Question of the day (22nd November).

What is your favourite Christmas song? Your least favourite?

My answer:

I have many favourites which make me await December every year so that I can listen to them, I don’t listen to them all year, only since the beginning of December to February 2nd when Christmas carols singing time ends over here, so I’m never bored with them. But I think my most favourite is “Christmas Secrets” by Enya, that I have previously shared. It’s really magical. Least favourite? I find most of the mainstream Christmas music that you hear in the shops, in the radio and such kind of infantile, annoying, superficial, boring and just meh. But… wait a minute… there was such a classic that I hate but I don’t remember/know the title, let me look it up… uhhh, yeah, “Merry Christmas Everybody” by Slade. The harmony of this song, something in its melody makes my brain feel uneasy, there just are such songs, sounds, sequences of sounds, melodies, and this song is one of them. It’s the chorus I have problems with the most when I happen to hear it. It’s such a strange feeling and even more strange to describe, it’s like what you’re hearing is one big dissonance in a way (not aesthetic usually or not necessarily, it’s a different kind of a dissonance) plus your mind vs that song/sound don’t get along. It can make me feel that some sounds and/or harmonies are aggressive, kind of evil in a way, and that it’s directed straight at me, directly, it just makes me feel uneasy emotionally and in a way physically and often anxious. I just wonder why the heck people don’t hear such things, I’m not even saying about that they don’t react like I do but they don’t even hear anything wrong, when I show people two songs that trigger sensory anxiety for me they don’t see anything in common in the sound or in their perception of the songs. It makes me feel crazy! It’s far from being among those the most triggering sounds I’ve come across in my life but it’s just unpleasant to hear. And “Gothic Christmas” by Within Temptation is horrible, but just because of what it’s like, not because of the harmonies and all those intricacies, I’m not sure which I hate more, I guess each deserves an award in its own category. 😀

Song of the day (19th November) – Mikromusic – “Takiego Chłopaka” (A Boyfriend Like This).

Here’s another Polish song I have for you.

I used to have very mixed feelings about it, and I’ve seen quite a few different interpretations of what it really is about, including that it shows all men as being awful or that women are super picky. I liked the sound of it immediately when I heard it. It’s trip-hop but the song has a bit of a folksy feel and I liked that it was sort of ironic and humourous. The song is about a woman who wants a boyfriend, and she has a whole list of what he should not be, looks like she’s such an idealist and wants just someone very exceptional who only has good traits. Yet something in this song really stung me, ’cause on her list of things he cannot be is “not a Pole”. I mean, it’s completely okay not to want to have a Polish boyfriend, even if you’re Polish, but the whole list was made up of various negative things and “not a Pole” thrown in-between, it made it look very bad and very offensive to me, and I’m sure could feel even more so to Polish guys. And I’ve seen many other people finding it controversial too.

But these days I think this song does not contain any anti-Polish messages. I think you can see this song in two ways, depending if you are an optimist or a pessimist, although I have no idea what Natalia Grosiak – the vocalist and author of the lyrics – had in mind writing this song. If you are an optimist, you can think that the girl speaking in the song is very young, romantic, idealistic and picky to begin with. She wants someone who won’t change her life overly and will just be perfectly the way she imagined him. Then, as the song progresses, she changes her mind. She decides that “yes, give me a boy who is ugly, who is a bit crazy, who has his weaknesses”. She finds someone that she loves despite the traits in him that are difficult and she happily accepts the fact that there are no perfect people and that there is no way to fall in love with someone who is perfect. If you are a pessimist, you can see this song as showing how bad life can be and often is. You begin with having dreams and hopes and wanting someone special and perfect. Only that, as you gain more experience in life and in relationships, instead of happily accepting that we all have weaknesses and it’s okay and finding someone whose weaknesses are complementary with yours and you are able to live with him the way he is, as it should be in a proper romantic movie with a happy end, you give up. Because whoever you’ll choose, it will be difficult and nothing will work out the way you want. You don’t care what he’s like anymore, maybe not even whether you love him, you just want someone and you know you have very limited choice.

Despite I am a pessimist, in this particular song I have a feeling the optimistic theory looks better not only because it’s more pleasant. It’s just easier for me to imagine such a scenario. Personally I’d rather be lonely than look for all means for whoever to be my boyfriend, even if he is a drunkard to whom I don’t feel anything.

So, here are the lyrics that I’ve translated and the song.

 

Mr Fate, please give me someone who won’t stir the water in my pond
Someone who won’t fade away like a bad dream
When there are no more fish in my pond

Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?
Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?

Give me a boyfriend
Not a crazy one, give
Not a smoker
Not a poor one, give
Not a drunkard
Not a Pole, give
Not an ugly one

Send me a boyfriend
not a crazy one, give
Not a dodge
not a clown, give
Not a drunkard
not a Pole, give
Not a poor one
Send me

Mr Fate, please give me someone who won’t pick all the roses from my garden
Someone who won’t eat all the apples
and run away overseas

Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?
Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?

Give me a boyfriend
Not a crazy one, give
Not a smoker
not a poor one, give
Not a drunkard
not a Pole, give
Not an ugly one

Send me a boyfriend
not a crazy one, give
Not a dodge
not a clown, give
Not a drunkard
not a Pole, give
Not a poor one

Send me a boyfriend
Give me a Pole
yes, I want a crazy one!
I want a drunkard
Yes, give me a strongman
An ugly one
Yes, give me a Pole

Send me a boyfriend
a boyfriend like this
a boyfriend like this
a boyfriend like this
like this

Song of the day (16th November) – Coma – “Los Cebula I Krokodyle Łzy” (Fate Onion And Crocodile Tears).

I didn’t plan to share this song at all but I kind of had no idea for a song for this day, and I heard this one playing in the bathroom, so decided to share it because I have a bit of a personal story with her. It’s a song dedicated to people who struggle with depression but also generally just any kind of life difficulties. I heard it for the first time in the kitchen, one late Sunday evening, night actually. I went downstairs because I had self harm urges and wanted to cut or something. I came into the kitchen and took out the knife from the drawer when I heard this song playing: “Leave that damn mug alone, you’ll cut your fingers…”. 😀 I had a knife in my hand, not a mug, and intended to cut not necessarily my fingers with it, but the irony of the situation made me laugh out loud despite I was crying some five minutes earlier. 😀 I started to listen to the song and it sort of made me feel better, at least I could relate to it. I’d like to tell you that Coma prevented me from cutting that time but they didn’t, but the song helped me a little bit to make me feel less alone with my shit. And now I am going to share it with you and my translation of the lyrics as well.

   Leave that damn mug alone – you’ll cut your fingers.
Drink the milk, wash your face. I’ll come before you fall asleep.
Even though the galactic blast will destroy the civilisation
It’s not enough to burst out into tears.
For me, the day wasn’t too gracious either.
For me too, too long and bad is the winter
For me too, but you must admit, that all in all, life is wonderful
And stop wailing! Stop wailing! Stop crying!
And why do you read the comments from frustrated pipsqueaks?
Let the blockheads poison themselves with venom, save yourself the evil.
For me, the day wasn’t too gracious either.
For me too, too long and bad is the winter
For me too fate, onion and crocodile tears.
Stop wailing! Stop wailing! Stop crying!
For me, the day wasn’t too gracious either.
For me too, too long and bad is the winter
For me too fate, onion and crocodile tears.
Stop wailing! Stop wailing! Stop crying!i

Meinir Gwilym – “Gwallgo” (Crazy).

Hi people! 🙂

Here’s another song by Meinir Gwilym I want to share with you. It is Zofijka’s favourite, and the first song I’ve heard from her, on Radio Cymru! Zofijka says it’s very funny, and she understands strange things in the lyrics, and now actually whenever I hear this song it makes me think of her.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Een Paleis Van Zand” (A Palace Of Sand).

Hi guys! 🙂

Today is the 32nd anniversary of one of my musical crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk’s – death. I wasn’t even alive yet when he died, yet, in some respect, of all my music crushes I feel the closest to him, despite he is no longer my dominant crush since a couple of years. I just think our brains have a lot in common, despite you really wouldn’t think so at a first glance. 😀

I have no idea if I’ve ever posted any of his Dutch language music, but if not, the time has come today. As you may know from my earlier posts on him, he was Dutch but spent most of his life in Sweden, and most of his songs and poems are written in Swedish. But there are some Dutch ones too, and not only the translations of his Swedish works. The song I want to show you exists only in Dutch and is beautiful! Well, at least that’s my feeling. I don’t speak Dutch yet, although I am planning to and hoping for it very much, and I know lyrics are usually much more important, and the more so more interesting, in his music than the actual music, they never leave a neutral impression on me when I understand them, I always either love them or hate them (the latter is usually about the political and often the more strongly socially themed ones). This song I only understand in pieces, from what I know from Dutch, and from what sounds similar to English and Swedish. But I’m sure it must be really beautiful and it sounds so. So I hope you enjoy it too.

 

Hungarica – “Burzliwe Stulecia / Viharos Szazadok” (Stormy Centuries).

Hi guys! 🙂

You know it’s Independence Day today in Poland? Yaaay! It’s 101 years since Poland regained its Independence, and, while you can hear so much about it in the media, especially on a special occasion like this, I have a feeling like we still so often take it for granted a bit, and that so many people had to die and suffer their personal losses for it to happen. Sofi is having a concert tomorrow at her school because of that, and she is going to sing solo one verse of a song, as she is in a choir. I’ve always thought that, while she loves to sing, her ability to sing in tune is very questionable, but it seems like her music teacher’s opinion is different, so hopefully it goes well for her, she’s very stressed now so any and all crossed fingers will be appreciated! 🙂

Last year on this day I shared with you a song “40:1” by a Swedish band called Sabaton, sung in Polish, about the Battle of Wizna. You know I’m into language so I like to kinda incorporate this holiday into the overal feel of my blog. So, there is such a radio programme on Polish Radio Programme 3, called “Strefa Rokendrola Wolna Od Angola” (Rock&roll Zone Free of English), where you can hear a lot of good rock music and some related more or less closely genres, and it’s in all possible languages but not English. Not because anyone has any problem with English, but because English in music is definitely overrated and it’s unfair for all the other languages. Polish is also rarely heard, because you can hear Polish music in Polish media on a daily basis. The only times you can hear Polish in this programme is when it’s on air on Independence Day, or on May 3, when we celebrate the anniversary of proclaiming the Constitution of May 3, which was the first modern constitution in Europe. I really like to listen to it then, because you can hear foreign bands and musicians singing in Polish, or making any kind of Poland-themed music, it’s very interesting. And the song I have for you today is from there as well.

Hungarica is a (surprise!) Hungarian national rock band, whose songs usually are on the topic of Hungarian history, and from what I’ve read they are one of the most popular Hungarian rock groups. They had a concert in Katowice in Poland some years ago and from the band’s history it seems like they feel a strong bond with Poland, which is not much of a surprise, as Poland and Hungary have a history of quite close relationship, and have a lot of similarities in our histories. And one of this manifestos of their bond with Poland is the song “Burzliwe Stulecia”, “Viharos Szazadok” in Hungarian, which means Stormy Centuries. The group’s vocalist sings it entirely in Polish and does it really wel. Better even than Joakim Broden from Sabaton, who said he struggled with Polish very much and needed frequent breaks throughout the recording, but suppose Hugarian (as weird and enigmatic as it sounds to Poles, and not belonging to the same language family) has paradoxically more in common with Polish phonetically than Swedish. Though you can see that the word accents work much differently in Hungarian, as he does them rather funnily in Polish sometimes.

The song is great. It is a short retelling of Polish history, accentuating what a brave and strong nation Polish people are, despite, or maybe thanks to, all we have been through over the ages.

I managed to write a very rough translation, I don’t think it’s very good this time round, but it’s just so you know what it is about.

   Since a thousand of stormy years
Courageous people are lasting by the Vistula river
Misery and glory
Partitions and occupation
Fake transformation
Despite the storms, Poland has survived
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
We didn’t disown our motherland
We raised the banner of Poland
Though our freedom was taken away from us
We were sold out at Yalta
But we have survived that too
We ended communism
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!

Meinir Gwilym – “Ar Hyd Y Nos” (All Through The Night).

Maybe you guys remember when I posted some Meinir Gwilym’s songs months ago? I guess it might have even been last year. Anyway. She has much more great music than that. So, as it is late evening here, I thought I’d share this sweet, beautiful lullaby, which you may or may not know, I guess it’s pretty popular and has had some English versions. I am a sucker for very beautiful, Celtic-themed lullabies, and this one makes my brain melt. I’m not including the lyrics since they are in the video.