On musical confusion

Dear musicians, band managers and English-lyric writers,

Please (PLEASE) help me.
I have colleagues who listen to the radio. Even though there are several German bands, most of the music on the radio is currently sung in English. As the only “native-English-speaker” in the place, it’s my job to tell them what’s being sung.
I wouldn’t mind, really, if they accepted what I said, and went on with their work. Instead I find myself involved with in depth analysis and advanced linguistics.
Yesterday, for example, I was asked to explain and or translate half a dozen songsΒ (including ‘I am the walrus’, ‘stay with me in the yellow’, and the band name ‘down2five’)
I could provide neither satisfying translations nor explanations. I don’t have a clue what the walrus is about, I don’t know how (or why) one stays in the yellow (or even what it is or what happens when one does), and I don’t know whether they used to maybe be 6 or if its actually supposed to be 25.

In future, it would be good if you could stick to band names, song titles and lyrics which make immediate sense, especially to non native English speakers. It would also be good if you only sang real words (God forbid the producers ever decide to recite The Jaberwocky.)

It can’t be all that hard, when you next write a song or name a band, you just need to think like a German. If you eradicate the need for the following questions you’re on the right track: What’s it about? What does it mean? What else could it mean? (Try using words which don’t rely on the context (words should only have one meaning each)) Why did they write such ridiculous songs? How does that work? Couldn’t they have said XYZ instead? How do you pronounce that? Why bother singing if no one can hear the words? (sing clearly, dammit!)…..

Thank you!


0 thoughts on “On musical confusion

    1. πŸ™‚ Good idea…. but it didn’t work ‘ they just said there was no point bothering with the words at all, they could get rid of them completely (which brings us back to instrumental music) or they could just sing la-la-la or hum….

  1. YAY for you Jesska! I don’t usually listen to “modern” songs because I either can’t understand the words or they are not the kind I want to hear; and I speak English and listen to songs in that language! What is it with singers and musicians that they cannot just sing clearly {and in tune would be excellent too}? I play my own music mostly these days because I can choose what it is I am listening to.

    1. You play your own music? That’s cool πŸ™‚ Which instrument? Or do you mean you choose which CD/MP3/LP/whatever-combination-of-letters-lets-you-have-music to put on?

  2. I would love to tell you that I play my own instrument but can’t tell a lie! I used to fiddle round on the electric organ we had but had to sell that when i moved to a smaller place. So my “playing my own” just means that I select what I want and put it into my player!

    1. Yup πŸ™‚ thank you
      I’ve been here in Germany for nearly 11 years now, and I think you have to learn the language of wherever you live

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