Dec 152014


What if a song you love in a foreign language you don’t understand at all has terrible lyrics? The other day I was listening to “Kungo Sogoni,” by a woman named Nâ Hawa Doumbia. I forget what country she’s from, but I’m pretty sure it’s a country where I wouldn’t be able to make out a word anyone’s saying. I occurred to me: I hope the song doesn’t contain a deal-breaking couplet, like “My love don’t give me presents/I know that she’s no peasant.”


  7 Responses to “Ignorance Can Be Bliss”

  1. diskojoe

    I’ve been getting into 60s French pop/ye ye the past few years, starting w/Francoise Hardy, and I’m usually OK w/the lyrics, although there’s one Francoise Hardy song called “Mon Ami Rose (My Friend the Rose)”, which apparently has her in conversation w/a rose, I think. There’s also a France Gall song that Serge Gainsborg wrote for her that may or may not be about lollipops.

  2. Feliz Navidad amigos!

  3. Maybe you should look at this from another angle: I’m so happy that I can enjoy this music and the emotion in the singer’s voice without the possibility of a lyrical misstep spoiling my whole groove!

    Besides, if you give a really objective listen to “She’s a Woman”, you might actually think that the slightly desperate to “rock out” might just include horrible couplets like that.

  4. 2000 Man

    I don’t listen to music with lyrics in languages I can’t understand very often. I figure if I don’t understand it at all, then I’m not getting it anyways. Either that, or it may as well just all be Hocus Pocus by Focus.

  5. misterioso

    I tend to agree. You are so right, too, that Focus had it figured out: yodeling, be it in Dutch or in English, is truly the universal language.

  6. cliff sovinsanity

    I think a lot sensitive type english speaking Gainsbourg fans would be shocked how sexist were his lyrics.

  7. BigSteve

    Once I started listening to a lot of African and South American music, and I listen to a LOT of that kind of music, I quickly got over caring about not understanding the words. People all over the world listen to English and American music without understanding the words, so I don’t see why it should bother me. I don’t always pay attention to song lyrics even if they’re in English.

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