Sur l'oreiller du mal c'est Satan Trismégiste Qui berce longuement notre esprit enchanté, Et le riche métal de notre volonté Est tout vaporisé par ce savant chimiste.
On the pillow of evil is Satan Trismegistus
Which cradles our enchanted mind for a long time,
And the rich metal of our will
Is all vaporized by this skilled chemist.
Au lecteur is a song from Mylène Farmer’s eleventh studio album, Désobéissance (2018). To the reader is the introductory poem of the collection Les Fleurs du mal (1857) by Charles Baudelaire.
Music composed and produced by Feder
When I see the posts with different Mylene songs and videos celebrating 25, 30, 37 (!!) years, I freeze for a second and really try to take it all in. Our darling Mylene is living this life of a celebrity with such a high expectation for 37 years!! WOW! I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like.
It’s an incredible ability to create and evolve for such a long stretch – for GENERATIONS but also, a stoical stamina not to break under the constant pressure from both showbiz and the fans/press. What a superhuman strength one requires to withstand this and come out triumphal again and again!
Mylene is still striving and not only running behind the train of the modern music trends milking her old albums but in some regards is still ahead (I picture XXL video in my mind with her like a Spirit of Ecstasy at the front of the locomotive)
But seriously, depending of course on your personal musical preferences, let’s admit Mylene doesn’t sound stale or irrelevant even now. I love her later work no less than I loved her earlier pieces. I love that she is deeper, wiser and with even more magnetizing femininity than ever. She is an Old Soul who experienced a lot in her life; and her grace, and the complexity shines through with the different light now. She is much surer of herself than before. She has been to hell and back, no doubts. (On that note I can relate)
No wonder Baudelaire remans one of her favorite authors as she probably witnessed quite a few Flowers of Evil in her life from the first hand. (Anybody counted how many times she used the references to Baudelaire in her lyrics?)
With Au lecteur, this is the second time that Mylène has chosen to set a poem by Baudelaire to music after L’Horloge in 1988 on the album Ainsi soit je… (music by Laurent Boutonnat).
“I have a passion like many of us, I imagine, for Baudelaire, for his poetry, for his melancholy. Because he has a richness, and of words, and an ability to convey to you emotions as they are Because I love the French language, because I love poetry, and then I had started with L’Horloge precisely, a long, long time ago, and it was, there again, I don’t know if we call it a blink of an eye, it’s a little reductive but, in any case, a desire to relive it.” (Mylène Farmer – RFM – 02/10/2018)
“From Feder, we also like […] the dressing of the astonishing AU LECTEUR, where she reads a passage from Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal accompanied by a cello and soft machines …” ( leparisien. fr)
“The DJ from Nice, revealed in particular by the hits Goodbye and Breathe, extracts the singer from a much too oiled machine and often demonstrates a saving daring: […] of Baudelaire) ” ( rfi.fr )
“Less synths, more electro, a strong emotional charge on a good half of the songs (in particular Au lecteur, a poem by Charles Baudelaire […])” ( lepoint.fr )
“AU LECTEUR, Baudelaire’s poem proclaimed raw like a slam, thirty years after L’Horloge , title adulated by fans” ( teleloisirs.fr )
“Literature is evoked with AU LECTEUR, Baudelaire’s poem spoken in a deep voice with a refined accompaniment.” ( Lemonde.fr )
“Mylène reads a text directly to her fans as AU LECTEUR” ( idolator.com )
And I agree with the last statement completely! It is a message to us all…
She reads it so beautifully with such a hypnotizing velvety tone that I feel blessed not to be fluent in French in this instance: I am privileged to just “feel” her voice, the consonants and vowels…like a lullaby, like a river which I am letting myself to be taken over by…
But as far as the message, I can’t imagine it to be any more obvious. She sounds tired and profoundly disappointed in the human race. It sounds very personal. She sounds deeply lonely (I hope I am wrong about that!) and it breaks my heart.
I hope she is satisfied with what she has achieved over the years, but in the end of the day in her lonely “glass prison” what does she see looking out?
Fame is a perfect setting for becoming a prey and being subjected to attacks by all kind of monstrosity imaginable.
Does she wish the humanity to be kinder, more loyal, supporting and loving to HER through the decades? How much she must be afraid of us and our reactions!
Does she wish to turn back time and not to choose the path that she has chosen knowing now what she knows?
Would she choose to be safe instead and not be constantly cornered by us one way or another? Would she rather be nurtured and loved for who she really is? Maybe she would be happier after all being a horse-riding instructor or a great vet instead of carrying a cross of being a princess Diana of France?
Did we make it all worthwhile, you think, “Hypocrite lecteur (“fan”), – mon semblable, – mon frère!”
A few well made remixes which really surprised me as didn’t see at as a remix material but nevertheless…you be the judge
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POETRY with translation
Au Lecteur La sottise, l'erreur, le péché, la lésine, Occupent nos esprits et travaillent nos corps, Et nous alimentons nos aimables remords, Comme les mendiants nourrissent leur vermine. Nos péchés sont têtus, nos repentirs sont lâches; Nous nous faisons payer grassement nos aveux, Et nous rentrons gaiement dans le chemin bourbeux, Croyant par de vils pleurs laver toutes nos taches. Sur l'oreiller du mal c'est Satan Trismégiste Qui berce longuement notre esprit enchanté, Et le riche métal de notre volonté Est tout vaporisé par ce savant chimiste. C'est le Diable qui tient les fils qui nous remuent! Aux objets répugnants nous trouvons des appas; Chaque jour vers l'Enfer nous descendons d'un pas, Sans horreur, à travers des ténèbres qui puent. Ainsi qu'un débauché pauvre qui baise et mange Le sein martyrisé d'une antique catin, Nous volons au passage un plaisir clandestin Que nous pressons bien fort comme une vieille orange. Serré, fourmillant, comme un million d'helminthes, Dans nos cerveaux ribote un peuple de Démons, Et, quand nous respirons, la Mort dans nos poumons Descend, fleuve invisible, avec de sourdes plaintes. Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie, N'ont pas encor brodé de leurs plaisants dessins Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins, C'est que notre âme, hélas! n'est pas assez hardie. Mais parmi les chacals, les panthères, les lices, Les singes, les scorpions, les vautours, les serpents, Les monstres glapissants, hurlants, grognants, rampants, Dans la ménagerie infâme de nos vices, II en est un plus laid, plus méchant, plus immonde! Quoiqu'il ne pousse ni grands gestes ni grands cris, Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde; C'est l'Ennui! L'oeil chargé d'un pleur involontaire, II rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka. Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat, — Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère! — Charles Baudelaire
To the Reader Folly, error, sin, avarice Occupy our minds and labor our bodies, And we feed our pleasant remorse As beggars nourish their vermin. Our sins are obstinate, our repentance is faint; We exact a high price for our confessions, And we gaily return to the miry path, Believing that base tears wash away all our stains. On the pillow of evil Satan, Trismegist, Incessantly lulls our enchanted minds, And the noble metal of our will Is wholly vaporized by this wise alchemist. The Devil holds the strings which move us! In repugnant things we discover charms; Every day we descend a step further toward Hell, Without horror, through gloom that stinks. Like a penniless rake who with kisses and bites Tortures the breast of an old prostitute, We steal as we pass by a clandestine pleasure That we squeeze very hard like a dried up orange. Serried, swarming, like a million maggots, A legion of Demons carouses in our brains, And when we breathe, Death, that unseen river, Descends into our lungs with muffled wails. If rape, poison, daggers, arson Have not yet embroidered with their pleasing designs The banal canvas of our pitiable lives, It is because our souls have not enough boldness. But among the jackals, the panthers, the bitch hounds, The apes, the scorpions, the vultures, the serpents, The yelping, howling, growling, crawling monsters, In the filthy menagerie of our vices, There is one more ugly, more wicked, more filthy! Although he makes neither great gestures nor great cries, He would willingly make of the earth a shambles And, in a yawn, swallow the world; He is Ennui! — His eye watery as though with tears, He dreams of scaffolds as he smokes his hookah pipe. You know him reader, that refined monster, — Hypocritish reader, — my fellow, — my brother!