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I've always loved Italian music and have been learning the language. (That's just for anyone new here).

Much Italian music is composed of metaphors. It is literally like poetry. Translating it is.. interesting. "I know what it says. What does it mean?"

Even pop music. It's a culture thing.

I have weekly lessons with a tutor in Verona and we use music to explore Italian culture and Italy - then, and now.

As we work through the lyrics, I can for the most part translate to English but then there's the secondary stage where you work out the meaning and intention.

An example - "Fino all'imbrunire" - literally, "end of dusk" - here, dusk is a metaphor for innocenza, or innocence. The lyrics are great. Even if you know no Italian the power of this song and imagery give it away.

And I would like to be able to send back something in English which is similar. But I can't think of very much.

I don't mean obvious crap (sorry, fans) like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". It's not a metaphor when it's bluntly obvious what it refers to even if the meaning was missed by people at the time (how?).

Really stuck here. Can you think of any English language songs which are strongly metaphor-based?

 

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I don't think this is quite what you mean Mark, though it is technically "strongly metaphor-based".

I will have a think.

 

On the fourteenth of May at the dawn of the day
With my gun on my shoulder to the woods I did stray
In search of some game if the weather proved fair
To see could I get a shot at the bonny black hare
Oh, I met a young girl there with her face as a rose
And her skin was as fair as the lily that grows
I says "My fair maiden, why ramble you so?
Can you tell me where the bonny black hare do grow? "
Oh, the answer she gave me, her answer was "No
But it's under me apron they say it do grow
And if you'll not deceive me I vow and declare
We'll both go together to hunt the bonny black hare"
Well, I laid this girl down with her face to the sky
And I took out my ramrod and my bullets likewise
I says "Lock your legs round me and dig in with your heels
For the closer we get, oh, the better it feels"
The birds they were singing in the bushes and trees
And the song that they sang was "Oh, she's easy to please"
I felt her heart quiver and I knew what I'd done
Says I "Have you had enough of my old sporting gun?"
Oh, the answer she gave me, her answer was "Nay
It's not often young sportsmen like you come this way
And if your powder is willing and your bullets play fair
Why don't you keep firing at the bonny black hare? "
"Oh, my powder is wasted and my bullets all gone
My ramrod is limp and I cannot fire on
But I'll be back in the morning and if you are still here
We'll both go together to hunt the bonny black hare"

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Posted (edited)

An example..

 

 

Who lives in a shack, who sweats the salary?
who loves the love and the dreams of glory
who steals pensions, who has poor memories
who eats once, who pulls to the target
who wants the pay raise, who plays in Sanremo
who carries the glasses, who goes under a train
who loves the aunt, who goes to Porta Pia
who finds discount, like those have found

na na na na na na na na na
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh,
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh, uh uh…
 
Who dreams of millions, who gambles
who plays with the strings, who made the Indian
who makes the farmer, who sweeps the courtyards
who steals, who fights, who made the spy

na na na na na na na na na
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh,
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh, uh uh…
 
Who is hired by the Mint, who has misfired
who has an inner crisis, who digs into the hearts
who reads the palm, who reigns supreme
those who sweat, those who fight, those who eat once
those who miss the house, those who live alone
those who take very little, those who play with fire
those who live in Calabria, those who live in love
who made war, who take until sixty
who make it to eighty, who die at work

na na na na na na na na na
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh,
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh, uh uh…
but the heavens are always bluer
 
Who is insured, who has been fined
who owns and has had, who goes to the chemist
who died of envy or of jealousy
who has it wrong or right, who is Napoleon
who shouts, “a thief!”, who has the burglar alarm?
who has made a beautiful painting, who writes on the walls
who acts on instinct, who has lost, who has won
who eats once, who wants a raise
who changes the boat to happy and content
who, as he found, who all in all
who dreams of millions, who gambles
who leaves for Beirut with a billion in his pocket
who has been fined, who hates the Southerners
who sings Prévert, who copies Baglioni
who makes the farmer, who made the spy
who died of envy or jealousy
who reads the palm, who sells trinkets?
who writes poetry, who pulls the nets
who eats crisps, who drinks a glass
who only occasionally, who every night..
 
na na na na na na na na na
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh,
but the heavens are always bluer, uh uh, uh uh, uh uh…
 
Edited by DTMark
Ah, that's what terroni means ;)

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This one may be famnus but certainly hits the mark, um Mark.

 

 

The Windmills Of Your Mind

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind

Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving in a half-forgotten dream
Like the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind

Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that you said?
Lovers walk along a shore and leave their footprints in the sand
Was the sound of distant drumming Just the fingers of your hand?

Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragment of a song
Half-remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning to the colour of her hair!
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind

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Posted (edited)

 

Apologies, just re-read your post and you said metaphor.

PS Suppose "damaged goods, send them back"  is a metaphor for how relationships have been devalued.

Edited by Fischer

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No, don't apologise ;)

It's the - shall I call it - Shakespearian angle that I'm looking for.

OK, the song I posted above with the lyrics isn't quite up to his standards; Shakespeare was a genius (and since it's old English, his grammar patterns are actually quite similar to modern-day Italian which is one of the reasons that it translates well) and some of it still reads a bit like gibberish but it has something of merit about it which is out of the ordinary.

With a better understanding of Italian culture then and now, that song does indeed make sense for the most part (which will be why my tutor picked it out - I want more than just language skills). 

I never really had the patience for poetry at school (does anyone?) but as I've grown older, I've come to appreciate the multiple "levels" and the beauty of language.

It does embarrass me that I can't simply flick back some English songs which are similarly lyrically merit-worthy. But then given my musical heritage that's probably not surprising, eh ;)

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How about Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now?

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

Oh but now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From WIN and LOSE and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

 

 

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Home from work our Juliet
Clears her morning meal.
She dabs her skin with pretty smells
Concealing to appeal.
I will make my bed,
She said, but turned to go.
Can she be late for her cinema show?

Romeo locks his basement flat,
And scurries up the stair.
With head held high and floral tie,
A weekend millionaire.
I will make my bed
With her tonight, he cries.
Can he fail armed with his chocolate surprise?

Take a little trip back with father Tiresias,
Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through.
I have crossed between the poles, for me there's no mystery.
Once a man, like the sea I raged,
Once a woman, like the earth I gave.
But there is in fact more earth than sea.

Take a little trip back with father Tiresias,
Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through.
I have crossed between the poles, for me there's no mystery.
Once a man, like the sea I raged,
Once a woman, like the earth I gave.
But there is in fact more earth than sea.

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There I was in uniform
Looking at the art teacher
I was just a girl then;
Never have I loved since then
He was not that much older than I was
He had taken our class to the Metropolitan Museum
He asked us what our favorite work of art was,
But never could I tell it was him
Oh, I wish I could tell him,
Oh, I wish I could have told him
I looked at the Rubens and Rembrandts
I liked the John Singer Sargents
He told me he liked Turner
Never have I turned since then
No, never have I turned to any other man
All this having been said,
I married an executive company head
All this having been done, a Turner, I own one
Here I am in this uniformish, pant-suit sort of thing,
Thinking of the art teacher
I was just a girl then;
Never have I loved since then
No, never have I loved any other man

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On 4/6/2018 at 00:22, DTMark said:

It's the - shall I call it - Shakespearian angle that I'm looking for.

Peggy Lee's "Fever" has a compelling simplicity, powerful imagery, and even has an actual Shakespearean verse:

Quote

Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet, she felt the same
When he put his arms around her 
He said, "Julie, baby, you're my flame

"Thou giveth fever
"When we kisseth
"Fever with thy flaming youth
"Fever! I'm afire
"Fever, yea, I burn, forsooth."

 

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that's so hard to bear

You give me fever
When you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever! in the morning
Fever all through the night

Sun lights up the daytime
Moon lights up the night
I light up when you call my name
And you know I'm gonna treat you right

You give me fever
When you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever! in the morning
Fever all through the night

Everybody's got the fever
That is something you all know
Fever isn't such a new thing
Fever started long ago

Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet, she felt the same
When he put his arms around her 
He said, "Julie, baby, you're my flame

"Thou giveth fever
"When we kisseth
"Fever with thy flaming youth
"Fever! I'm afire
"Fever, yea, I burn, forsooth."

Cap'n Smith and Pocahontas 
Had a very mad affair
When her daddy tried to kill him
She said, "Daddy, oh, don't you dare!

"He gives me fever
"With his kisses
"Fever when he holds me tight
"Fever! I'm his missus
"Daddy, won't you treat him right?"

Now you've listened to my story
Here's the point that I have made
Chicks were born to give you fever
Be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade

They give you fever
When you kiss them
Fever if you live and learn
Fever! till you sizzle
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn

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