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Blinding flashes of obviousness

Created by ingirumimusnocte on 07 Mar 2019 | Last edited by ingirumimusnocte on 18 Mar 2019

This collection is about cryptic lyrics that actually make sense without resorting to overly subjective interpretations.
The kind of song that could give you an initial "What the heck" moment and become blindingly obvious once you get the proper clues.

By "cryptic" I mean:
- reference to a specific context (historical, cultural, a piece of literature, a famous character, etc)
- elaborate style that requires careful reading
- subtle (yet not too vague or ambiguous) allusions or symbolism

By "make sense" I mean:

- refer to items or events of general significance.
That rules out stories about the singer's neighbour's former girlfriend grieving her pet Labrador retriever. However touching that might be. R.I.P, Rex.

- make an actual point or tell an actual story
That rules out vague rants or strings of disjointed lofty metaphors.

- be more than a word salad requiring the audience to invent their own meaning.
That rules out a sizeable part of mainstream pop, especially those songs butchering syntax and using fancy words for no good reason.

Rules of the game:

- one song per artist/band per person. Please re-read that statement carefully. Done? OK, now choose carefully!
- provide a short explanation of the song (in English if possible), that will be added as a comment

I would be delighted to have songs in many different languages and from many different countries in this collection.
Translation is about greater understanding, isn't it? Let's put that to the test, shall we?

The song went out in 1992. The "Mistress" is USSR itself, Grebenshikov is bidding her farewell.
It evokes aspects of USSR society (emptiness, frozen thoughts, people afraid to speak, militarism) then questions the harsh living conditions and empty lies that were built upon a beautiful ideal.

Translations:  German Polish

The song is about Sophie Scholl and die Weiße Rose.
The meaning becomes quite obvious when you know the story.

Translations:  English Russian German 2 more

The song is about the last use of capital punishment in Spain against five revolutionaries.
Luis Eduardo Aute wrote the song from the point of view of the condemned, but he disguised it as a love song (to overcome the censorship). And yet the chorus says "I feel that after the night, will come the longest night. I don't want you to leave me, my love, at dawn."

Suggested by [@Diazepan Medina]

Translations:  French English Italian

On 21st August, 1968 Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia on a request from the Czechoslovakian Communist party. Thus began for the country forty years of political segregation from the west. Karel Kryl composed Bratříčku, zavírej vrátka, as a direct reaction to the events of August ‘68, and it was published in 1969. The heavily symbolic lyrics sum up the fear, uncertainty and discontent that took hold of the nation, and are by themselves a protest against the enforcers of the regime.

Suggested by [@Imvisible]

Translations:  English German Spanish 3 more

On the face of it, it looks like a song about country sights, landscapes painted in watercolours until you understand that blue and green is blue-green or bottle green. Then thу lyrics become meaningful. The singer admits to alcoholism as all his life and concert tours are coloured blue-green with blue depression, green hangover and red anger or stop signals.

Suggested by [@Sandring]

Translations:  Russian French

The song and dance come from one of the most popular Bollywood films "Bajirao Mastani" about the legendary Marathi warrior Badji Rao and his love story. He had a faithful wife and a lover, a girl who was his war trophy. Both women had to share Badji Rao's love for many years. The song is their dance competition and "exchange of fire" so to say.

suggested by [@sandring]

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse in a western setting

Suggested by [@sandring]

Translations:  Spanish Croatian German 5 more

Despite the merry music and apparently silly lyrics, this is about the trains carrying prisoners to concentration camps during WWII.
The end of the song gives the meaning away, if you listen carefully.

Translations:  English Finnish

Apparently the song is about a small business and can fool a casual listener.
However, the lyrics are full of sexual double entendre. The story is really about the guy's love life.

Translations:  English

The name of the horse is heroine.

Translations:  Serbian Persian Turkish 11 more

The song refers to cold war tensions in the early 80's, when USA and USSR were deploying Pershing and SS-20 missiles in Europe.
We're only watching the skies
Hoping for the best
But expecting the worst
Are you going to drop the bomb or not?

Another allusive song dealing with the very real fear of a nuclear war in the early 80's.
Talk about a blinding flash...

Translations:  Persian Polish Greek 2 more

This is about kidnapping and disappearances during the Argentina dictatorship

Suggested by [@Diazepan Medina]

Translations:  English

Alice in Wonderland, psychedelic style.

Suggested by [@Jadis]

Translations:  German Turkish Croatian 8 more

This is about women getting bullied for having fraternized with German soldiers during occupation of France (1940-1944).

Suggested by [@Jadis]

Translations:  Italian English German

Though the song became famous enough for most people to know it's about child abuse, the lyrics are very allusive.

Suggested by [@MagicMulder]

Translations:  Serbian German French 16 more

Who the heck are these guys anyway?

Suggested by [@Jadis]

Translations:  Italian Spanish German 6 more

The song refers to French writer Henry de Monfreid and his "Secrets of the Red Sea" novel

Translations:  Portuguese English

keyword: cocaine

Suggested by [@St. Sol]

Song | Russian DDT

Funky Russia having got rid of its brow-[t]rimming shawl together with fields and forests and lazing on a beach in search for one another sorcerer (or so told me comrade [@Brat])

Translations:  English
Comments
JadisJadis    Mon, 11/03/2019 - 14:30

It's hard to find something meeting the requests (except the Russian songs, of course, because nearly all of them are cryptic Wink smile ). I thought of perhaps La Tondue ? It's rather clear to us Frenchmen, but perhaps not everybody has the necessary keys...

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    Tue, 12/03/2019 - 09:07

Looks like a good candidate to me. The song became famous enough for most people to know the clue, but the lyrics themselves are pretty allusive.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    Tue, 12/03/2019 - 09:17

Good idea! The shortest and most famous cryptic lyrics ever Regular smile

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