Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Mylène Farmer - Bleu Noir (2010)

Who knew Canadian-born French-singing pop legend Mylène Farmer would swoop in at the final hour with a contender for album of the year? Bleu Noir ditches longterm collab whore Laurent Boutonnat for the production finesse of 'next big thing' RedOne, newcomers Archive and dance nobody Moby. The latter has previously given her a French number one (2006's Slipping Away) and a meddling album track (Point du suture's Looking For My Name), but all personel rise to the occaision. For those less taken by Madonna's 4 Minutes To The Menopause Timbaland skidmarks, freshly botoxed Mylène offers the perfect fix of hormonal cougar pop injections.

Lead single Oui Mais ... Non dispences an undiminished pop aesthetic even if it's a craving for vintage Ace of Base and Lucky Twice (in otherwards, it's art). Her best, melodic, pop song in years. Sedate shimmers are found on the more discreet title cut, Bleu Noir, another fine addition to her shmaltzed-up cannon. Its airy-specifity, lean guitar flexes that sound rusty and bruised, and atmospheric tinkles all fold into each other beautifully.

With a voice like softcore porn, the more murky Moi Je Voux is a 'watery' flood of flowing piano keys, heavy breathing and misty synths, but is anything but dilluted. Very pretty, N'Aie Plus D'Amertume is elegantly quiet, charming and texturally melancholic. Its contemplative sadness is magnificent, like a more mature/off-the-pedestal counterpart to the more youthful torture of Enrique's Heartbeat.

Echoing Better Than Her by Matisse, Lonely Lisa is beautifully synthesized, spiked with RedOne euro-bleeps and a chorus like a tsunami of gasping whispers. Her cringey French raps are what I live for - uh hu? Almost certain to be a big, big hit. If all my favourite divas work with RedOne I'll expect a Dana International collab by next year - one can dream.

Above & Below: Mylène fell asleep listening to Madonna's Hard Candy...

M'Effondre is more moody adrenalie cumulating into something semi spectacular. Mylène is going through more tissues than a 14 year old boy, with another tear-jerker: Diabolique Mon Ange is another grower-not-a-shower, with electronica sounds eventually shredding against each other to a see-saw sounding chorus. You had better duck for the final, toppling bridge/chorus.

... but then woke up from a fuzzy dream.
Downbeat closer Inseperables comes in English and French versions. I actually prefer the English take, the simplicity of the lyrics ('I feel like hell') are kind of endearing in a new way as I usually haven't a clue what she is singing about. Leila is more sombre still; a carpet of layered witchy sighs, tepid electro bleeps that sound like a 90s dial-up connection.

As to be hoped, Mylène's Bleu Noir is full of medium-tempo romance gushes moaned-and-groaned from all cylinders. The bold stroke of Lonely Lisa was sorely lacking on her last album with the exception of C'est dans l'air, and her sonic magnificence remains intact with an emotional range that far outstrips her physical range. Compositions that sometimes sound like songs, the Canadian-born French-sighing koo-koo spiritual sexpot has delivered one of those 'back-to-form' forumlas some of her peers would kill adopted African babies for.




Anonymous said...

love the review and album x

JP.M said...

A very good album like all of our Mylène.
It is this great artist who has started the careers of Alizee in 2000!
Thank you for the interest you wear our French artists.

Diva Incarnate said...

Thanks guys.

I was surprised I liked this so much, she had seemed a bit off with her last album if I am honest.

Any other French-pop suggestions I might like?