Tag Archives: music


I explained the reasoning behind my term of unendearment not only because I think it’s important to explain why I’m not crazy about Angers, but also to give you the context necessary to understand the surprise I stumbled upon yesterday evening.

En route to a dinner party, I wandered through the public garden and came across a scene that baffled me. A guy had set up his drums in the gazebo, and was playing what I can only describe as très avant garde. Around him had gathered a small crowd of —dare I say it? can it really be?—French hipsters.

This scene could exist in Minneapolis.

Now, say what you will about hipsters, but I find them to be an indicator species, roughly correlated with the number of interesting & creative people a city has to offer. (I suppose it’s a parabolic function, increasing to a vertex, after which the hipsters are probably too rich to be interesting. For evidence, see Hollywood and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.)

Note the fixed-gear bicycle on the ground. It's only the second time I've seen one in France. (The first was, not surprisingly, in Paris.)

For that reason, I titled the drum solo “Bittersweet Mystery.” These are the sort of people I would have wanted to be friends with all along. Where were they hiding? Why did they wait to come out until I’m about to leave?


Oh, incidentally…

I have another song translation to share.

In two months, I’ve only craved one thing I can’t find here: hoppy, bitter, American ale. In France it’s all yeasty Belgians, and I’m sick of the banana aftertaste that yeasty beers have.


Ma bière goût bananes! B-A-N-A-N-E-S!
Translation: My beer tastes bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Chantons ensemble!

[Author’s note: As I was working on my post about Paris, I allowed myself to get distracted with something I’ve been wanting to post for weeks.]

My dear friend Rosie and I made up a great new hobby. We were inspired by Britney Spears’ guest appearance on Glee, which got her old songs stuck irreparably in our heads. As we cycled into town from our dorm wasteland, we began to translate nonsensical pop songs into French.

If you have ever endeavored to translate songs, you know that there’s a lot to consider: your translation has to fit the music without losing the integrity of the artist’s message. (I think we all know what a shame it would be to obscure Britney’s artistic vision.) I think Rosie and I really have a knack for it. With a little practice, we could be professionals.

So today, dear readers, I thought you might get a kick out of our translations. If you can’t read French, no worries—the best part is that I’ve re-translated our work back into English, just for kicks.

Britney Spears en français (Bretagne le Spears?)
Translations © EJ and Rosie

“Slave 4 U”

Original: I’m a slaaaaave for you
Translation: Je suis toooooon esclave
Re-translation: I am yoooour slave

“Drive Me Crazy”

Original: You drive me crazy / I just can’t speak / I’m so excited / I’m in too deep
Translation: Tu me rends folle / Je ne parle pas / Si passionante / Que j’n parle pas
Re-translation: You make me crazy / I do not speak / So passionate / That I don’t speak

“Oops (I Did It Again)”

Original: Oops / I did it again / I played with your heart / Got lost in the game/
Oh baby, baby / Oops / You think I’m in love / That I’m sent from aboooooove/
I’m not that innocent!
Translation: Hup / Je l’ai fait encore / J’ai brisé ton coeur / Perdue dans un jeux /
O bébé, bébé / Hup / Tu me trouves amoureuse / Envoyé par en hauuuuut /
Je ne suis pas si innocente!

Re-translation: Hup! / I did that again / I broke your heart / Lost in a game/
Oh baby, baby / Hup! / You find me enamored / Sent from aboooove /
I’m not so innocent!

I’m still tweaking a few other translations on my own, so I’ll probably post more some other day, but for now, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to present to you my pièce de résistance, brought to you not by Britney but by HRH Lady Gaga (La Dame Gaga?)

“Bad Romance”

Original: Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah / Roma, roma, ma / Gaga, ooh, la, la / Want your bad romance
Translation: La, la, ooh là là / Hee, hee, hon, hon, hon / Gaga, ooh là là / Romance française
Re-translation: I think this one speaks for itself.