M83’s “Outro” creates the soundtrack for royalty on “Versailles”

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Royal drama, “Versailles” streams on Netflix and airs in the US on Ovation. The series’ captivating tone is set by the show’s theme song. “Outro” by M83, and encapsulates everything that “Versailles” is about.

About M83

M83 is French electronic musician and songwriter, Anthony Gonzalez. At one point, M83 was a duo. Now the work of one man, M83 is reaching audiences that might not be fans of electronic music–all because of the historical drama “Versailles.”

To date, M83 has seven albums and two soundtracks to its credit. “Outro,” the song that serves as “Versailles'” theme song, appears on the 2011 album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.”

The sound of M83

The ethereal keyboard opening becomes nuanced with higher pitches preparing listeners for the pained tenor in which the lyrics are sung. The lyrics are short and on the surface, simple. They fit the life of Louis XIV as depicted in “Versailles.” An orchestral swell adds dimension to the track.

The lyrics to “Outro” are simple. Gonzalez sings, “I’m the king of my own land/facing tempests of dust/I’ll fight until the end/creatures of my dreams raise up and dance with me!/ Now and forever, I’m your king!”

Each line of “Outro” corresponds to Louis XIV’s small-screen life. He was in fact, the king of his own land. It wasn’t unusual for kings and queens of European countries to rule a country to which they hadn’t been born.

As far as tempests of dust and fighting until the end are concerned, it seems hardly an episode goes by wherein Louis is not planning for war.

“Creatures of my dreams…” indicates Louis’ tendency to dream. On “Versailles” he seems terrorized by visions and messages received in dreams. Also, members of the court could be “creatures.” Not to be pejorative, but as a term of endearment. If the show is to be believed, Louis found it necessary to choreograph dances, develop rules of etiquette, and otherwise control the lives of everyone in the court. He expected others to study his movements and replicate them at the next event.

When the line, “Now and forever, I’m your king!” is sung, it fits Louis XIV perfectly. He is the French king the rest of the world seems most familiar. It is as though he is the historical embodiment of France. Louis’ emphasis on fashion, etiquette and dance made him a cultural force. The plaintive and strident exclamation at the end, does indeed raise viewers’ hairs, as one critic noted–because it fits.

The irony here is that most of the male cast members look like either fancy glam metal musicians or their roadies, but the show’s essence is captured by an example of electronic music.

With what is essentially a stanza’s worth of lyrics and an ambient soundscape, M83 manages to summarize the action and ethos of the Sun King as dramatized in “Versailles.”

 

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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2 responses to “M83’s “Outro” creates the soundtrack for royalty on “Versailles””

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never seen/heard a song encapsulate the contextual history more uniquely. It adds to the dramatic effect perfect.

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