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Blinding flashes of obviousness

Created by 게스트 on 07 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.

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

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]

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]

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]

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]

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.

번역:  영어 핀란드어

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.

번역:  영어

The name of the horse is heroine.

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...

This is about kidnapping and disappearances during the Argentina dictatorship

Suggested by [@Diazepan Medina]

번역:  영어

Alice in Wonderland, psychedelic style.

Suggested by [@Jadis]

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

Suggested by [@Jadis]

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

Suggested by [@MagicMulder]

Who the heck are these guys anyway?

Suggested by [@Jadis]

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

keyword: cocaine

Suggested by [@St. Sol]

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])

번역:  영어

This is about Peter Fechter

Suggested by [@maluca]

코멘트
Diazepan MedinaDiazepan Medina    金, 08/03/2019 - 01:10

I'll start with this one
https://lyricstranslate.com/es/luis-eduardo-aute-al-alba-lyrics.html

The topic: The last use of capital punishment in Spain against five revolutionaries
There's a whole wikipedia article here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_use_of_capital_punishment_in_Spain

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."

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    金, 08/03/2019 - 02:06

Just the kind of song I had in mind. Thank you very much.

ImvisibleImvisible    金, 08/03/2019 - 13:54

I think this one also fits the bill well.

https://lyricstranslate.com/cs/karel-kryl-bratříčku-zavírej-vrátka-lyric...

The topic: Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Pact_invasion_of_Czechoslovakia

On 21st August, 1968 Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia on a request from the Czechoslovakian Communist party. Thus began for the country fourty 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.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    金, 08/03/2019 - 18:35

Perfect. Nice lyrics too. Thanks a lot.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    金, 08/03/2019 - 19:04

Err.. I still have no idea what he's talking about. Care for a bit of explaining?

sandringsandring    土, 09/03/2019 - 02:20

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.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    土, 09/03/2019 - 02:28

Aaaaah! My eyes! I'm blind!....
Right, fits the bill. Reminds me of this Russian song with a "white road" symbolizing alcoholism. Can't remember the title, but hopefully you will?

BlackSea4everBlackSea4ever    土, 09/03/2019 - 02:40

Ah, forever ruined my fav song. Haven't listened to it since my rose colored glasses were shattered.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    土, 09/03/2019 - 02:41

Would you care to write a little explanation too? It would be nice to put the two songs next to each other, don't you think?

BlackSea4everBlackSea4ever    土, 09/03/2019 - 02:45

I'm all as the video I linked...pretty darling blue and green. Wasn't even able to rework my translation.

BratBrat    金, 15/03/2019 - 18:14

What's the fudge? This song is not about alcoholism. It's about memories (at large)... Though these memories include drinking "ветерок отравленный" and so like.
Pierre, if you want to include some DDT in the list you'd better take this song -> https://lyricstranslate.com/en/ddt-bolshaya-zhenschina-%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%B...
It's about Russia and it will fit your collection perfectly. Wink smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    金, 15/03/2019 - 19:06

Ok, if you provide a clue in a few short lines I'll add it Regular smile
An English translation wouldn't hurt either.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 18/03/2019 - 01:47

It's just for the comment to go along with the song. I'd rather let you present it yourself, but I can do it if you prefer.

BratBrat    月, 18/03/2019 - 05:09

Well, I'm afraid my comment won't fit the style of your collection, you may write it yourself including there some thoughts of "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". Wink smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 18/03/2019 - 05:35

So I did Teeth smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    土, 09/03/2019 - 02:57

right, I got carried away. For once Shevchuk managed not to get too cryptic, what a rotten luck...
The other one sounds like a good candidate. Would you write an explication for this one?

sandringsandring    土, 09/03/2019 - 03:11

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.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    土, 09/03/2019 - 03:09

I'll leave the last sentence out. You don't want to scare customers away Regular smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    土, 09/03/2019 - 04:05

This one can be read many different ways. The story of Captain Kidd is an interesting clue, but maybe not enough to trigger the blinding flash of the obvious Regular smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    土, 09/03/2019 - 04:07

Yep, I like that one. Fits well in the "subtle allusion" category.

UncommonUncommon    土, 09/03/2019 - 04:42

Jim Morrison messed up with text of this one and he died next.

ScieraSciera    土, 09/03/2019 - 16:10

Both referring to specific historic etc. contexts and only including common knowledge can contradict each other - e.g. that second example on Sophie Scholl, I wouldn't call that common knowledge.
And I don't really know what you mean by subtle.

Well, therefore I'm not sure it fits, but: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/nightbringer-rite-slaying-tongue-lyrics.html
It's about the Aghoris and their historic predecessors, the Kapalikas, both adherents of form of Shivaite Hinduism known for disregarding rules of ritual purity and for practices like smearing themselves with the ash of cremated corpses.

If you know about them it's really obvious - if not, then you won't understand a thing.
There are parts of the lyrics I still don't understand, though.

The band has many other songs that would probably fit the collection - but I don't have the "key" to many such.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 01:39

Well, the White Rose is exactly about that: "[the world] will remember us, provided history does not wipe us away". The fate of Sophie Scholl is an historical fact. There even was a movie shot in the 80s. It is common knowledge, only we are failing to remember it.

But OK, you've got a point. I'll change the intro. I hope I'll manage to save the Labrador bit.

As for your suggestion, well, the clue did not really make the song obvious!
Still looks like a kind of prayer to the Devil to me, with allusions to some existing rite as added flavour.
These Aghori guys are not worshippers of Satan, or are they?

ScieraSciera    月, 11/03/2019 - 18:20

While I had heard the name of Sophie Scholl before, I knew hardly more about her than that she was a victim of the Nazi regime.
And I grew up in Germany, where we normally rather learn too much than too little about that part of history.

I wasn't assuming that from that short description one could understand it fully - but I read a book about the Kapalikas and similar a while ago, and anyone reading the notes on my translation (which I intend to ultimately also translate into English and add to the lyrics, at least parts of the comments), i.e. anyone having the same background information I have should be able to make sense of the text.

Some words (devil, and probably husks and serpent iris) mix in a bit of the band's own spiritual focus with that of the Kapalikas etc. - but the rest is quite specifically about those forms of Hinduism. At least that's my assumption - as I said, there are parts left that I'm not sure I understand fully and that may rather refer to the lyricist's personal spiritual practices than to any historic ones.
Well, suffice to say that the Kapalikas (and to a lesser degree the Aghoris) have/had a reputation in India similar to that of Satanists in the West, and the similarities are close enough that it's not easy to determine which is supposed to be about which in these lyrics.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 19:27

Agreed, this "common knowledge" term was awkward. What I wanted to avoid above all was these songs based on personal events or private jokes among friends. It's easy to get cryptic about personal details or by spilling your guts about whatever personal obsession, but even when the clues get revealed, it's not very likely to trigger the kind of blinding flash I am looking for here Regular smile

I'm quite willing to take your word for it. I'd just like a bit of comment to go with the song, I could hardly write it myself.

ScieraSciera    月, 11/03/2019 - 20:10

I assumed that this was the idea behind "common knowledge" - it just was written in a slightly self-contradictory manner, if taken literally.

Okay, I'll see whether I can provide a more extensive but still compact comment to go with it (and I'll certainly translate my footnotes on it into English).
Let's see when I get around to take care of that...

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 01:30

Great song, but the "Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze" are quite explicit, I think

UncommonUncommon    日, 10/03/2019 - 22:40

That is precisely what this collection seems to be about =)

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 01:41

I have no doubt you do Teeth smile

JadisJadis    月, 11/03/2019 - 09:59

Quite interesting. The tale is also said as originated from Gascogne (South-West of France), but anyway it belongs to the AT425 type (The Search for the Lost Husband). There are many, many variants of it, one of the oldest known being the tale of Psyche and Cupido (Apuleius, 2nd century AD).

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 10:24

This database is priceless! It only makes sense people endeavoured to classify folk tales at some point, but I had no idea such a sophisticated nomenclature existed.

Still I don't know if we should allow that kind of songs here. It might turn the collection into a folk song repository. What do you think?

JadisJadis    月, 11/03/2019 - 13:47

Well, you are the landlord here, so yo decide... It's true, the song refers, not to a real situation, but to a tale, a legend... By the way, I found the original tale (in French) online. But the Russians have similar tales, for example in Maria Morevna, three sisters marry three birds, a falcon, an eagle and a raven. Other motives can be found in other tales too, for ex. "the washerwomen" is a common one. I was always fascinated by the analogies between Western France tales (especially the ones from Brittany) and Russian tales. But I can't remember having read anything about any "blue grass" in Russian tales, perhaps Bladé simply invented it to make the story prettier (it was proved after his death that his "collecting" did not always meet the scientific methods of later folklorists, and he sometimes embroidered a little). There are also links with Straparola's tales (it was one of the first collections of folktales in Europe), etc.
 Here  you can find a part of Aarne-Thompson classification of the Type-Tales (it's incomplete, of course). There is also a Motif-Index, elaborated by Stith Thompson, which is still much more detailed.

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 14:23

Mmm... a more complicated variation on the "frog into prince" theme?

JadisJadis    月, 11/03/2019 - 14:44

Anyway, the Animal Bridegroom is there, like in "La Belle et la Bête". There are parallel tales with an Animal Bride, a frog for instance (see Царевна-лягушка ). You should never throw your wife's frog skin into the fire...

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 14:48

Yes, so many things you shouldn't do in these tales. It's all about transgression Regular smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 12:12

Yes, but then this delicious modern take on Tam Lin would also qualify, for instance.
All these myths and their symbolic meanings are as old as mankind itself.
I find this one more elegant than the traditional "frog kissed into prince" archetype, but it's basically the same story Regular smile

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 14:22

I've always loved that song. Brings out the best of the singer's impressive voice. Feed your head !!!

ingirumimusnocteingirumimusnocte    月, 11/03/2019 - 14:02

Very good!

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