Very exciting – first post to my first blog.
For absolutely no reason I can think of I have been renewing my acquaintance with Men Without Hats, Canadian masters of bilingual synth-pop from the early 1980s. The wonders of downloading music, I tell you. Consider this from the track “I got the message” on their album “Rhythm of Youth”:
I got the message and the message is proof
There really is a thing they call the rhythm of youth
It will pick you up and it will make you wiggle this way
Et c’est facile a dire and it’s easy to say.
For you, maybe. But strangely the song goes on:
They got a thing they call the rhythm of life
It says to settle down and get a dog and a wife
And everybody’s doing it all over the land
Oh oui je ne comprends pas, yes I don’t understand.
And why should you? Surely the two notions are incompatible: rhythm of youth and rhythm of life, yet the song clearly equates the two. The way both excerpts are sung at exactly the same tempo and with exactly the same emphasis shows that they are clearly part and parcel of the same bigger picture. MWH are making a searing statement about the universality of the life experience, or possibly, what happens to your mind if it snows too much during a Canadian winter and you don’t go outside for months.
Note also the utility of bilingualism. Who needs to fill in with nonsense words to make a line scan or to force a rhyme when you can just drop into another language? Men Without Hats, we salute you.