keyrings were also available. No “Timeless 2013” cups were offered during the tour.
Note, in the photos taken before the start of the concert, of Laurent Boutonnat, Karen Nimereala, Nathalie Rheims, Nathalie Delépine and Manuel Gouffran.
On 28 August 2013, it was publicly confirmed that the single would not be promoted by an official music video. However, on 3 October, a video in black and white was launched on the web. Directed by Eric Delmotte and Luc Froehlicher, it consists of computer graphics, and shows buildings collapsing, vegetation that appears and disappears, and crying monkeys, recalling King Kong. As Farmer does not appear in the video, many fans were disappointed. Metro News deemed it “surprising”, displaying “an experimental rendering and a rather cryptic global concept”. According to Kevin Boucher of Ozap, “the video is not really related with the lyrics but is nevertheless aesthetic”. More critical, the SFR Live Concerts site stated after seeing the video: “We remain circumspect. This series of images of destroyed buildings, unsightly and very repetitive, quickly tiring. Only expressions of the “monkey” bring a little interest to this video.” A survey on the web gathering 722 votes showed that 34.8% of the voters dislike the video while 33.5% of them considered it very well made. And what do you think? Comment on the page!
“Monkey Me” generally received praise from both critics and fans. Jonathan Hamard of Chartsinfrance.net wrote that the song is “the most efficient” one from the album. According to Julien Chadeyron of Le Nouvel Observateur, “Monkey me” is “absolutely fascinating” and “original”, noting that it “has everything to become a hit”.The website evous.fr wrote that “Monkey Me” is a “very pop-rock” song similar to “L’Instant X” with lyrics about dual identity, pursuing by noting that it’s “neither unpleasant nor a hit”; on the same website, a fan compared the song’s introduction to Farmer’s 2006 song “Devant soi“. In a survey asking Farmer’s fans which of the “new” songs they would most like to hear during her forthcoming Timeless 2013 tour, “Monkey Me” ranked at number one with 7.3% of the votes. (hmm…interestingly the percentage didn’t change much since – see the poll above, but the rating did- its no longer the top one song in the favorite’s list from the album)
On the week the album was released, “Monkey Me” entered the French Singles Chart at number 131 due to the album’s massive first-week sales, then immediately fell off the top 200. On the chart edition of 7 September 2013, when Farmer began her Timeless tour, the song reentered at number 45, through digital sales only, then immediately dropped. When released under physical formats, it reentered the chart at a peak of number three, selling 7,300 units that week, 3% of them digitally. The next week, it dropped to number 61. Bouncing back and forth like a monkey, isn’t it? 🙂 🙂
Well, Mylene has a well-known affinity for the monkeys after having E.T. as a companion for 25 years.
On 7 September 2013, “Monkey Me” debuted at number 43 on the Belgian Ultratip chart of Wallonia and peaked at number 13 in the sixth week. Then it entered the Ultratop chart at number 43, on the chart edition of 19 October 2013.
For the title of this song (and the album), Mylène confided in an interview, on TF1 on December 2, 2012, that she thought of her little capuchin monkey ET with which she lived for more than 25 years and died in 2011. (RIP dear E.T.)
One can evoke among the possible influences the monkeys of wisdom: to see nothing, to hear nothing, to say nothing. The photo of the album cover makes you think of it (as well as the cover of the single in a second phase) but also some lyrics of the song which I will get into a bit later on the page
Coincidently, I have always loved the 3 monkeys motto and even have it in my Facebook profile (it was created totally independent of Mylene as I had no idea of the connection until now). I love when such a playful synchronicity sneaks up on me 🙂
Part of the lyrics of the song could have been inspired in Mylène by the book Mémoires de la jungle published in 2010. Tristan Garcia, the author writes: “I recognize his steps, his feet, it’s like seeing myself without being behind my eyes. He’s a worried monkey. He’s another me. Animal moi monkey me.“. Mylène for her part in the lyrics of the song Monkey Me: “There / It’s another me / It’s Monkey Me / The animal There / A Monkey Me / I am Monkey … Me “
Only one official remixer for Monkey Me: Amir Afargan, an Israeli electronic music producer who remixes a song by Mylène for the first time.
Two different remixes are available: one for radio stations and the other
“My approach was to put contemporary house and pop elements around Mylene’s voice, and to make an alternative edit version ideal for radio stations. I did not receive any instructions, except to keep the elements. basic like the chords and the structure of the original version. I did a club version. It is not an extended version of the radio edit. It is a totally different version, club enough to give, I hope, an opportunity for Mylene to be played at big parties, and maybe allow her to be discovered by a new audience. ” (Amir Afargan – mylenefarmeressentiel.com – September 2013)
It was Guéna LG who proposed to Mylène’s team the name of Amir Afargan as a potential remixer of Monkey Me. Subsequently, the exchanges were made exclusively with Paul van Parys (director of Stuffed Monkey) who, in the end, sent an email to Amir Afargan about his remixes: “Mylène loves it.”
The name of the remixes “The ET’s Radio Mix” and “The ET’s Club Remix” was chosen by Mylène. A hint to her monkey E.T. and Amir Afargan had confided he had no idea of the long history of Mylène with her little monkey companion.
Don’t you just love this MONKEY ME truck? I don’t know who is a proud owner is. Please comment if you are the one 🙂 Would love to hear from you!
Monkey Me was performed on all dates of concerts Timeless 2013 from September 7 to December 6, 2013. Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat. The live performance is really great – all lit with orange lights and a lot of energy although Mylene does it on her own with no back dancers nor robots. She still manages to make it very memorable!
Enjoy my edits with translation below. Visit my YouTube channel for more.
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lyrics with translation
Aucune déraison, Je suis dans la peau d'une autre. Si je suis en prison, Et j'y suis pourquoi pas une autre. Et si je perds la raison Il y a de ça moi je paroxysme. Délivrez moi ta tada, Je suis pas là, suis pas de ce monde. Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me. (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là C'est bien ici bas je manque ici. (Je manque ici) De facétie Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là Je connaissais pas un Monkey moi. Je suis Monkey. Aucune déraison, Je suis dans la peau d'une autre. Si je suis sans guidon, Et j'y suis et ben je me vautre. Et si je perds l'audition, Pense au delà c'est une sagesse. Adoptez moi pa, pada Je reste coi, je singe les ombres. Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me. (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là C'est bien ici bas je manque ici. (Je manque ici) De facétie Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là Je connaissais pas un Monkey moi. Je suis Monkey. Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me. (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là C'est bien ici bas je manque ici. (Je manque ici) De facétie Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là Je connaissais pas un Monkey moi. Je suis Monkey. Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me. (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là C'est bien ici bas je manque ici. (Je manque ici) De facétie Là c'est un autre moi c'est Monkey Me (C'est Monkey Me) L'animal là Je connaissais pas un Monkey moi. Je suis Monkey.
No fooling around, I am in the skin of another. If I am in prison, And I'm there why not another. And if I lose the reason There is of that I paroxysm. Deliver me your tada, I am not there, am not of this world. There's another me that's Monkey Me (This is Monkey Me) The animal there It is well here down I miss here. (I miss here) Of facetiousness This is another me this is Monkey Me (This is Monkey Me) The animal there I didn't know a Monkey Me I am Monkey. There is no unreasonableness, I am in the skin of another. If I am without a steering wheel, And I'm there and then I wallow. And if I lose my hearing, Think beyond that is wisdom. Adopt me pa, pada I stay quiet, I monkey with the shadows. This is another me, this is Monkey Me. (This is Monkey Me) The animal there It's good here below I miss here. (I miss here) Of facetiousness This is another me this is Monkey Me (This is Monkey Me) The animal there I didn't know a Monkey Me I am Monkey. This is another me this is Monkey Me. (This is Monkey Me) The animal there It is well here down I miss here. (I miss here) Of facetiousness This is another me this is Monkey Me (This is Monkey Me) The animal there I didn't know a Monkey Me I am Monkey. This is another me this is Monkey Me. (This is Monkey Me) The animal there It is well here down I miss here. (I miss here) Of facetiousness This is another me this is Monkey Me (This is Monkey Me) The animal there I didn't know a Monkey Me I am Monkey.