Dégénération

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"Dégénération"
Single by Mylène Farmer
from the album Point de Suture
B-side Instrumental, Remixes
Released 19 June 2008 (see : release history)
Format Digital download, CD single,
CD maxi, 12" maxi
Recorded 2007
Genre Techno house
Length 5:27 (album/single version)
4:05 (radio edit)
3:55 (promo radio edit)
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Lyrics: Mylène Farmer
Music: Laurent Boutonnat
Producer(s) Laurent Boutonnat
Mylène Farmer singles chronology
"Déshabillez-moi"
(2007)
"Dégénération"
(2008)
"Appelle mon numéro"
(2008)
Point de Suture track listing
"Dégénération"
(1)
"Appelle mon numéro"
(2)

"Dégénération" (English: "Degeneration") is a 2008 song by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer. It was the first single from her seventh studio album Point de Suture, and was released first digitally and on radio in June 2008, then in a CD in August 2008. The song marked an important musical change in the singer's career. Despite cold critical and public reception, the single achieved success, peaking at number one in France on both physical and digital sales charts.

Background and release[edit]

On 21 May, Thierry Suc, one of Farmer's producers, announced that the first single from the album would be "Dégénération"[1] and that it would be released on radio on 19 June 2008.[2] On 7 June 2008, a 30-second music clip was leaked to the Internet[3] as well as the official cover art.[4] On 14 June, the whole song was available to the Internet. At the time, as the origins of this song were, however, unclear, it had thus led many to believe that this leaked song was actually a remix due to its lack of lyrics.

Surprisingly, on the night from 13 to 14 June, the e-compil site, the official platform for downloading of Universal Music, proposed, for a few hours only, to legally download the song, probably by mistake.[5] On 16 June, "Dégénération" was aired for the first time on Radio Jeune Reims, at 8:20 pm, although it was announced that NRJ should have the exclusivity of the first broadcast, on 19 June, at 7:00 am.[6] According to the French newspaper Le Parisien, the DJ Martin Solveig participated in one of the song remixes.[7] As scheduled, on 19 June, several radio stations broadcast "Dégénération", including NRJ, Delta FM and RTL. The song was then also available digitally on musicMe, virginmega.fr and iTunes, but only one version. A few days later, an unofficial CDR promo (unknown remix) of "Dégénération" was circulated and received attention from high profile DJs. Finally, it was announced that the song would be released as a physical single on 18 August. On 4 July, certain French radio stations began to broadcast the radio edit version of the remix produced by Martin Solveig.

On the occasion of the single release, Farmer formed for the first time a partnership with a mobile phone company. So, the SFR subscribers received two SMS announcing first when the song would be available digitally on its site, then when the three excerpts of the music video would be broadcast on its site.[8] On 11 July, the newspaper Info Music Hebdo said that the CD single would be released in a limited edition (50,000 copies) and that the CD maxi would contain remixes by Tomer G and Manhattan Clique who had previously worked with Farmer for "Slipping Away (Crier la vie)". In early September, TF1 promoted the song airing some excerpts between the programmes and the fully music video in the night.[citation needed]

Lyrics, music and title[edit]

Cquote1.pngComa t'es sexe, t'es styx,
Test statique
Coma t'es sexe, t'es styx,
Extatique...Cquote2.png

— Beginning of the chorus

The song has an electro[9] and techno-sexy feel and the lyrics play with sonorities, including alliterations.[10] The only natural instruments audible in the song are piano and percussion; all others are effects. According to Discordance.fr, "Dégénération" is "an unstructured song, not a summer hit with an easy approach", and its music is "hypnotic".[11] It can be assimilated to "Psychiatric", "La Ronde triste" or "Alice"[12] because of "its short text and its rather dub". The song "amounts to a couplet repeated in buckle, a spoken bridge, and many choirs". The text "remains partially incomprehensible without reading official lyrics". The electronic sound has a "more metallic rhythmic" than Farmer's previous singles and constitutes "a remarkable artistic experiment".[11] Psychologist Hugues Royer said that the message of the song is to "shake the boredom to find again the desire", to "promote sex therapy" to "reset the appetite for life".[13]

Interviewed by Claire Chazal in the news broadcasting of 31 August, 8:00 pm, on TF1, Farmer explained that the title of the song was a reference to "Désenchantée", her 1991 number-one hit, in which the word "génération" is mentioned.[14] On the cover of the various formats, Farmer is shown naked from the back. She has a green jade prayer beads around the neck that goes from the back to the buttocks[15] and ends with a G-string-shaped cross[16] and has in her back an enormous scar whose threads form the letters IY'H which mean in Hebrew : "With God's will".[17] Farmer's position on the cover resembles the subject of Man Ray's 1924 painting Le Violon d'Ingres, as well as that on the cover of her single "L'Histoire d'une fée, c'est...".[18][19][20]

Music video[edit]

The music video was shot over two days (9 and 10 June) in Prague, Czech Republic. Polydor[21] and French magazine Paris-Match announced that Bruno Aveillan, a director who has directed several television commercials for companies such as Perrier, Louis Vuitton, Orange, Nintendo, Nike and Philips, directed this 4:30 music video. About thirty actors as well as the dancers of Cave Canem troupe feature in it. According to Aveillan, extras perform "a resolutely modern choreography, full of unexpected." In addition, a Phantom camera, ordinarily devoted to the scientific research, was used for the shooting.[22] Patricia Aveillan, Bruno Aveillan's mother, made the dress worn by Farmer in the video and explained in an interview that she was informed just ten days before the shooting. Her daughter and her son-in-law also participated in the shooting.[23] The photographer Claude Gassian attended the shooting of the video.[24]

The music video for "Dégénération" contains several gay and lesbian scenes.

The video shows Farmer lying on an operating table in a laboratory, surrounded by scientists. When the music begins, she wakes up, unties her strips, gets up, and throws blue laser beams from her palms to the doctors and the militaries. Suddenly, they begin to perform choreographied sexual intercourses (men with men, women with women, women with men) which eventually end as an orgy, while Farmer goes out of the laboratory.[22][25]

On 26 June, SFR site revealed an excerpt from the music video for "Dégénération". Two other excerpts were broadcast on 1 and 2 July. The video was eventually fully aired on television on 10 July[26] and immediately available on several official websites such as TF1.fr, Music SFR and universalmusic.fr. In Russia, "MTV Russia" channel aired regularly the music video.[27]

This video was generally well received in the media. For example, Musique.evous said: "Its atmosphere is consistent with the single and the universe of its performer: cold, careful and erotic. (...) The production is impeccable and the greatest attention was paid to lighting, the texture of the bodies and the special effects".[28] Many critics have noticed that the video was "erotic" and "provocative", and some have thought it was inspired by Luc Besson's film The Fifth Element (futuristic atmosphere, red hair, body covered with strips)[29] or Le Parfum.[30] According to La Meuse, gay scenes - including two soldiers who kiss and undress each other[31] - would be "a wink to the fascination that Farmer has always exerted on the gay public".[32] Royer said this video is "peppered with special effects worthy of the early career [of Farmer]"[33] and conveys a message "which invites its listeners to come out of coma where they languish sex to engage in sexual intercourses without taboo. (...) The singer achieves the challenge of updating of the message of "Libertine" without giving the feeling of repetition."[34]

In January 2009, when the third single from the album was released, it was revealad that the music video for "Dégénération" as well as that of "Si j'avais au moins...", were part of a short film named The Farmer Project. The action takes place in a country in Eastern Europe in the 1950s or 1960s. It begins with Farmer, who portrays a creature with supernatural powers, who is captured by two policemen and studied in a laboratory. At this point, the music video for "Dégénération" starts.[35]

Critical reception[edit]

Reviews[edit]

"Dégénération" received generally negative reviews from the media and the public. Indeed, many Farmer's fans have criticized the lack of lyrics,[30] and the radio stations have not taken to the song.[9] On 29 July, Yahoo! proposed on its homepage a very critical analysis of "Dégénération", both at the level of music and video.[36] Tribu Move deemed that this song marked a big musical change in the singer's career.[37] 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".[38] According to Le Monde, "Dégénération" is characterized by "rather minimalist arrangements and a curtness tone".[39] For Le Figaro, it is a "very commercial single", with a "powerful rhythmic", a "very forward voice", and "imperturbably 'farmerian' lyrics".[40] Starac Mag deemed the song is "less melodious than [Farmer's] previous titles, but equally effective".[41] As for Le Point, "Dégénération" is "a repetitive electro pop [song] with naive lyrics full of muddled and mystic double meanings".[17] More positive, Swiss newspaper Coopération stated: "Make love, not the war: such is the message of this electro-pop hit which eyes up Depeche Mode".[42]

Chart performances[edit]

France

Although it received negative reviews, the single, after just a few hours, climbed to number one on the French singles download chart, very far ahead of the number two in terms of sales.[43] In spite of the lack of substantial promotion, there were 4,998 digital downloads on the three first days.[44] However, the week after, "Dégénération" dropped to number eight with 2,028 downloads,[45] then to number ten with 1,769 downloads, and was only number 25 in its fourth week with 940 downloads.[46] It continued to drop on the chart, but gained 35 places and reached number ten, with 1,450 downloads, when the album was released in late August,[47] but began again to drop rather quickly the weeks after.[48] It fell off the top 50 after 13 weeks.

In France, the single went straight to number one on the SNEP chart on 23 August, selling 27,401 units, which was the highest weekly sales of 2008 for a number-one single in France, and it marked return to number-one single since last single "XXL", released in 1995.[47] It dropped to number two the week after with 8,495 sales,[49] then to number five with 4,891 sales.[50] Then it fell off the top ten and totaled 17 weeks in the top 50 and 41 weeks in the top 100, which is to date the singer's longest chart running of a single in this country. The song also reached number ten on the club chart, number 16 on the television airplay chart and number 51 on the airplay chart.[51]

Other countries

On 5 July, "Dégénération", then only available digitally, entered the Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart at number six before dropping quickly and remaining in low positions. However, on 30 August, when the physical formats were released, "Dégénération" jumped directly from number 33 to number one, thus becoming Farmer's third number-one hit in Belgium. It dropped rather quickly the next weeks and remained for a total of 14 weeks in the top 40.[52]

The single was first ranked for a sole week on the Swiss Singles Charts, at number 58, on 6 July, thanks to the downloads, but re-entered at number 26 on 23 August when the physical formats were available, then dropped and fell off the chart after six weeks.[53]

Promotion and live performances[edit]

The song was never performed on television. It was performed during the 2009 tour Mylène Farmer en tournée, as sixteenth song of the show. Farmer wore a black leather jacket with a golden cross in the back, and her dancers a beige jacket with a black cross in the back. The song was accompanied by a choreography: Farmer appeared standing on a cockroach-shaped chair, while the dancers performed a dynamic modern choreography; she then stood up and walked to a platform which then raised in the airs.

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of single releases of "Dégénération":[54]

  • CD single (limited edition — 50,000)
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (single version) 5:27
2. "Dégénération" (radio edit) 4:05
3. "Dégénération" (instrumental version) 5:27
  • CD maxi / 12" maxi
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (single version) 5:27
2. "Dégénération" (Tomer G sexy club mix) 8:33
3. "Dégénération" (MHC future generation remix club) 6:29
4. "Dégénération" (Manhattan clique mix) 3:20
  • CD single - Promo / CD single - Promo - Digipack format 12" (collector edition)
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (edit version) 3:55
  • CD maxi - Promo
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (comatik club remix (remixed by Martin Solveig)) 7:04
2. "Dégénération" (Tomer G sexy club mix) 8:28
3. "Dégénération" (single version) 5:23
  • 12" maxi - Promo
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (Martin Solveig degenerave remix) 7:04
2. "Dégénération" (Tomer G sexy club mix) 8:28
  • CD single - Promo (released in September 2008. Limited edition — 120)
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (MHC future generation remix club) 6:29
  • Digital download
No. Title Length
1. "Dégénération" (single version) 5:27
2. "Dégénération" (Tomer G sexy club mix) 8:33
3. "Dégénération" (MHC future generation remix club) 6:29
4. "Dégénération" (Manhattan clique mix) 3:20
5. "Dégénération" (2009 live version) 6:58

Release history[edit]

Date[54] Label Region Format Catalog
Early July 2008 Polydor Belgium, Switzerland Digital
19 July 2008 France
18 August 2008 Belgium, France, Switzerland CD maxi 5310110
12" 5310111
CD single 5310112

Official versions[edit]

Version[55] Length Album Remixed by Year Comment
Album / Single version 5:27 Point de Suture 2008 See the previous sections
Radio edit 4:05 2008 There are less verses than on the album version.
Radio edit - Promo 3:55 2008
Instrumental version 5:27 2008 All lyrics are deleted.
Comatik club remix / Degenerave mix 7:04 Martin Solveig 2008 This version, only available on the promotional formats and digitally via SFR, has electronic sounds. The radio edit version lasts about three minutes.
Manhattan Clique mix 3:20 Manhattan Clique 2008
MHC future generation remix club 6:29 Manhattan Clique 2008
Tomer G sexy club mix 8:33 Tomer G 2008
Music video 4:46 2008
Live version
(recorded in 2009)
6:58 N°5 on Tour 2009 This version is preceded by an introduction of about one minute and a half. The main part of the song is nearly identical to the album version.

Credits and personnel[edit]

These are the credits and the personnel as they appear on the back of the single:[54][56]

Charts and sales[edit]

Chart successions and processions[edit]

Preceded by
"American Boy" by Estelle and Kanye West
French SNEP Digital number-one single
21 June 2008 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"American Boy" by Estelle and Kanye West
Preceded by
"Rayon de soleil" by William Baldé
French SNEP Physical number-one single
23 August 2008 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Rayon de soleil" by William Baldé
Preceded by
"This Is the Life" by Amy Macdonald
Belgian (Wallonia) number-one single
30 August 2008 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"This Is the Life"
by Amy Macdonald

References[edit]

  • Chuberre, Erwan (2008). Mylène Farmer, phénoménale (in French). City. ISBN 978-2-35288-176-6. 
  • Chuberre, Erwan (18 June 2009). Mylène Farmer : Des mots sur nos désirs (in French). Alphée. ISBN 2-7538-0477-X. 
  • Chuberre, Erwan (2011). L'Intégrale Mylène Farmer (in French). City. ISBN 978-2-35288-499-6. 
  • Khairallah, Sophie (2007). Mylène Farmer, le culte - L'envers du décor (in French). Why Not. ISBN 2-916611-25-8. 
  • Royer, Hugues (2008). Mylène, biographie (in French). Spain: Flammarion. ISBN 978-2-35287-139-2. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Une "Dégénération" signée Mylène Farmer" (in French). Musique Radio. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Mylène Farmer revient le 19 juin avec "Dégénération"". Ouest France (in French). 21 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Mylène Farmer : découvrez les 30 premières secondes de "Dégénération", son nouveau titre" (in French). News de Stars. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  4. ^ "Mylène Farmer : visuel de "Dégénération"" (in French). Musique Radio. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  5. ^ Khairallah, 2007, pp. 149-50.
  6. ^ Cadet, Thierry (7 June 2008). "Farmer: Extrait de "Dégénération" et pochette" (in French). Chartsinfrance. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Mylène Farmer remixée". Le Parisien (in French). 17 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  8. ^ Khairallah, 2007, p. 50.
  9. ^ a b "Mylène Farmer : "Dégénération" dérange !" (in French). Musique.evous. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  10. ^ Royer, 2008, p. 195.
  11. ^ a b Mothra, Arno (11 July 2008). "Mylène Farmer - "Dégénération"" (in French). Discordance. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  12. ^ Chuberre, 2009, p. 223.
  13. ^ Royer, 2008, p. 258.
  14. ^ * "News broadcasting" (in French). TF1 LCI. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
    * "Vidéo : Mylène Farmer au 20h" (in French). People Plurielles. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2008. 
  15. ^ Chuberre, 2009, p. 219.
  16. ^ Chuberre, 2008, pp. 292-93.
  17. ^ a b Augier, Michel (4 September 2008). "Mylène à la peine". Le Point (in French). Retrieved 6 September 2008. 
  18. ^ Chuberre, 2009, p. 220.
  19. ^ "Mylène Farmer "Dégénération" - Histoire du single et News" (in French). Mylene.net. Retrieved 15 March 2010. 
  20. ^ Chuberre, 2011, pp. 104,105.
  21. ^ "Mylène Farmer : Universal dévoile enfin l'envers du décor!" (in French). Musique.evous. Retrieved 2 July 2008. 
  22. ^ a b Béglé, Jérôme (3 July 2008). "Mylène Farmer comme vous ne l'avez jamais vue". Paris-Match (in French). Retrieved 3 July 2008. 
  23. ^ C.-C., L. (3 August 2008). "Les costumes de Mylène Farmer viennent de Perpignan!". L'Indépendant (in French). Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  24. ^ Royer, 2008, pp. 91-92.
  25. ^ Chuberre, 2009, p. 221.
  26. ^ "Mylène Farmer, le mystère continue" (in French). Musique SFR. Retrieved 1 July 2008. [dead link]
  27. ^ НОВЫЙ АЛЬБОМ МИЛЕН ФАРМЕР (in Russian). Universal Music. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008. 
  28. ^ "Mylène Farmer: Premiers avis sur le clip "Dégénération"" (in French). Musique.evous. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  29. ^ "Découvrez "Dégénération", le dernier clip de Mylène Farmer!" (in French). Actustar. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2008. 
  30. ^ a b Chuberre, 2009, p. 222.
  31. ^ Royer, 2008, p. 292.
  32. ^ Christophe, Sam (27 August 2008). "Du génie ou du toc? On a passé au scanner la nouvel album de Mylène Farmer...". La Meuse (in French) (Mylene.net). Retrieved 29 August 2008. 
  33. ^ Royer, 2008, p. 89.
  34. ^ Royer, 2008, pp. 101-02.
  35. ^ Royer, 2008, pp. 334-35.
  36. ^ "Mylène Farmer: héroïne de clip" (in French). Yahoo!. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008. 
  37. ^ "Coup de cœur - Mylène Farmer - "Dégénération"". Tribu Move (in French) (Mylene.net). August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008. 
  38. ^ Gaudin-Bridet, Jean-Rémy (18 August 2008). "Mylène Farmer, un retour sans éclat". Télé Star (in French) (Mylene.net). Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  39. ^ Siclier, Sylvain (28 August 2008). "Mylène Farmer signe son retour avec un album sans surprise". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 28 August 2008. 
  40. ^ Dicale, Bertrand (21 August 2008). "Mylène Farmer, un album massif et discret". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 21 August 2008. 
  41. ^ "Dégénération". Starac Mag (in French) (Devant-soi). September 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  42. ^ "Mylène Farmer". Coopération (in French) (Mylene.net). 2 September 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2008. 
  43. ^ "Mylène Farmer écrase tout le monde sur son passage!" (in French). Pure People. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008. [dead link]
  44. ^ Masson, Antoine (25 June 2008). "Disques: Julien Doré juste derrière Coldplay" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  45. ^ Masson, Antoine (2 July 2008). "Mylène Farmer dégringole déjà" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 3 July 2008. 
  46. ^ Masson, Antoine (18 June 2008). "Disques: Carla débute fort, Mylène s'effondre" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  47. ^ a b Masson, Antoine (26 August 2008). "Disques: Mylène cartonne, Quentin démarre bien" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 26 August 2008. 
  48. ^ Masson, Antoine (3 September 2008). "Téléchargements: Mylène et Madcon en tête" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 2 September 2008. 
  49. ^ Masson, Antoine (2 September 2008). "Disques: carton plein pour Mylène Farmer" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 2 September 2008. 
  50. ^ Masson, Antoine (9 September 2008). "Disques: Mylène détrônée par Tryo !" (in French). Ozap. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  51. ^ a b "French Airplay, TV and Club Charts" (in French). Yacast. Retrieved 25 June 2008. 
  52. ^ a b ""Dégénération", Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 4 July 2008. 
  53. ^ a b ""Dégénération", Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Hitparade. Retrieved 4 July 2008. 
  54. ^ a b c "Mylène Farmer - "Dégénération" - Supports" (in French). Mylene.net. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  55. ^ "Mylène Farmer, "Dégénération" - Versions" (in French). Mylene.net. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  56. ^ "Mylène Farmer - "Dégénération" - Crédits" (in French). Mylene.net. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  57. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, week of September 06, 2008". Billboard. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  58. ^ "French Digital Chart, 2008-06-14" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  59. ^ ""Dégénération", French Singles Chart" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved 28 August 2008. 
  60. ^ "Top Hit Weekly Audience Choice: наивысшая позиция" (in Russian). TopHit. 2008. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  61. ^ "2008 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  62. ^ "2008 French Singles Chart" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  63. ^ a b "2008 French Singles Chart + sales" (in French). Infodisc. Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  64. ^ Royer, 2008, p. 371.

External links[edit]