Sunday, March 06, 2005

indeed! it goes away

There's another thing we've lost from LPs. With the advent of CDs and global marketing there are now precious few differences between an album released in different countries. But it wasn't always so.

In the 1980s in Japan LPs were issued with lavish care given to their packaging. Albums that didn't have lyrics published anywhere else were given lyric sheets in English and Japanese. Unfortunately, these were transcribed by Japanese people with often peculiar ideas about their second language.

Using the same attitude toward composition in the english that you find at, some of these varied so wildly from the actual lyrics that not only did they make no sense but they didn't even fit the scan and phonetic structure of the original.

When Julian Cope toured Japan in the 80s he found his album Fried had been given just such a sheet. For the song Sunspots where he does do the now-you-think-of-it-a-bit-odd car noise 'eeeeeow, it goes away' was given as 'Indeed! It goes away'. So to twist things up a bit, he sang the 'indeed' version for the duration of the tour.

The Tom Robinson Band's album Winter of 89 got a sheet with an extra helping of corkers.

In War Baby 'Always stabbing and wounding, only getting my own back' became 'Always stuffed with moor moving and getting your own bag'.

'I don't want to battle you to your feet and your knees and elbows' became 'I don't wanna bother you, you pick new novels'.

'Smooth skin and tenderness long ago on a dark night' became 'Spooks getting tender us in the garden at the dark night'.

On Glad To Be Gay 'Showing their leg through a split in the seams' became 'Show me the legs for I was smitten in the seams'.

'If it's filth and it's fiction it's there in The Sun' became 'Its film, its picture and its married son'.

Atmospherics (Listen to the Radio): 'Throw off your coat, pick up my coat, put another coffee on' became 'Serve your coat he got to know to put another patio'.

Number One 'Had a West End attorney in a jacket and tie' became 'Had a wasting doggy of the juggle tied'.

We Didn't Know: 'Opponents had their phone tapped, and campaigners felt the heat' became 'Upon the Sunday church they can pray this smell of the heat'.

In Martin 'The neighbours all knew us as the terrible twins' became 'The night of all the furious temporary trims'.

And a whole verse of the song goes arseways with

'But Martin never missed a single visiting day / Hitched from Clapham to Crewe / With all me racing mags and little bits of news / Smuggling in ciggies and a little bit of booze'


'But Martin never missed a single falsity die / He is fitted clunching on the clue / With all mean racy men examine a little bad news / Smartly neat sins and a little bit burst.

Bear in mind that these transcriptions were then translated into Japanese, and one has to wonder what kind of record buyer would identify with an artist who had supposedly written such gobbledegook.

My all-time favourite is from The Church's 1988 album Starfish. On the gorgeously languid Lost, Steve Kilbey sings 'It's an exquisite corpse and it's lips are red, and it's teeth are glistening'.

But not according to his Japanese transcriber he's not. They heard 'it's an exquisite corpse and it's lips are red, and it chewed the piss out of me'.

Certainly, someone's having the piss removed from them.


scarletharlot69 said...

merry meet again Merrick

1. Kool! methinks that if a recording does not have a lyrics sheet, i would love it if one was provided.

2. I am "well chuffed" that so many Japenese people have taken the time and effort to learn English

3. It is mega kool that they at least try to translate into English.

4. mega kool as well that they try to transliterate lyrics in a second language for translation into their mother tongue.

5. Engrish brightens up an otherwise dull day. all time classic probably being the stanley knife with safety warning "keep out of children"

blessed be

Bluebell E.

Anonymous said...

julian who?

rite, he's that "Neo Psychedelic" dude...

well according to rolling stone andywayz...

Anonymous said...

should see what they did to the Cocteau Twins!
then again, their interpretation's probably no worse than many...