Anamorphosée is the fourth studio album by Mylène Farmer, released on October 17, 1995. Led by the number-one single “XXL”, the album was something of a departure from her previous work. Although it received mixed reviews from critics, the album was very successful, peaking at no.1 and staying on the French album chart for almost two years.
The movie Giorgino, produced by Laurent Boutonnat and in which Mylène Farmer starred, was both a critical and financial failure. Released on October 5, 1994, it was seen by barely 25,000 spectators in the first week and was the first setback in Farmer’s career. As a result, the musical duo separated on bad terms, Boutonnat making Farmer responsible for this failure. The singer decided to go to Los Angeles, California, where she fell into anonymity and changed hairstyle (she became blond with long hair). There she composed a new album, drawing inspiration from a Sogyal Rinpoche’s book, Le Livre tibétain de la Vie et de la Mort. The singer’s perception of life changed through her travels, and she confided in an interview that she was no longer afraid of death; so, she was more optimistic. Finally, she called Boutonnat who joined her in Los Angeles for the recording.
Jeff Dahlgren, who performed the role of Giorgio Volli in Giorgino, had a great influence in the early composition of this album and was part of the musical team involved in preparing it. Dissatisfied with the album’s early work with Dahlgreen, Farmer reconnected with Boutonnat, and it quickly became his project. The album was recorded in the A&M studios and Record One in Los Angeles, and Boutonnat, who oversaw the production, chose the best American musicians at the time. Bertrand Châtenet, who had previously worked with Vanessa Paradis, was selected to mix the album.
The album’s title, “Anamorphosée” is a neologism in French-language (the noun exists, but not the past participle). The Hachette dictionary defines “anamorphose” as an “image of an object, distorted by certain optical devices (cylindrical mirrors, for example).” That word thus refers to the new music style of the singer.
This album represents a departure from her previous work, in that the music is much more rock oriented. Five of the twelve tracks are ballads with melancholy text punctuated by American R&B-inspired arrangements. The lyrics are easier to understand and less cryptic than her previous albums. Although some themes dear to the artist are addressed in Anamorphosée, sadness and pain are much less present in this album which is more about the spirituality (Buddhism).
The album was sometimes well received in media that have mainly noted the change in musical style. For example: “Farmer has moved away from the images that she stuck to the skin just to keep a sensuality remained intact” (Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace). The singer “has abandoned her eternal pessimism: the Mylène of 2000 is arrived, turned towards humanity with a big H and spirituality, via Lao Tzeu” (Double Face). “It is a shift announced by the new disc” (La Dernière Heure). With this album, “Farmer excels but against the current”. “The tonic music have a hope in its infancy, words less drawn by the taste of nothing” (Télérama)] “Anamorphosée has filled all hopes” (Vamp Canada). “The production is, as always, impeccable” (Platine).
However, some musical critics were very virulent to this album. For example, Le Monde stated that “the diversion of melodies from the band Nirvana makes hesitate between indignation and open laughs”, while L’Evènement du jeudi concluded its article saying it should better “to avoid” this album.
A Victoire de la Musique was awarded to this album, which was regarded as the French album the most exported in 1996. (by wikipedia)
This is not my kind of music … but … it´s a real magic album !
Laurent Boutonnat (keyboards)
Jeff Dahlgren (guitar)
Mylene Farmer (vocals)
Denny Fongheiser (drums)
Abraham Laboriel (bass)
Pol Ramirez Del Piu (flute)
Chorale du Lycée Français de Los Angeles (background vocals on 11.)
Kate Markowitz (background vocals on 04. + 10.)
01. California (Boutonnat/Farmer) 4.59
02. Vertige (Boutonnat/Farmer) 5:29
03. Mylène s’en fout (Boutonnat/Farmer) 4:31
04. L’Instant X (Boutonnat/Farmer) 4:46
05. Eaunanisme (Boutonnat/Farmer) 5:08
06. Et Tournoie… (Boutonnat/Farmer) 4:29
07, XXL (Boutonnat/Farmer) 4:26
08. Rêver (Boutonnat/Farmer) 5:22
09. Alice (Boutonnat/Farmer) 5:21
10. Comme j’ai mal (Boutonnat/Farmer) 3:53
11. Tomber 7 fois…” (Farmer) 4.50
12. Laisse le vent emporter tout (Boutonnat/Farmer) 4:00