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Allan (song)

Allan (song)

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"Allan" is a 1988
1988 in music
This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1988.-January-March:* January 1 – André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra plays its first concert....

 song recorded by French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

 Mylène Farmer
Mylène Farmer
Mylène Farmer, , born Marie-Hélène Jeanne Gautier, , , is a French singer, songwriter, occasional actress and author....

. It was the first single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

 from her first live album En Concert and was released in December 1989. The lyrics clearly refer to a fairly tale by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 as they mentioned one of his characters. Although the single met success in discothèques, its sales remained relatively low in comparison with Farmer's other singles.

Background and lyrics


The song "Allan" was chosen as the first single from the 1989 concert before the live album En Concert was released. Unlike Farmer's previous singles, the B-side of the vinyl was not another live song, but the first version of "Psychiatric" (the 'new beat remix'), which appeared two years later on the album "L'Autre...
L'Autre...
L'Autre... is the third studio album by Mylène Farmer, released on April 9, 1991. It contains the singer's biggest hit, "Désenchantée", which was number-one in France for nine weeks, and other three top ten hits...

".

"Allan" is a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

, an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, that Farmer is very appreciative and that she has evoked in many interviews. One verse of the song containing the word "Ligeia
Ligeia
"Ligeia" is an early short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1838. The story follows an unnamed narrator and his wife Ligeia, a beautiful and intelligent raven-haired woman. She falls ill, composes "The Conqueror Worm", and quotes lines attributed to Joseph Glanvill ...

" which refers to the name of Poe's fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 published in 1837 in the review The American Museum. Farmer also sings "Pauvres poupées / Qui vont qui viennent", which is an excerpt from "Ligeia".

In the refrain, the singer slips into the skin of Lady Rowena, one of the heroines of the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

, who was died but was reborn in the guise of another woman. In the lyrics, Farmer addresses this death woman as if she was her blood sister. Thus the singer "appropriates Poe's literary work giving another dimension, her own". The French magazine Top Secrets tried to give an interpretation of the lyrics, noting several references to Poe's life in the song.

Music video


The video, a 5:42 Requiem Publishing production, was directed by Laurent Boutonnat
Laurent Boutonnat
Laurent Pierre Marie Boutonnat is a French composer and film and music video director, best known as the songwriting partner of Mylène Farmer and the director of moody, provocative and literature-inspired music videos.- Career :...

, and François Hanss, who filmed several subsequent videos for Farmer including "Je te rends ton amour
Je te rends ton amour
"Je te rends ton amour" is a 1999 song recorded by the French artist Mylène Farmer. The second single from her fifth studio album Innamoramento, it was released on 8 June 1999...

", "Innamoramento
Innamoramento (song)
"Innamoramento" is a 1999 song recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer. It was the fifth single from her fifth studio album, Innamoramento, and was released on 18 July 2000. This pop ballad was written by Farmer with the music composed by Laurent Boutonnat...

", "Dessine-moi un mouton
Dessine-moi un mouton
"Dessine-moi un mouton" is a 1999 song recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer, first in a studio version, then in a live version during her 1999 concert Mylenium Tour. The song was the only single from her third live album Mylenium Tour and was released on 5 December 2000...

", "Redonne-moi
Redonne-moi
"Redonne-moi" is a 2005 song recorded by the French artist Mylène Farmer. This pop ballad was the third single from her sixth studio album, Avant que l'ombre..., and was released on 2 January 2006. Like all other tracks of the parent album, it was written by Farmer and the music was composed by...

", "Avant que l'ombre...
Avant que l'ombre... (song)
"Avant que l'ombre..." is a song recorded by the French artist Mylène Farmer in a studio version in 2005 and in a live version at the time of her 2006 concerts at Bercy . It was the first single from her fourth live album, Avant que l'ombre... à Bercy, and was released on 26 November 2006...

" and "Déshabillez-moi
Déshabillez-moi
"Déshabillez-moi" is a 1967 song first recorded by French singer Juliette Gréco, by Patti Layne in 1987, then by Mylène Farmer in a studio version in 1988 and in a live version during her 2006 concerts at Bercy . This live version was the second single from Farmer's fourth live album, Avant que...

", made all the important shots, with a budget of about 30,000 euros. The screenplay was written both by Boutonnat and Hanss. It was shot for two days in Marne-la-Vallée
Marne-la-Vallée
Marne-la-Vallée is a new town located near Paris, France.Disneyland Paris, Val d'Europe,Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée,and École des Ponts ParisTech are located in Marne-la-Vallée.-Status:...

, France: one day for the monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 and the white horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

, and another for Farmer and the stage's decoration ignited. Two explosives
Explosive material
An explosive material, also called an explosive, is a reactive substance that contains a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion if released suddenly, usually accompanied by the production of light, heat, sound, and pressure...

 and a rocket-flame were needed to set fire to the stage. In the video, Farmer appeared on stage, her face bathed in sweat and locks of hair pasted to her forehead, then she is in front of a cemetery.

The video's backstage were filmed by an amateur who sold unofficially this video ; it contains many secrets of the 1989 concert tour's video, and that of "Allan" (for example, Farmer slips on the dress for the video in her car because there was no dressing room on the stage). In the video, the monk who opened the cemetery
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

's gates which were used as stage's set during Farmer's concert lights the fire to this set. The scene takes places in a field. The photograph of Edgar Allan Poe burns in the video.

In 1990, in the Toutankhamon studios, the novelist Philippe Séguy attended exclusively to the showing of the music video, accompanied by Farmer and Boutonnat. According to an analysis made by the biographer Bernard Violet, "Boutonnat grafts his own imagination on that of Edgar Poe: two worlds of confusion illustrated by this tornado of fades in which a black horse tramples the portrait of American writer ( ...). The song begins with the cries of the crowd which here have a different meaning of specific hysteria of the singer's shows. Faces of spectators spring superimposed at the bottom of the frame, giving the illusion of a strange fire fueled by their cheering."

"Allan" does not feature on the VHS En Concert, but as well as the video of the following single "Plus grandir
Plus grandir
"Plus grandir" is a 1985 song recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer and is the first song written by the singer. It was released twice: first, on 25 September 1985 in a studio version as second single from Farmer's debut album Cendres de Lune, then on 12 May 1990 in a live mix version...

", was included on Les Clips vol. III, as both songs songs were released as live singles.

Reception and live performances


According to Star Music, "Allan" is a "sad" but "beautiful" song with "dance" sonorities. On the French SNEP Top 50 Singles Chart, the song was listed for eight weeks, from 13 January to 3 March 1990, peaking at number 32 in its fourth week. Its remixes were bigger successes in discothèques.

Farmer performed the song about two years before the single's release, in the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 television show Fête comme chez vous, broadcast on Antenne 2 on 5 May 1988. The song, however, was not included on the best of Les Mots. "Allan" was only sung during the 1989 tour
Mylène Farmer en concert
Mylène Farmer en concert is Mylène Farmer's 1989 concert tour in support of her second studio album, Ainsi soit je.... It was the first tour of the singer.- Introduction :...

 in an unchoreographied performance, in which Farmer wears black and white checked trousers and a grey jacket.

B-side: "Psychiatric"


"Psychiatric" is the name of the song that features on the B-side of vinyl. At the time, it was an unreleased song since it was not included on any Farmer's album. It appeared for the first time on an album in 1991, on L'Autre...
L'Autre...
L'Autre... is the third studio album by Mylène Farmer, released on April 9, 1991. It contains the singer's biggest hit, "Désenchantée", which was number-one in France for nine weeks, and other three top ten hits...

, that was released about two years after "Allan". It was neither performed on television nor on stage. Farmer explained that she decided to write this song after seeing a documentary about "an insane asylum in Greece where the internees were abandoned, left to themselves and reduced to an animal status", and added: "Madness affectes me, simply".

This song is mainly instrumental. The music is "disturbing" and has dance sonorities, and some gimmicks and sound effect
Sound effect
For the album by The Jam, see Sound Affects.Sound effects or audio effects are artificially created or enhanced sounds, or sound processes used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media...

s are added. When "Dégénération
Dégénération
"Dégénération" is a 2008 electro / techno song by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer. It was the first single from her seventh studio album Point de Suture, and was released first digitally and on radio in June 2008, then in a CD in August 2008. The song marked an important musical change in...

" was released in 2008, some critics have compared it to "Psychiatric" because of their similar music. "Psychiatric" is entirely sung in English-language and is a tribute to David Lynch
David Lynch
David Keith Lynch is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound...

's film, Elephant Man
The Elephant Man (film)
The Elephant Man is a 1980 American drama film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick , a severely deformed man in 19th century London...

. John Hurt
John Hurt
John Vincent Hurt, CBE is an English actor, known for his leading roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York...

's voice is sampled throughout the song, repeating several times: "I'm a human being, I'm not an animal". A male voice punctuates the song with the word "Psychiatric", while Farmer sings only: "It's easy this time, to lose my mind". There are three versions of this song.

Formats and track listings


These are the formats and track listings of single releases of "Allan":
  • 7" single


  • 7" maxi


  • CD maxi


  • Digital download


Release history

Date Label Region Format Catalog
December 1989 Polydor France 7" single 873432-7
7" maxi 873433-1
CD maxi 873433-2

Official versions

Version Length Album Remixed by Year Comment
"Allan"
Album version 4:46 Ainsi soit je...
Ainsi Soit Je...
Ainsi Soit Je... is the second album by Mylène Farmer, released in April 1988. It contains the hit singles "Sans contrefaçon", "Pourvu qu'elles soient douces" and "Sans logique"...

1988 See the previous sections
Extended mix 7:57 Dance Remixes
Dance Remixes
Dance Remixes is the first remix album by Mylène Farmer, released on November 23, 1992.- Background, writing and release :This album was made to make the fans wait until the following album, postponed because of the Giorgino 's shooting....

Laurent Boutonnat
Laurent Boutonnat
Laurent Pierre Marie Boutonnat is a French composer and film and music video director, best known as the songwriting partner of Mylène Farmer and the director of moody, provocative and literature-inspired music videos.- Career :...

1990 Devoted to discothèques, this version includes a new orchestration with a fast tempo and more refrains.
Live version
(recorded in 1989)
6:50 En Concert 1990 Farmer sings the song after a one-minute introduction performed by Carole Fredericks
Carole Fredericks
Carole Denise Fredericks was an American singer most famous for her recordings in France. Carole emerged from the shadow of her brother, the legendary blues musicologist Taj Mahal, to achieve fame and popularity in Europe and the French-speaking world...

.
Live single version 4:50 Laurent Boutonnat 1989 This version does not include the introduction and deletes one refrain.
Live maxi version 5:15 Laurent Boutonnat 1989 Unlike the live version on the album, this version does not include the introduction sung by Carole Fredericks.
Music video 5:42 Les Clips Vol. III
Les Clips Vol. III
Les Clips Vol. III is a VHS recorded by the French singer Mylène Farmer, containing all the singer's videoclips from 1989 to 1990. It was released in March 1990 in France....

, Music Videos I
Music Videos I
Music Videos I is a VHS / DVD recorded by the French singer Mylène Farmer, containing all the singer's videoclips from 1985 to 1992. It was released in April 1997 in France....

1989
"Psychiatric"
7" version 4:00 Laurent Boutonnat 1989 See the previous sections
New beat remix 5:01 Laurent Boutonnat 1989 This version has more refrains and music.
Album version 6:08 L'Autre...
L'Autre...
L'Autre... is the third studio album by Mylène Farmer, released on April 9, 1991. It contains the singer's biggest hit, "Désenchantée", which was number-one in France for nine weeks, and other three top ten hits...

1991 This version has more music.

Credits and personnel


These are the credits and the personnel as they appear on the back of the single:
  • Mylène Farmer – lyrics
  • Laurent Boutonnat – music
  • Bertrand Le Page and Toutankhamon – editions
  • Polydor – recording company
  • Marianne Rosentiehl – photo

Charts and sales

Chart (1990) Peak
position
Physical sales
French SNEP Singles Chart 32 80,000