Mylène Farmer – often called the Madonna of France – is my favorite female solo artist on the planet and has been ever since I bought her album Anamorphosée back in 1998 and immediately fell in love with her unique voice, both in terms of how her delicate singing pleases my ears and how her explicit lyrics never fail to provoke my thoughts. Of course, I’m far from being fluent in French, but I do my best and I always read her paroles and look up what I don’t know. And they’re always ripe with things that could be taken in more ways than one, which is one of the reasons she’s often been controversial. I’m not sure her new album, Désobéissance (translation: disobedience), has sparked any controversy, but she’s just as provocative as she’s always been.
One of the album’s most addictive songs is called “Histoires De Fesses,” which means “stories about asses,” or, as Google translates it: “buttock stories.” I don’t think there are many artists who’d release a song about the wonders of the human behind, but it’s hardly surprising coming from an artist who once released a single called “Fuck Them All.” (You’d probably have to go all the way back to the late Serge Gainsbourg to find someone with the nerve to do that.)
Other highlights here include the luscious first single, “Rolling Stone,” and “N’Oublie Pas,” the latter being a duet with the American singer/songwriter LP on which Mylène sings in French and LP sings in English. (Mylène has previously released songs with that formula with Sting, Moby, and Seal.)
To be 100% honest, Mylène has released other albums that I prefer in her long career, but Désobéissance is still, hands down, the best pop album of 2018. There’s nothing that compares.