|WEGEN 99 LUFTBALLOONS... SING IT!!!|
Du Hast Du Etwas Zeit Fur Mich
or... Vintage Foreigner... not the band.
by Jo Michelmore
You know, in case you didn't realise, I love music. I love all sorts of music. I especially love lyrics, they are such an important part of a song to me. I love to listen and understand a meaning or find my own meaning to lyrics. I love singing along to music. I love knowing all the words to a song and being able to quote certain lyrics from my favourite songs. I love karaoke. I love singing the lyrics I love to songs I love. I love not having to read the words on the screen ‘cause you know the words so well they just flow out of you. So, something that intrigues me are songs that I love that are sung in a language I don’t know. The languages I know are: English (I also know some swear words and how to say ‘vegetarian’ and ‘no meat’ in various languages, but they’re not phrases used much in pop music). I could use google translate but there’s two issues there. Google translate is often crap. Something that should be simple to translate comes out all backward. I don’t really trust it. Second, I don’t really want to know completely what these songs are about. There’s some magic in having no idea what’s being said. I’ll just get a feel for them and that will do. I feel sorry for people who can translate them. Where’s the mystery? Where’s the fun in that? The best things are left unsaid, or not understood, I often find. So, songs that I love, in languages other than English. Let’s explore this concept a little closer….
99 Luft Balloons (1984)
This is actually one of my favourite songs of the ‘80’s. When I think of songs from the ‘80’s I think of some Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, one A-ha song and this one. That’s my first thoughts of the ‘80’s. What is going on here though? Let’s see. It’s in German, which has a lot of similarities to the English language, so maybe I can work something out. Ninety-nine I’m assuming in German is the same as ninety-nine in English, one less than one hundred. Easy. Next; balloons. Probably the same in German as in English. Inflatable things. Luft? Now; luft, as in lift? Ninety-nine lift balloons? Balloons for lifting? Like; as in the film ‘Up’? Maybe not. I resort to google translate and it tells me luft means air, so we have “ninety-nine air balloons” (what other type of balloons are there, German peeps?) The song is apparently a protest song, about the Berlin wall, before it fell, balloons floating over it to the eastern side, communism, politics etc. etc. The thing is, like I said, who really cares? This is an incredibly catchy song. Incredibly catchy! I don’t care what was going on at the time, I just wanna sing along “99 luft balloons, arf agblah wiiig horizon!” Whatever. Wow, I love that ‘80’s synthesiser so much.
Ca Plan Pour Moi (1977)
by Plastic Bertrand
This song came to my attention sometime in the 90’s. I can’t remember what the show was called, but a pop culture based TV show I watched regularly at the time had a minor obsession with this song, they seemed to play it almost every episode, generally with the end credits. It was funny, but it was also awesome. This is the greatest ‘70’s pop. Plastic Bertrand was put into the punk category at the time, but not punk as we now know it. This is pop. Fantastic pop. What’s he saying? I have no idea, at all. He’s from Belgium, so the song is French, obviously, and the title translates as ‘that plane for me’ (I think) but what that means I just don’t know. The interwebs say that some of the lyrics translate as “cellophane puppet, Chinese hair”, which only makes it that much more fun to me and makes me love it so much. Poor old Plastic has recently admitted he didn’t even sing this song, he was just the pretty(?) face lip synching. Oh well, who cares? Just let me sing it; “Say pla poo mwah, ooh ooh ooh ooh!” Too good.
by Los Del Rio
This was a song everyone gradually managed to hate. Some of it was in English, some in Spanish, but the thing was, it seemed to only be truly loved when one was intoxicated enough to appreciate it and want to do the dance, so the English bits slurred in a drunk accent sounded Spanish anyway. What’s going on here? Have you seen the clip? These creepy old guys hanging around dancing awkwardly with a whole bunch of girls/guys in short shorts, all doing the ‘Macarena’, one would say. I’m assuming the old guys are singing something a bit creepy, but I can’t actually say. They just look like they would be. “Don do da dooo da, blah blah Macarena, hey Macarena!” Come on, you know that’s what you’ve sang, at some lame wedding or some lame club after too many drinks, sometime. Unless you’re Spanish of course. If you are, can you translate that for us? You’ll be much more accurate than the google translate, I’m sure.
Du Hast (1997)
Come on, you have to be crazy if you don’t love this song. Like, you can love it because you love it, genuinely, if you want, or you can love it because it’s German industrial metal and it’s insane and loud and they sing/growl/scream “Du! Du hast!” a lot and it’s hilarious, but either way, you have to love it. Rammstein are a serious band you know? Lots of people love them, like, really love them and I’m sure if you’re into your metal, especially your heavy angry German industrial metal, they really are fantastic. I like them because I’ve seen them play live and their show involved fire and noise and costumes and noise and a giant phallus and noise and noise. It was great. It was hilarious. ‘Du Hast’ is like an anthem; it’s solid and intense and they say lots of German things and then they say “Du, du hast” a lot and I like to get my metal voice on and sing it too. “Du! Du Hast mich?!” Oh, you crazy German metal people, you rule.
Hands Up (2011)
Ok, so 2011 is not exactly vintage, I know, but I’m including the next two songs because they can’t be missed, I love them. They’re crazy, they’re pop, they have bits in English and bits in Korean and the English bits are fun to sing at karaoke and this is my writing anyway, stop questioning me. They’re not from this year so let’s say that’s modern vintage. The clip features them in light up vests and studded jackets and lots of hands in the air. Who doesn’t love this? “Bollyumeul nopyeo seupikkeo teojidorok….put your hands up, put your drinks up!” (That’s straight from google, I didn’t make that up.) I said; “Put your hands up!” and dance goddamn it!
by (Editor's Note - the not at all stupidly named...) 2NE1
2NE1; I don’t know what it is about numerals that the Korean people like, but I don’t care, their pop groups with numerals in the titles are awesome. This is an all-girl group, and I can only assume this song is a breakup song, yeah? The verses are quieter, then they start apologising in English, then say something dramatic in Korean again, then the chorus is all “I’m so lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely…” you can’t help but sing along. Interestingly, the clip involves a bunch of studded jackets again, obviously big in Korea in 2011. Fascinating. I love this one. “Ooh, I’m so lonely, lonely, lonely….” Listen to that once and say it’s not stuck in your head. It’s not? Whatever. Go listen to Plastic Bertrand again. You won’t regret it. Or maybe you will.