|Single by Mylène Farmer|
|from the album Anamorphosée|
|Released||12 December 1995|
|Format||CD single, CD maxi, 12" maxi,
7" single, 7" maxi (2003 version)
|Recorded||1995, Los Angeles|
|Songwriter(s)||Lyrics: Mylène Farmer
Music: Laurent Boutonnat
|Mylène Farmer singles chronology|
2003 version by One-T
|Anamorphosée track listing|
"L'Instant X" (English: "The X Moment") is a 1995 song recorded by the French artist Mylène Farmer. It was the second single from her fourth album Anamorphosée and was released on 12 December 1995. Directed by Marcus Nispel in New York, the music video depicts with humour the apocalypse and shows Farmer bathing in the foam. The song became the biggest hit from the album, reaching number six in France, with a long chart trajectory. In January 2004, the song was the subject of a remix produced by One-T and was released as promotional single.
Backgroung and writing
After the mixed success of her single "XXL" and the poor chart performances of the Anamorphosée album, Farmer decided to release a second single, "L'Instant X", for the Christmas period. The song's title comes from an expression of the first verse. The chorus covers in its own way Tino Rossi's Christmas song "Petit Papa Noël", as in the lyrics Farmer scans, in jerky syllabes, "Papa Noël, quand tu descendras du ciel...", which are also the lyrics of the chorus in Rossi's song.
For the first time throughout Farmer's career, all the remixes available on the various formats were not produced exclusively by Boutonnat's team: only two of them were made by Laurent Boutonnat and Bertrand Châtenet, while the other two, more techno and dance, were produced by Ramon Zenker. The 'Have an Instant X remix' was considered by French author Julien Rigal "probably one of the best remixes" outside Boutonnat's ones. The second track on the CD single is a jazz-oriented remixed version of "Alice", another song from the Anamorphosée album. Unlike many of Farmer's singles, there is no instrumental version on the various formats. The image uses on the cover was perhaps influenced by Ross Hunter's 1966 film Madame X.
On 21 January 2004, the song was remixed by One-T for the compilation RemixeS. Devoted to discothèques, this version was released as 7" maxi, becoming the third single from the RemixeS album, after "Sans contrefaçon" and "Je t'aime mélancolie". It was the more broadcast single from the album.
Lyrics and music
As noted by author Erwan Chuberre, "L'Instant X" is different from Farmer's other songs because the singer uses a deeper voice than usual, and lyrics deal about things of everyday life, not romantic literary references. Journalist Caroline Bee stated it is a "rock song that recalls in its construction and its cynicism "Je t'aime mélancolie"". Journalist Benoît Cachin said that the lyrics evoke with humour and irony the 2000 year in which many people get lost in conjecture, but that Farmer sees as bringing much joy. He noted that in the lyrics, Farmer refers to group U2's rock song "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in the phrase "Bloody lundi", addressed to the Father Christmas comparing him to the Messiah in the refrain, uses a quote from André Malraux ("le XXIè siècle sera spirituel ou ne sera pas"), cites the women's magazine Elle, the River Styx in the Greek mythology, and the antidepressant Prozac (but in verlan). According to Rigal, the lyrics can have multiple meanings: they seem to address "the lack of latent spirituality through a concentration of bad elements", but they may also be "a pamphlet on women menstruation". According to psychologist Hugues Royer, the song "talks about the state in which a person bogs down in the anticipation of the magic formula that will allow him to leave his torpor." He added that the song also contains some humor with such unexpected images as "J'ai un teint de poubelle" or "Mon chat qui s'défenestre".
As "XXL", the video was directed by Marcus Nispel who also wrote the screenplay. This Requiem Publishing production was film in Los Angeles and New York for three days — one for Farmer, the two others for the extras — and cost about 80,000 euros. In addition to the version broadcast on television, there was another video of "Instant X" that was the first editing which contains only Farmer's unpublished shots. The producer Anouk Nora explained: "We shot [the video] in February with -10 degrees [celsius] in New York. Mylène was completely frozen and took a bath in foam as if she was under the Tropics". Some video's photos were touched up by American rock group The Third Eye Foundation that used them on the cover of its album I Poo Poo on Your Juju. The small towel worn by Farmer was made by French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. Farmer explained that she liked the idea of the foam pouring as it reminded her parties in Ibiza.
In this video, Farmer, heavy make-up and lying on a cloud, plays in the foam. Under the cloud, the city of New York, the Statue of Liberty, the Twin Towers and all the buildings are in turn covered with foam, as sign of the apocalypse. The singer, who is outside of the disaster, seems to delight of this situation. However, the video ends by showing survivors who go off into the sunset.
This video, which symbolizes the end of the world, premiered on television on 17 December 1995 in the French show Déjà le retour; but in a different version in which only the singer appears. It was not much appreciated by the Farmer's fans and Rigal considered the video "disappointing". The foam in which Farmer rolls has been viewed as a symbol of the orgasm, as it does in the French literature, and more frequently as a major clean up before a new start. About the video, Farmer said: "I wanted to retrace one day we can have, where everything goes wrong. It is a concentration of events as soon as we get up... and everything goes wrong again! And we expect that time and it often happens that in a day or, or in a month, at a time when all things come to concentrate a bit like a puzzle, and this is when all this time redounds upwards rather than downwards".
In late 1995, Farmer featured in two television shows to promote the song without singing; she was only interviewed on Studio Gabriel (14 December, France 2) in which she announced her next tour, and on Déjà le retour (17 December, France 2). She lip-synched "L'Instant X" on two other programs: Le Bêtisier du samedi soir, (13 January 1996, France 2), and Top aux Carpentier (9 March 1996, TF1). At this last occasion, Farmer shared a kiss on the mouth with her two female dancers during the musical bridge.
Regarding tours, "L'Instant X" was first performed on the 1996 Live à Bercy tour. The hall was fully in the dark when the song began, and only Farmer, who wore a flesh-colored pants, was then in the light. She performed a very suggestive choreography with her female dancers, and moved throughout all the stage during the song. The song was also performed during the 2009 Mylène Farmer en tournée tour, only in the stadium venues, during the Black and White act. Farmer wore a white tutu and pinstripe trousers, the stage was fully dark with two lights on her, and the screens started showing "X's" and a countdown till she started singing. Susie Davis, who previously worked with Patti Smith and Sinéad O'Connor, participated in the background vocals of this live version.
In France, "L'Instant X" debuted at number nine on 16 December 1995, and dropped the next three weeks. It reached again the top ten and peaked at number six on 20 January, and remained for eight weeks in the top ten and 20 weeks in the top 50. The single was the best-selling single, with the longest chart trajectory, from the Anamorphosée album. The song ranked 67th on the 1996 year-end chart. According to Royer, the song "allowed the singer to reconnect with the success and to set the groundwork for a comeback on stage".
"L'Instant X" remained for 21 weeks on the Belgian Ultratop 50 Singles Chart and reached a peak of number 12 on 17 February and 30 March. The single was Farmer's second longest charting single in Belgium, behind "Slipping Away (Crier la vie)". It was the 49th best-selling single of 1996 in the country.
The B-side of the CD single is a remixed version of another track of the album, "Alice" (this version appears as third track on the promotional CD maxi of "Comme j'ai mal" released in Germany, and under the name of 'new mix' as bonus on the Japan release of the album).
The song seems inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses. "Alice" is the personification of a spider to which Farmer speaks directly in the chorus. According to journalist Benoît Cachin, this arachnid is in the song "the friend of a depressive artist", and Farmer explained in an interview that it represents "the self-destruction that prevents the artist to create". The song includes neologisms and the meaning is often difficult to understand. In the verses, Farmer is whispering.
The song has never been performed on television, but it was sung during the 1996 series of concerts at Bercy. Farmer was then seated on a giant metal spider that came down from heaven and slowly landed on the stage.
Formats and track listings
These are the formats and track listings of single releases of "L'Instant X":
- CD single
|1.||"L'Instant X" (single version)||4:10|
|2.||"Alice" (arachnostring version)||5:20|
- CD maxi
|1.||"L'Instant X" (single version)||4:10|
|2.||"L'Instant X" (santa's hard re-x-mix)||6:00|
|3.||"L'Instant X" (Ramon Zenker club dub re-mix)||5:26|
|4.||"L'Instant X" (have an Instant X mix)||7:05|
|5.||"L'Instant X" (Ramon Zenker groove trop re-mix)||5:39|
- 12" maxi
|1.||"L'Instant X" (santa's hard re-x-mix)||6:00|
|2.||"L'Instant X" (have an Instant X mix)||7:05|
|3.||"L'Instant X" (Ramon Zenker groove trop re-mix)||5:26|
|4.||"L'Instant X" (Ramon Zenker club dub re-mix)||5:39|
- CD single - Promo
|1.||"L'Instant X" (single version)||4:25|
- VHS - Promo
|1.||"L'Instant X" (video)||4:12|
- 7" single / 7" maxi / 7" single - Promo
|1.||"L'Instant X" (the X key - by One-T)|
|Album version||4:45||Anamorphosée||—||1995||See the previous sections|
|Single version||4:10||—||Laurent Boutonnat||1995||This version is shorter than the album one, with a fade-out end.|
|Santa's hard re-x-mix||6:00||—||Laurent Boutonnat||1995||Laughs can be heard at the beginning of the song, the bell sounds were deleted, and only chorus and the first verse are retained in this version.|
|Ramon Zenker groove trop re-mix||5:26||—||Ramon Zenker||1995||This is an electronic version which contains all the lyrics.|
|Ramon Zenker club dub re-mix||5:39||—||Ramon Zenker||1995||This is a dance version which contains only "C'est l'instant X" and "Papa" as lyrics.|
|Have an Instant X mix||7:05||—||Laurent Boutonnat||1995||This is the more dance remix of the song which contains many laughs and bell sounds.|
|Music video||5:18||Music Videos II, Music Videos II & III||—||1995|
(recorded in 1996)
|Live à Bercy||—||1996||See 1996 Tour|
|Album version||4:45||Les Mots||Laurent Boutonnat||2001||The last guitar riff is deleted.|
|The X key mix||3:43||RemixeS||One-T||2003||This version adds different noises, including the sound of a revolver when Farmer is singing "Humeur killer".|
|Album version||5:20||Anamorphosée||—||1995||See the previous section|
|Arachnostring version / New mix||5:20||—||Laurent Boutonnat||1996||Some scratchings are added and Farmer's voice ends in fade in.|
(recorded in 1996)
|5:25||Live à Bercy||—||1996||This version is almost identical to the album/arachnostring one.|
Credits and personnel
- Mylène Farmer – lyrics
- Laurent Boutonnat – music
- Requiem Publishing – editions
- Polydor – recording company
- Herb Ritts – photo
- Com'N.B – design
|France, Belgium, Switzerland||November 1995||Promo CD single|
|12 December 1995||CD single, CD maxi, 12" maxi|
|21 January 2004||7" single|
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