Degeneration is a song from Mylène Farmer’s seventh studio album, Point de Suture (2008). It is the first single from it.
Degeneration lyrics were written by Mylène Farmer.
Mylène succinctly explained the meaning she wanted to give to this text, during an interview with Claire Chazal on the 8 p.m. newscast on August 31, 2008 on TF1 , making particular reference to the song Désenchantée :
“I especially have the feeling that the new generation of today is in a world of ultra-violence and that it is a very, very difficult world. Is it a “degeneration”, I don’t know. I also had a little fun, in all humility, with the word “degeneration” since there had been “disenchanted generation “.
Well, this is going to be a different impression for sure. But remember the line from the movie “Groundhog Day” “Anything different is good” 😊
The incredible video was shot by the talented Bruno Aveillan. later created Désobéissance and Stolen car. This clip shot in Prague is part of the great Farmerian tradition and reconnects with the cinematographic genre of its beginnings. Mylène Farmer plays the role of a character with exceptional powers… just like her musical career.
The costumes for the clip were created by Bruno Aveillan’s mother – Patricia Aveillan. Here is what she shared about working on this project with Mylene
Patricia Aveillan – Costume designer
Hello, concerning the costume of the video clip, I would like to know if it was you or Mylène who designed it ?
No, the costume was designed by me, Mylène just told me what exactly she wanted for the video, so I drew several sketches, we discussed them at length together to choose the one that will be represented in the video.
Were there other costumes that were proposed to Mylène?
There was a black dress in silk or organza that was also planned, but it was simply a question of light on the set, so this dress had no use in the story of the video to be included in it.
What were the inspirations or references to design the outfit? Are we talking about the character that Milla Jovovich plays in the movie “The 5th Element”?
A lot of people thought of this character when they first saw the video, but not at all, there was no connection with the movie or anything else except that Mylène wanted to appear as a mummy, a little bit alien (laughs) at the beginning of the video, hence the strips.
The entire song is literally 4 notes (hmmm…Laurent Boutonnat)! I am not kidding! I totally get the “huh?” reaction when it first came out! Mylene did it again! She managed to surprise and create controversy even with only 4 notes! Kind of like Niccoló Paganini when one after the other, three of the four strings on the violin broke, he simply finished the concert playing all notes on the one remaining string!
The song surely had a bumpy start. There were rumors, then some fakes all over the internet and then finally the real Degeneration. It raised the brow in disbelief.
The song has an electro and techno-sexy feel and the lyrics play with sonorities, including alliterations The only natural instruments audible in the song are piano and percussion; all others are effects.
That’s pretty impressive! It has that repetitive mantra feel almost meant to hypnotize or better put you into trance. It sure sounds like a remix. No wonder many were confused. But it is clearly a very good confusion as in just 3 days it gets official ranking of the most downloaded title in France with 4,998 downloads. And yet another record is under the Mylene’s belt!
The single will ultimately sell around 80,000 copies with downloads.
The reviews however were unfavorable to say the least:
- On 29 July, Yahoo! proposed on its homepage a very critical analysis of “Dégénération”
- Tribu Move deemed that this song marked a big musical change in the singer’s career.
- On 18 August, French magazine Télé Star qualified “Dégénération” as a “failure”, “a repetitive single without refrain, which has left perplexed fans of the first hour as well as professional people”. It also stressed that the song was “poorly aired on radio due to overall negative feedbacks from listeners”.
- According to Le Monde, “Dégénération” is characterized by “rather minimalist arrangements and a curtness tone”.
- For Le Figaro, it is a “very commercial single”, with a “powerful rhythmic”, a “very forward voice”, and “imperturbably ‘farmerian’ lyrics”. Did you see this? There is the term now “Farmerian”! Wow – I am ecstatic 😊
- Starac Mag deemed the song is “less melodious than Farmer’s previous titles, but equally effective”.
- As for Le Point, “Dégénération” is “a repetitive electro pop [song] with naive lyrics full of muddled and mystic double meanings”.
- More positive (thank God!), Swiss newspaper Coopération stated: “Make love, not the war: such is the message of this electro-pop hit which eyes up Depeche Mode”.
Did you know that during the filming of the clip, Mylene’s double was used between 7 and 14 of June 2008
So clearly Mylene needed to throw the bone to rehabilitate the song released in June 2008 and on July 1st Polydor made a statement: “The first single entitled Degeneration and will be brought to life by the talented Bruno Aveillan (a director who has directed several television commercials for companies such as Perrier, Louis Vuitton, Orange, Nintendo, Nike and Philips).
This clip shot over two days (9 and 10 June) in Prague and remains loyal to the great Farmerian (!!) tradition as it revives the cinematographic genre of its beginnings. Mylène Farmer plays the role of a character with exceptional powers … just like her musical career.
Ahh! That’s some juicy bone, ladies and gentlemen!
“We know the farmerian obsessions: melancholy, mysticism, death, eroticism, libertinism … She declines them this time again with allusive lines like” Coma t’es sexe, t’es Styx “(as a reminder among the Greeks, the Styx is the river of hell)” (La Meuse – 08/27/2008)
“On connaît les obsessions farmeriennes : mélancolie, mysticisme, mort, érotisme, libertinage… Elle les décline cette fois encore avec des vers allusifs comme “Coma t’es sexe, t’es Styx” (pour rappel chez les Grecs, le Styx est le fleuve des enfers)”.”
Music SFR and universalmusic.fr. In Russia, “MTV Russia” channel regularly aired the music video. Those Russians – I am telling you 😊 No restraint – haha!
The Degeneration clip seems to be inspired by this 1978 thriller called Coma (hint to the lyrics). Director: Michael Crichton.
Release dates: January 6, 1978 (United States), June 1978 (France)
Actors: Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Richard Widmark, Lois Chiles…
Synopsis: While undergoing quite banal surgeries, young and robust individuals mysteriously fall into a permanent coma. Intrigued by the multiplication of these “cases”, a doctor will try, at the risk of her life, to prove the responsibility of the hospital where the subjects “in intensive care” are piled up.
I personally can’t help but flashback to the movie I’ve seen only a few years earlier called Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
It’s a psychological thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Dustin Hoffman which was shown in the theaters around year 2006.
It is based on an acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind’s Das Parfum: Die Geschichte eines Mörders – classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man’s indulgence in his greatest passion—his sense of smell.
To spare you the details Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity. I highly recommend the book and the movie but here is the caveat! In the end of the book/movie When Jean-Baptiste Grenouille pours the entire bottle of his final perfume on himself, the people are so drawn to him that they are compelled to obtain parts of his body, eventually tearing him to pieces and eating them. The story ends with the crowd, now shocked by their actions, realizing that such a horrific action was done in fact out of “love”….a lot to process…
Of course, in Mylene’s clip the story so much less doom & gloom but nevertheless heavily reminds me of the Perfume movie. Maybe it’s just me…I wish I could ask Mylene 😊
Also, the movie ET especially in the famous scene lying under the monitoring devices and we all wonder if we are about to lose him. It just connects in my mind for some reasons.
Making the clip (pretty darn cool!)
As far as “Farmerian” term, there was another Farmer (coincidence?): Philip José Farmer a fictional writer. He is known for the pioneering use of sexual and religious themes in his work. (sounds familiar at all?)
Regarding the scar in the cover photo…Some swear they see the letters “IYH”, or more exactly “IY / H”. Which has no vowels (always silent) name of “God” – can be loosely translated as “With the will of God”. To be exact it is a symbol of the Devine creator, its a universal force of everything in its existence. Very Kabballah terminology. Here is another stone added to the building of Mylène’s spiritual references. By the way she also uses the same “IY / H” image in the clip “Appelle mon numero” – only there its stitched on the pillow…hmm…not a coincidence…
In many songs, Mylene refers to Styx
One of my favorite bands also is named Styx. Funny, how my English teacher at school didn’t know what that word meant when I asked her like in 7th grade 😊
So here is something on the topic for you, dear brainiacs.
In Greek mythology, Styx (Oceanis) was a nymph living in a cave near a fountain in Arcadia and who gave her name to the main river that surrounded the Underworld. It is the longest of the rivers of the Underworld and it circled the Underworld three times.
Her children, Zelos (the passion), Nike (the victory), Bia (the force) and Kratos (the power) helped Zeus in the conflict which opposed him to the Titans
Zeus, to thank her offered her the most flattering distinction, he wanted her to be the sacred bond of the gods’ promises. He establishes the most serious penalties against those who violate the oaths made in his name. When Zeus himself swore by the Styx, his oath was irrevocable.
When a god was about to swear by Styx, Iris went to fetch a cup full of water from the infernal river, on which he stretched out his hand. The immortal who perjured himself incurred severe punishment: for a whole year he remained breathless. Then for nine years, he was driven out of the circle of other gods. That’s some timeout! 🙂
Mylène performs Degeneration at all indoor concerts and then in stadiums of the 2009 Tour from May 2 to September 19, 2009 .
Stage arrangements: Yvan Cassar .
Choreography: Nataly Aveillan .
We find Degeneration on the live album of the indoor concerts recorded at the Halle Tony Garnier in Lyon, N°5 On Tour , released on December 07, 2009 then on the film of the concerts, Stade de France available on DVD and Blu-ray on the 12 April 2010 .
In Greek mythology, Charon, the ferryman of souls had the role of passing on his boat, the souls of the dead in exchange for a coin that the parents of the deceased had placed in the mouth of the deceased. They also had to row and get eaten up by Charon who only steered the boat. Once the passage was completed, it was impossible to cross it again. (Did you notice that the back of Mylene’s head of Tournee 2009 clearly has a scull – gorgeous hair work!)
Later, the Styx was confused with a torrent located in Arcadia originating in a steep and isolated place where the water seemed black and then lost in the bowels of the earth. Its black and icy waters have always inspired terror.
Quentin Lambert anecdote about the song HERE
MYLÈNE FARMER AND THE STYX:
On est tous des imbéciles:
“It is surely not to be an artist
Than to strike on a piano
It is surely not to be a poet
Than to upset with an empty head
sitting on the edge of the Styx
but what is it that stuck
and cloud my comet
is the law of the series
the troubles are piling up
She is joggling with the words
Coma you are sex, you are styx, static test
Coma you are sex, you are styx, ecstatic
Coma you are sex, you are styx, test, static
Je suis du bad bad mood
Moi pierre qui roule, je cache un blues
Tes confettis je m’en fous
Je suis maudit, à cran je suis mort
J’ai bien saisi qu’il faut des multitudes
De cocktails là pour m’apaiser
J’ai bien une idée de comment contrer colère
Domicile Styx, je suis une
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lyrics with translation
Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, test statique Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, extatique Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, test, test statique Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, esthétique Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Dégénération Ma génération Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma J'sais pas moi mais y faut qu'ca bouge J'sais pas moi mais y faut qu'ca bouge J'suis coma là mais y faut qu'ca bouge J'sais pas moi mais y faut qu'ca bouge Faut qu'ca bouge Faut qu'ca bouge Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Dégénération Ma génération Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy, sexy, sexy Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, test statique Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, extatique Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, test, test statique Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx, esthétique Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma (dégénération) Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma (ma génération) Sexy trauma
Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Coma you are sex, you are styx, static test Coma you are sex, you are styx, ecstatic Coma you are sex, you are styx, test, static test Coma you are sex, you are styx, aesthetic Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Degeneration My generation Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma I don't know about me, but it's time to change I don't know about me but it's got to change I'm in a coma right now but it's got to change I don't know about me but It got to change I've got to change I'm in a coma, I'm in a coma, I'm in a coma, I'm in a coma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Degeneration My generation Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy, sexy, sexy Coma you are sex, you are styx, static test Coma you are sex, you are styx, ecstatic Coma sex, styx, test, static test Coma you are sex, you are styx, aesthetic Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma (degeneration) Sexy trauma Sexy coma Sexy trauma Sexy coma (my generation) Sexy trauma