Correcting the lyrics of "Wicked games"

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Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013
Pending moderation

I have translated this song, but I based (almost) on the lyrics: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/Chris-Isaak-Wicked-Game-lyrics.html

In my opinion some parts of these lyrics are not correct. I don't want to create chaos, because the are many translations of this song, so to play safe I would like to ask the native speakers to listen carefully and to suggest what should be corrected.

Thanks in advance. Regular smile

Editor Francophony
Joined: 14.10.2014

I just had a careful listen and they seem pretty accurate to me.

It's a bit unclear if he actually say "don't" in some of the "I *don't* want to fall in love" lines or not. But I think he does it's just very slurred.

Apart from that it all seemed spot on. What lines in particular concerned you?

Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013

Thank you, Gavier. Regular smile

1. In the first stanza I hear what’s in the lyrics.

2. In the second one - I hear:

No, I don't wanna fall in love
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)
No, I wanna fall in love
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you...
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)

3. The third one is okay.

4. In the fourth one - hear:

And I wanna fall in love
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)
No, I wanna fall in love
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you...

5. The fifth one - again fine.

6. And in the sixth one:

No, I wanna fall in love
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)
No, I wanna fall in love
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you...
(this girl is only gonna break your heart)

So apart from the American equivalent of “want to” I hear “I DON’T wanna…” only in the first verse of the second stanza and nowhere else and that influences the meaning of this song.

How about that?

Editor (Resident Evil)
Joined: 26.10.2015

It's possibly deliberately slurred to represent his dilemma - he wants to fall in love with her and yet he doesn't (because he knows she's playing a game with him).

Editor Francophony
Joined: 14.10.2014

Yes I agree it does rather sound like that. And I think Magicmulder may well be correct about it being deliberately unclear. Also worth bearing in mind that in casual English "don't" can be very understated. Particularly if someone is mumbling or a bit sulky "I 'n' wanna go to school..."

I think though, that short of ringing up Mr. Issacs and asking him it might be difficult to resolve. Unless anyone owns a CD with official lyrics shown... :-)

Editor Francophony
Joined: 14.10.2014

Listening to this performance it's a bit clearer. Even when you can barely hear the "don't" you can see his lips touch on the word.
https://youtu.be/yCfkqQ5O9mc

Ironic Iron
Joined: 20.11.2016

If you listen on max volume you will hear that he sings "don't" everywhere, even though it is mumbled/slurred - the extra sound is definitely there.

Junior Member
Joined: 17.02.2017

when the sentence starts with a "NO", it is already a negative sentence.
even if he slurs "don't" to do + something mumbled, it will be understood as "do not". i hear it as do plus a nasalized n. that for me is already a don't.

Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013

Yes, that's exactly what I was also thinking about. Okay, my translation so far bases on on the assumption that this negation was used everywhere - as in the posted lyrics.

Still let me add something more:

This song was submitted back in 2010 and this year it was corrected by Fary. What she posted is the version that you can mostly encounter on the net. I don’t think it’s official, because I would rather expect to see “wanna” instead of “want to”, but even if we assume it was we can never be sure whether it’s correct. An example - I have a CD of “Spanish Train” (Chris de Burgh) and in the booklet with official lyric there is one mistake - once it was written “Old Saville” (wrong) and in the repetition “Old Seville” (correct). Errare humanum est and you cannot trust blindly even in that what seems to be official.

I always prefer to trust my ears, but that can also be misleading when a singer intentionally mutes and slurs some words.

I already went insane trying to listen to this song hundreds times. These is what I think now:

1. In the second stanza it’s twice “don’t”. Even though the repetition is very slurred, it's still almost audible.

2. In the fourth even using a lot of imagination I’m unable to hear that he sings “don’t”.

3. In the sixth I can imagine that it’s again “don’t”, but I don’t hear it.

This way it would make sense - showing his indecisions.

Interesting is that after Fary changed the lyrics some people didn’t correct their translations, even though they were informed. Earlier the fourth stanza must have been missing. I have no idea what else was changed. I checked these translations and in Ukrainian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Macedonian, one of the three Serbian interpretation “don’t” wasn’t used at the end. On the other hand even though the French translation wasn’t corrected - Jethro Paris wrote “je ne veux pas tomber amoureux” also at the end.

I hope more people will try to listen and tell what they think.

Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013

I based on the video posted with the lyrics. Only now I checked the version linked by Gavier and indeed looking at his mouth one can get an impression that he slurs “don’t” - as Magicmulder wrote - to show his dilemma. This means that there’s no need to change anything in the lyrics, but there’s space left for interpretation.

Okay, thanks for help. Regular smile

Junior Member
Joined: 17.02.2017

there are times that we cannot hear the vibrations of a syllable in another language because we have not been exposed to that kind of pronunciation and our brains are looking for another sound frequency to identify a word.
let me see if i can help you.
in the 4th stanza, try pronouncing don't by putting your tongue just behind your upper teeth but separate your tongue from your palate to make a hollow sound and pronounce "dho"nasaling "o" slightly softly and follow it with wanna. then listen to the song. let see if you hear it now.

Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013

I had a similar problem with one Portuguese song where I heard "e" at the end of one word, but all native speakers told me they hear "a". I'm sure I have no problems with my hearing organs and indeed it might have been the reason that my brain was not accustomed to Portuguese sounds, because I'm almost an absolute beginner in case of this language.

Twice I had a problem with slurred words in my native language. On one occasion even though the recording sounded perfectly there was no way to understand one word. I found the lyrics on the net, but there were many mistakes and I had to correct them. One word made sense, but the singer sang something different. I still don't know what.

Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013

@Galva: I tried the trick you described and it seems to work, but it can only help me pronounce it this way. This knowledge won't help anyone to understand whether "don't" was said and meant or not. Still you have to guess - at least sometimes. Teeth smile

Junior Member
Joined: 17.02.2017

@Aldefina. the word "No" already conditions the sentence. english grammar already requires the words "do not" (or variations of its pronunciation) to be in the sentence otherwise the meaning is completely changed. how? if we say No, i wanna do "x", it makes one think that previously there was a suggestion or command for you to do "y". however in this song the previous lines suggest falling in love (so do "x"), and the refrain goes (no, don't wanna do "x"). so it makes sense. in any case i can hear "don't" in all the stanzas, very softly in the sixth. have you heard of the sentence "i dunno" to say "i don't know"? "don't" is pronounced "du(n)" in the song.

Editor (and) усталый старик
Joined: 11.10.2014

The trouble with that last analysis is that the firts time it sounds absolutely like "No I wanna..." the previous line was "No I don't wanna..." so the second No could be taken as denying the preevious line so that it is reinforcing the absence of don't in the currecnt line.
I'm no saying that's what's going n, just that it's just as valid an analysis (or perhaps even more valid) as oe based on teh ide that the NO refers to what follows in the same sentence rather than to what the previous sentence asserted.
I guess we've go no way of knowing and no way f finding out.

Moderator
Joined: 16.01.2013

Thank you, Tom, for your opinion. I tried to listen to this song many times after reading all comments and the only difference is that now I agree with the first stanza - it’s twice “don’t”.

I believe the lyrical subject fights with his feelings - he wants to fall in love, but he’s afraid because of his bad experiences. The only way to show this would be to write three versions of chorus:

1. No, I don’t wanna… No, I don’t wanna…
2. And I wanna… No, I wanna…
3. No, I wanna… No, I wanna…

Actually that’s what I hear now. The only problem is that I would normally say “And I wanna… YES, I wanna…”, but I think you can also say “NO, I wanna…” - it’s like he tries to convince himself. And I wonder if it’s not one of the differences between American (used in this song) and British English that I learned.

Honestly I’m a bit afraid to correct the lyrics this way, but perhaps I should do it this way in my translation and add a comment with explanations.

What do you think?

Editor (and) усталый старик
Joined: 11.10.2014

Andrzej, the trouble is that there are multiple possible interpretations and the soundtrack is pretty unclear (I wouln't bet on my hearing of it, and I certainly wouln'd bet on the average transcriber). And, as you point out, it's in a foreign dialect (one of the American dialects, but maybe not standard American).

So really, I don't feel I can give advice on what to do. I think a comment with explanations is a good idea, whether you have the changes in the translation or put them in the comment along with the translation. I also think that there may be some Americanism there that my BrE doesn't recognise.

Sorry, I guess that;s no help at all to you.