Covering your own song in a different language

Came here to post this. Euphoria Morning is inexplicably underrated, probably my favourite thing Cornell ever did.

I think it’s more common for people to re-record things in English in order to access the
US and English markets. English acts doing songs in foreign languages seems to have been quite a common commercial exercise in the 60s but these days it’s more of a gimmick. It’s those gimmicky ones I like.

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doesn’t Grimes sing Scream in Russian, as she can’t speak Mandarin, or something?

Oh yeah that reminds me they did an ace Italian version of Pocket Calculator.

There’s a Japanese version of Pocket Calculator of course

The weird thing about Kraftwerk is that having grown up with the English versions it’s the German versions that sound exotic to me. I’ve come to really prefer them.

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Placebo doing ‘Protect Me from What I Want’ in French

Foxing did Nearer My God in French



And Japanese (the best version)

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Lovely stuff.

Tindersticks - No More Affairs

Think it used to be common practice up until the 90s (maybe still is) for bands to sing alternative language versions due to the restrictions on national radio in France, Spain etc. where they have to play a percentage of music in their native tongue. Some bands realised they could get more play by offering a version that complied with the national law.

Brian Molko is a fluent French speaker, which is a fact I file alongside Nick Clegg being fluent in Dutch.

And Andrew Eldritch speaking French, German, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Serbo-Croat.

Also John Grant (German, Russian, Spanish and Icelandic)

So, the English versions are the foreign covers? They also did the whole of the second album in English and Icelandic versions.

The Icelandic versions are really interesting, especially if you’re very familiar with the English versions (as with the German versions of the Kraftwerk albums) but they’re not in a foreign language so far as the band are concerned are they?

No, but the English versions are in a foreign language (as far as the band are concerned.)


Metronomy did Heartbreaker in French

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Apparently it’s ‘All Alone’ which is a pretty interesting lyrical decision

It fits the mood of the song but must mean they basically changed the whole thing. Which is fine of course.

It’s pretty bold when translators do that with songs, I first got to know Brel’s Je Me Quitte Pas from the various versions of the Rod McKuen translation If You Go Away (most notably Scott Walker’s version) and never really thought about the translation until I hear Momus’s version of his own (much more true) translation Don’t Leave. If You Go Away is a beautiful song in its own right, of course, but has a completely different meaning (conditional, sad and rueful) to the desperate, almost humiliating pleading of the original.

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