Thursday, January 10, 2008

Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais

On sait que le francais est une tellement jolie langue. Le chanson de Serge Gainsbourg "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais" est un exemple des paroles qui sont à la fois tristes et délicats, et bien sûr très belles, qui soivent possible seulement en francais (ou en italien). This is due in part to the advantage of every syllable in the language ending in an -eh sound.

Mais, remarquez que the version translated and performed by Will Sheff of Okkervil River on their Golden Opportunities Mixtape (available free at their website - and highly recommended as long as you delete the song "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear") is so fraught with emotion that I think it trumps any french version of the song I can find on The french may be more beautiful as a lyrical poem, but Sheff really nails it with his delivery, as well as a really commendable translation which displays a bit of artistic license even before he shifts gears into "96 Tears."

A moment on the translation: Will did a couple of pretty cool things. One, he wasn't overly literal in the translations, which allow his english lines to sound natural and emotional. He pretty much got the gist of a phrase and translated not just the subject, verb and predicate, but also the feeling involved. Notably, in the french Serge writes "oui je t'aimais, oui, mais", which Will translates as "you ask me 'did I love you?', well I loved you, ok?" Nicely done. Same idea. Different words. Equally poetic and angsty. Also - my favorite move - Sheff used the same rhyming syllable. Note that French "en vais" rhymes with "away." Nice idea to take that and run with it.

Écoutez le chanson attaché ci-dessous. Et allez chercher les autres chansons de cette "mixtape". April Anne est un chanson aussi magnifique.

I Came Here To Say I'm Going Away

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