Beyond My Control

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"Beyond My Control"
Beyond My Control.JPG
Single by Mylène Farmer
from the album L'Autre...
B-side"Ya ya version"
Released13 April 1992
Recorded1991, France
GenreDarkwave, synthpop
Songwriter(s)Lyrics: Mylène Farmer
Music: Laurent Boutonnat
Producer(s)Laurent Boutonnat
Mylène Farmer singles chronology
"Je t'aime mélancolie"
"Beyond My Control"
"Que mon cœur lâche"
Alternative cover
12" maxi
12" maxi

"Beyond My Control" is a 1991 song recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer. It was the fourth single from her third studio album L'Autre... and was released in May 1992. The song probably remains well known for its music video that caused controversy and was censored at the time because of its sexual and violent content. It achieved minor success in terms of sales, even though it reached the top ten in France and Belgium.

Background, writing and release[edit]

The song draws its inspiration in French epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses.

The fickle and ambiguous song "Pas de doute", already scheduled as the third single from the album L'Autre...,[1] would have been released as the fourth single, but was finally replaced by "Beyond My Control", which was remixed to be more commercial.

The song was inspired by two characters in the 1782 French epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos: the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont.[2] In the song, the voice heard on the chorus of the song which repeats "It's beyond my control" is in fact a sample of John Malkovich's voice from the film "Dangerous Liaisons" by Stephen Frears.[3]

For the first time throughout Farmer's career, a CD single was released among the various formats. At the time of the song's release, the radio NRJ prepared a 7" maxi with a collector picture disc in a limited edition (50 units) and containing a new remix.[4]

The song deals with self-control, love, death and the betrayal of the beloved man.[4] Farmer tells her own story from the Valmont's sentence ("it's beyond my control"): that of a woman who kills her unfaithful lover after a night of love.[2][5]

Music video[edit]

Mylène Farmer biting Frédéric Lagache, her lover in the very controversial video for "Beyond My Control".

The video was directed by Laurent Boutonnat who also wrote the screenplay based on the book "Les Liaisons dangereuses", by Choderlos de Laclos.[6] It was his last video for Farmer before that of "Les Mots", nine years after. The video was shot for two days at Studio Sets in Stains (where the video of "Plus grandir" was already shot in 1985) and cost about only 45,000 euros (the budget was limited because the film Giorgino was in preparation). This Requiem Publishing and Heathcliff SA production features Farmer, Frédéric Lagache, who was the puppeteer in the video of "Sans contrefaçon" and who there plays her flighty lover, and Christophe Danchaud, a dancer of Farmer's tours, who replaces this one for the bare scenes.[7] Photographer Marianne Rosensthiel who witnessed the shooting of the video, said that the white dress worn by Farmer was custom made by a seamstress.[8]

In the video, Farmer, tied on an ignited pyre, tries to struggle. Then she kisses for a long time her lover in torrid scenes, and then, wearing a long and wide dress, she walks on embers, with hands full of blood, while singing. These three scenes continue to intersecting until the end of the video. Then Farmer enters a home and surprises her lover making love with a fair-haired woman. The scenes are very erotic. Farmer bites her lover in the shoulder and some blood trickles along his back; they kiss and some blood flows from their mouths. Two wolves voraciously tear apart the body of a dead man.[9]

The video, with many explicit scenes of sex and violence, was censored from its release, making a great to-do in the mass media which published many controversial images.[10] Polydor proposed to French television host Michel Drucker to broadcast in first the video on his show Champs-Élysées on France 2, but he categorically refused, M6 decided to bill it in full version only after midnight although the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel did not prohibit it,[11] Canal + agreed to broadcast it in the show Top 50, where the programmer confessed she did not find the video so shocking; and for the channel MCM, it asked advice of its television viewers who had voted for or against.[12] Many journalists from various newspapers expressed concerns about the video and French magazine Star Music even qualified it as a "crap".[13] This video was often seen by the general public as a pretext for showing salacious images. However, biographer Bernard Violet believes that the video marked the end of an era in Farmer's career, the era of very sophisticated scenarios, to put more highlight the song. Thus, the video has a narrative framework reduced to its bigger simplicity with short and stripped plans.[14] According to journalist Caroline Beet, the bloody kissing between Farmer and her lover clearly refers to a cannibalistic belief that led primitive people to eat their enemies to feed on their strength.[15] About this video, Farmer explained that she liked the blood and nudity and that her relationships with men were at the time very difficult.[16]

Live performances[edit]

"Beyond My Control" was never performed on television. It was only sung during the 2000 Mylenium Tour and thus a recording of the performance is available on the VHS or DVD Mylenium Tour live album; on this occasion, however, Malkovich's voice was replaced and the choreography initially scheduled was abandoned. Farmer wore then orange costume composed of a privateer trousers, a thick jacket and orange shoes, with high heels, and her dancers had different coloured costumes. At the beginning of the song, Farmer asked the audience to clap their hands.[17][18]

Chart performances[edit]

In France, the single started at number ten on 9 May 1992 on the singles chart, reached twice a peak at number eight on 16 May and 6 June, but dropped rather quickly and fell off the top 50 after eleven weeks.[19] The single started at number 21 on the Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart and reached number ten four weeks later; it remained for twelve weeks in the top 30. Thus the single chart trajectories and sales were rather disappointing in comparison with the other three singles off L'Autre....

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of single releases of "Beyond My Control":[20]

  • 7" single – France, Germany
1."Beyond My Control" (single version)4:45
2."Beyond My Control" (ya ya version)4:40
  • CD single, cassette, CD single – Promo – France
1."Beyond My Control" (single version)4:55
2."Beyond My Control" (ya ya version)5:20
  • CD maxi – France, Germany
1."Beyond My Control" (single mix)5:24
2."Beyond My Control" (godforsaken mix)8:03
3."Beyond My Control" (under control remix)7:04
4."Beyond My Control" (raven mix)6:02
  • 12" maxi – France, Europe
1."Beyond My Control" (godforsaken mix)8:03
2."Beyond My Control" (under control remix)7:09
3."Beyond My Control" (the raven mix)6:02
  • Digital download
1."Beyond My Control" (album version)5:22
2."Beyond My Control" (2000 live version)5:18
3."Beyond My Control" (godforsaken mix)8:03
  • CD single – Promo – Without case – Canada
1."Beyond My Control" (album version)5:22
2."Beyond My Control" (single mix)5:24
3."Beyond My Control" (godforsaken mix)8:03
4."Beyond My Control" (under control remix)7:09
5."Beyond My Control" (the raven mix)6:02
  • 12" maxi – Promo – Picture disc
1."Beyond My Control" (single mix)5:24
2."Beyond My Control" (the raven mix)6:02

Release history[edit]

Date[20] Label Region Format Catalog
March 1992 PCD Canada CD single – Promo 162
Polydor France, Belgium 4230
12" maxi – Promo
13 April 1992 7" single 865 820-7
CD single 865 820-2
7" maxi 865 821-1
CD maxi 865 821-2
Cassette 865 820-4
May 1992 Germany 7" single 865 820-7
CD maxi 865 821-2

Official versions[edit]

Version[21] Length Album Remixed by Year Comment[2]
Album version 5:22 L'Autre... 1991 See the previous sections
Single version 4:45 Laurent Boutonnat 1992 This version is shorter as the last refrain is delated. A guitar has been added to give dance sonorities. Unlike the album version, the song ends with a musical passage added.
Single version 2 4:56 Laurent Boutonnat 1991 This version is shorter because the last refrain is delated. It ends with John Malkovich's voice.
Single mix 5:24 Les Mots Laurent Boutonnat 1992 Guitar riffs were added.
Ya ya version 4:40 Laurent Boutonnat 1992 This is an instrumental version punctuated by the onomatopoeia "Ya ya" sung by Farmer, and the phrase "It's beyond my control" repeated by Malkovitch.
Ya ya single version 5:20 Laurent Boutonnat 1992 It is the same version as the 'Ya Ya Version', but longer. The last "It's beyond my control", by Malkovich, is totally distorted.
Music video 5:00 L'Autre, Music Videos I 1992
Godforsaken mix 8:03 Dance Remixes Laurent Boutonnat 1992 In this version, the introduction (about 2:00) is composed of guitar riffs, Malkovitch's voice, the word "Lâche" repeated by Farmer and a cry of a man.
Under control remix 7:09 Laurent Boutonnat 1992 The introduction, almost entirely instrumental, lasts four minutes. Then, the refrain is sung five times.
The raven mix 6:02 Laurent Boutonnat 1992 It is an instrumental version, but with the voice of Malkovitch. A completely distorted cry can be heard at about the end of the song.
Live version
(recorded in 2000)
5:18 (audio)
5:21 (video)
Mylenium Tour 2000 This version is similar to that of the album, but Malkovich's voice is replaced. See Mylenium Tour

Credits and personnel[edit]

These are the credits and the personnel as they appear on the back of the single:[20][22]

  • Mylène Farmer – lyrics
  • Laurent Boutonnat – music
  • Requiem Publishing – editions
  • Polydor – recording company
  • Marianne Rosensthiel – photo
  • Henry Neu / Com'N.B – design

Charts and sales[edit]


  • Bee, Caroline; Bioy, Antoine; Thiry, Benjamin (January 2006). Mylène Farmer, la part d'ombre (in French). L'Archipel. ISBN 2-84187-790-6.
  • Cachin, Benoît (2006). Le Dictionnaire des Chansons de Mylène Farmer (in French). Tournon. ISBN 2-35144-000-5.
  • Cachin, Benoît (2006). Mylène Farmer Influences (in French). Mascara. ISBN 978-2-35144-026-1.
  • Chuberre, Erwan (2007). L'Intégrale Mylène Farmer (in French). City. ISBN 978-2-35288-108-7.
  • 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.
  • Rajon, Florence (2005). Mylène Farmer de A à Z (in French). MusicBook. ISBN 2-84343-319-3.
  • Rigal, Julien (September 2010). Mylène Farmer, la culture de l'inaccessibilité (in French). Premium. ISBN 978-2-35636-096-0.
  • Royer, Hugues (2008). Mylène, biographie (in French). Spain: Flammarion. ISBN 978-2-35287-139-2.
  • Violet, Bernard (2004). Mylène Farmer, biographie (in French). J'ai lu. ISBN 2-290-34916-X.


  1. ^ Chuberre, 2007, pp. 62–63.
  2. ^ a b c Cachin, 2006, pp. 52–57.
  3. ^ "Beyond My Control" (in French). Sans-logique. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Mylène Farmer – "Beyond My Control" – Histoire du single" (in French). Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  5. ^ Cachin, 2006 (2), pp. 22–23.
  6. ^ Beaucourt, Daniel (20 May 1992). "Les Liaisons dangereuses de Mylène Farmer". Télé Poche (in French). Devant-soi. Retrieved 26 March 2008.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Chuberre, 2008, pp. 150–52.
  8. ^ Vincent, Jean-François (1992). "Mylène Farmer : Encore plus belle dans son nouveau clip". OK (in French). Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  9. ^ Chuberre, 2009, pp. 110–15.
  10. ^ Tredez, Florence (13 June 1992). "Le clip scandale de Mylène Farmer". France Soir (in French). Devant-soi. Retrieved 27 March 2008.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Royer, 2008, p. 107.
  12. ^ Bee, Caroline; Brunet, Océane; Thiry, Benjamin; Bénard, Katia (2001). "Sexe, mensonges et video". Instant-Mag (in French). Pantin: Tear Prod. 6: 10.
  13. ^ "Vidéoclip – Dracula récupéré par Mylène Farmer". Star Music (in French). 1992. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  14. ^ Violet, 2004, pp. 148–50.
  15. ^ Bee, 2006, pp. 284–86.
  16. ^ Monton, Muriel (23 May – 3 June 1992). "Les liaisons dangereuses de Mylène Farmer". Ciné Télé Revue (in French). Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  17. ^ Rigal, 2010, p. 115.
  18. ^ Rigal, Julien. "Mylenium Tour (2000) – Description du live" (in French). Sans-logique. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  19. ^ a b ""Beyond My Control", French Singles Chart" (in French). Lescharts. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
  20. ^ a b c "Mylène Farmer – "Beyond My Control" – Supports" (in French). Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  21. ^ "Mylène Farmer – "Beyond My Control" – Versions" (in French). Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  22. ^ "Mylène Farmer – "Beyond My Control" – Crédits" (in French). Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  23. ^ Royer, 2008, pp. 354–55.
  24. ^ Cachin, 2006, p. 54.

External links[edit]