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Mylene Farme | Remixes | review | alternative | Lollipop

Mylene Farmer

Remixes (Polydor, France)

by Michael McCarthy

Mylène Farmer's last studio album was 1999's Innamoramento. Since then, she's released the Mylenium Tour live album and a greatest hits entitled Les mots, which was also available as an expanded box set and spawned three hit singles. She also wrote a critically-acclaimed novel entitled Lisa-Loup et le conteur and the lyrics for the debut and sophomore albums by her (now equally famous) prodigy, Alizée. All wonderful things that pleased her highly-devoted fan base - her fans are arguably even more loyal than Madonna's - but there was still a collective sigh when it was announced that she'd be releasing an album of remixes in time for Christmas last year. Everyone was thirsty for an album of brand new songs.

Initially, fans assumed that Remixes would be a compilation of previously released remixes that had appeared on her singles. She'd released a compilation of remixes of songs from her first three albums in 1992, entitled Dance Remixes, and it was suspected that this was to be a long overdue follow-up. Until word came that Remixes was going to be a collection of all new remixes. A bit more intriguing, although slightly confusing since so many superb remixes of her singles had already been released as B-sides. It soon made sense though. Whereas her previously-issued remixes were mostly done by European DJs who weren't known worldwide, these all-new remixes were done by the cream of the crop: J.C.A. ("Sans contrefaçon"), One-T ("L'Instant X"), Full Intention ("Âme-Stram-Gram"), Devil Head ("C'est une belle journée"), JXL ("XXL"), Felix da Housecat ("Je t'aime mélancolie"), Paul Oakenfold ("Pourvu qu'elles soient douces"), Romain Tranchart & Rawman ("California"), Y-Front ("Libertine"), Junior Jack ("Optimistique-Moi"), and Thunderpuss ("Désenchantée"). Quite a coup to get some of these cats to remix French pop.

Remixes is quite fascinating, not just because of who did the remixes, but because of how fluid it is. You could play this for someone and tell them the same DJ remixed every track and they would probably believe you. (As if to prove that, the underground DJ known as Saint Ken made a widely circulated, however unauthorized, medley of the tracks.) The style of the remixes would seem to exist somewhere between what one would expect from Felix da Housecat and Thunderpuss. Fairly heavy dance beats, but quite a bit of electroclash. Interestingly, these really aren't dance mixes so much as alternate takes on the originals. There are a lot of breaks in the tracks that would seem to render them undanceable, and they all center around the verse-chorus-verse structure of the original songs. (These aren't your 10-minute Kylie remixes where the DJ merely samples one or two lines from the vocals.) One can't help but suspect that Mylène's camp required these DJs to remain faithful to the originals, which seem to incorporate many sounds from the original tracks, not merely the vocals. It would also seem that someone supervised this to ensure that it'd function as an album, rather than feeling like a mere compilation. It's refreshing though; far too many remix compilations lack flow.

While it would've been nice to hear some remixes of songs that have never been officially remixed, many of these remixes rival the originals, and this disc makes a very nice introduction to her songs for someone who's never heard her work. And perhaps that's the idea, to earn her a greater global audience by using names like Thunderpuss and JXL. If so, it couldn't have possibly been done better. That's probably not the case, however, since it hasn't been released outside of her usual territories. Hunt it down and dazzle your friends.  

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