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jawtheshark's Journal: English songs in non-english countries 24

Journal by jawtheshark

While driving, I usually listen to the radio. Either Radio-ARA which is English (from 6h to 24h) which is funny and refreshing, but also RTL Luxembourg which is in Luxembourgish. The latter is very useful to pick up the news so I tuned into it on my way home.

Well, they played "Hotel California" by the Eagles and the DJ commented something along the lines of "How nice it would be to be there now.". Ehm? Do they have even listened to the lyrics? Hotel California isn't a place you want to be ever. It's a nightmarish place, probably referencing to drug addiction (or something more weird like a place in the Twilight Zone).

Yes, I know it's probably their lack of English, but couldn't you at least *try* to understand what it's about? Please? Sure, I understand she probably meant "it would be nice to be in California", but still.

Another example is "Moon Over Bourbon Street" by Sting. (Just popped in my mind, there are others.)

How is it in the English speaking world? Do people actually sing along without understanding what it's about and am I perhaps just a pedant intellectual wannabe? (Okay, those are of course not exclusive *grin*)

Reminds me of this.

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English songs in non-english countries

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  • of EuroVision! ;-)

    However, lots of songs are glossed in their meaning, or completely [amiright.com] misunderstood. [sfgate.com]
    • EuroVision!

      Oh, God... I don't even watch that anymore. It jumped the shark a long time ago!

      However, lots of songs are glossed in their meaning, or completely [amiright.com] misunderstood.

      Reminds me of a German comedian talking about "Annelise Brown" [lyricsbox.com] (Look at the first sentence. If you know a bit German, it might get clear to you).

  • I rarely listen to lyrics. I'm not musically inclined, so its something in the background to me. Couple that with my difficulty understanding lyrics in the first place and... well... I'm from California so yes, i am very much looking forward to going back;-)
    • Okay, makes sense.... But this was a DJ. One would at least expect a DJ to listen to what (s)he plays, no? A DJ is by definition musically inclined.

      I'm from California so yes, i am very much looking forward to going back

      Make no mistake. I'd love to go back to California and show it to my wife. Someday, if our finances allow it. (Okay, they do allow it, but I put priority to saving for a house.) However, going to "Hotel California" isn't the same as checking in into a Best Western. ;-)

      • Out of curioisty, which parts did you visit? I'm from Santa Cruz originally (about ~100 miles South of San Francisco), but have spent much time in the Bay Area and also in the Southern parts. (Los Angeles, Sand Diego, and Santa Barbara.)
        • The Bay Area, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Death Valley (And some others, I need to look it up). On the way back we went to Santa Barbera and took Route 1 North back to San Fransisco. We pretty much stayed north of Los Angeles. No, I did not go to Vegas (I know that's not in California) nor Los Angeles. We only had two weeks.
          • If you swing through the Bay Area again, let me know and I'll buy you a beer (I don't know if it'll compare to what you've got in Europe, but I do like the California micro-brews).

            Oh, and about lyrics, yeah, most people I know who I talk to about music are surprised about what the songs are actually saying. They hear some of the words, but miss the overall meaning most of the time. I don't think it's an ESL thing, I think it's a lazy listening thing (not that you need to know what the lyrics say when you'r
            • It's quite unlikely that I'll be back in California anytime soon. I tried some microbrews in California. Actually, I usually asked for local beers, but that seemed to be one of the strangest questions a tourist could ask ;-)

              Oh, and I said "we" in the post. That was me and my brother [slashdot.org]. Next time it'll be me and my wife of course...

          • An excellent trip it sounds like! I went to UC Santa Barbara for my degree and really liked the area. I also lived in the Bay Area for about 6 years, but there were simply too many people, not enough affordable housing (my 400 square foot studio in the Bay Area was the same price as the mortgage on a 1700 square foot house with .25 acre in Oregon!), and far too much time spent in the car. But there were some good time while i was down there;-)

            If you went by Highway 1 you would have run straight through

            • Well, I'm agnostic on what beverages I drink, though I try to avoid hard alcohol because I don't survive it for long. However, it's unlikely I'll head to the States anytime soon. I'll keep you guys updated though.

              I'm OK with wine, and while I don't care for the affects

              The effects of alcohol affect your behaviour... Catch my drift?

              Oh, and I said "we" in the post. That was me and my brother [slashdot.org]. Next time it'll be me and my wife of course...

              • The effects of alcohol affect your behaviour... Catch my drift?

                I can never remember which is which, so I just mentally alternate them throughout the day;-) I figure that gives me a 50-50 chance of it being right, but I'm not that well with statistics either. :-P

                • Well, look at it this way: with that little easy to remember phrase you now have a way to find out every time you need to decide. Effective method to affect your writing *evil grin*.
                  • Well, look at it this way: with that little easy to remember phrase you now have a way to find out every time you need to decide. Effective method to affect your writing *evil grin*.

                    I think you are overestimating how affective of an effect that will have on me;-) But I had to understand to make the joke- dammit!

  • One of my high school instructors was a major U2 fan, and complained that they played "Beautiful Day" at a wedding without realizing the lyrics weren't appropriate.

    And this is in the Midwest US.
  • The DJ just meant "there" to be California?

  • In my experience (which may not be representative), people in Europe don't seem to consider the content of the song (e.g. whether it's appropriate for the occasion) as strongly as in North America, even when it's in their native language. And it's not just a matter of not paying attention to the lyrics either -- it happens even when the chorus of the song loudly and clearly says something rude/crude. e.g. I've seen and heard of this at business conferences where a song is played as an introduction or betwee

    • Possible, but I do think that it's partially due to language. Over 75% of the songs played here are English. If you do not master the language, you automatically focus on rhythm and tunes. Since we actually do that so much of the time, we also tend to do it with songs that we do understand.

      It's pretty much a conditioning to not needing to understand lyrics. In English speaking countries, this happens far less: they understand by default and are as such not conditioned to focus on something else than th

  • by tuxette (731067) *
    This [youtube.com] is the reason why "singers" should stick to their native language when "singing" (or whateverthefuck it is they do)...

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.

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