Saturday, 7 September 2013

Mylène Farmer: 13 French number one songs

This weekend sees Mylène Farmer begin her much anticipated Timeless  tour.

Since her career began in 1984, she's become unquestionably France's most significant contemporary female artist.

 She's repeatedly broken sales records and  one measure of her status is the fact that Farmer holds the record for the number of number one hits in France.

She already had enjoyed success with Maman a tort, Libertine , Tristana and Sans contrefaçon when the track Pourvu qu'elles soient douces from her 1988 second album Ainsi soit je... became her first number one.

The epic costume drama video raised possibility that the music video clip could be something more than just a vehicle to promote a song. At the time of its release it was said to be the most expensive music video that had been made.

She would reach number one again in 1991 with a track from her third  studio album. Désenchantée came from her album L'Autre... and firmly established Farmer as a star.

The song topped the French chart for more than two months, and is regarded as a key song in Farmer's discography. Again, the video played a significant part in its success, another extended epic, this time  illustrating Farmer's involvement in a fight for freedom in an unspecified ghetto or gulag.

There would be more hit singles following Désenchantée including Regrets, Je t'aime mélancolie and Que mon cœur lâche, and she reached number one again in 1993 with XXL, the lead track from her fourth album, Anamorphosée.

It would be a few years until she topped the charts again, but in the meantime she would have top three hits with songs like L'Âme-stram-gram, Innamoramento, Les Mots, Fuck them all and Peut-être toi, along with many others that made the top ten.

In 2006 the song Slipping Away (Crier la vie), a collaboration with Moby that apepared on the French edition of his Best of collection gave her a fourth number one. It would notbe the last time Farmer would work with Moby.

Two years would pass until the track Dégénération , the lead track from her 2008  Point de Suture album reached the top of the charts. It would be the first of eight single releases in a row that would get to number one.

Dégénération was followed by Appelle mon numéro, another track from her seventh studio album.

In 2009, the album continued to produce number one singles, with  the ballad Si j'avais au moins... reaching the top of the charts.

Her next single C'est dans l'air - a  more electronic dance number - did not, like the three predecessors, go straight to number one on its week of release, but it did get there the following week.

The fifth single from Point de Suture, Sextonic, also made it to number one despite selling fewer copies than the previous singles from the album. It did, however, mark a rare occasion where every single from an album reached number one.

Farmer followed up  Point de Suture with the collection Bleu Noir, the single Oui mais... non coming out ahead of the album. The single was released in 2010, and reached number one with total sales of around 140,000, almost ten times the sales of her preceding single.

The title track of the album was subsequently released as a single in 2011 following the release of her eighth studio album in December 2010. The song again saw her working with Moby.

A third single from the album was then released, Lonely Lisa making it a second album in a row to see every single reach number one.  It was to be her eighth number one in a row.

The single Du temps from her Best of 2001-2011 greatest hits collection broke her run of number one singles, but the release of the song À l'ombre ahead of the 2012 Monkey Me studio album gave her a 13th number one.

Farmer's career has seen changes to her style over the decades, but she's consistently remained one of France's most significant musical artists.

She will no doubt continue to change the shape of her music and influence others, and while what's ahead may not be certain, what's likely is that there will be more number one songs to come.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and retrospective on L'Ange Rouge. Mylène Farmer tends to be ignored or looked down upon by the more critical of french music blogs, but she's the reason why I'm deeply enamoured with the francophone music scene (on both sides of the Atlantic now that I'm exiled in the States) since I first heard her in the late 80's whilst holidaying in Brittany...