Tag Archives: Polish songs

F*** The Asterisks

Just when the residents of Poland could start stopping remembering BDSM sections of their history (for who needs the notion of “nation” today?) – many Polish (headbanging) heads will get reinforced in their probable jingo-pride by bands such as Marduk or Sabaton. That both come from Sweden – to make money on Polishful sentiments — I can’t take their songs as any retribution for what XVII cent.’s Sweden stole from Poles (who had stolen the stuff some time earlier).

The Marduk guys sing (?) about Warszawa of WW2.

Or so they imagine.

(Btw, Lennon’s whining remade into…Imagine there’s no Warsaw, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, it’s just the Reich above would be a better attempt at artistic provocation.) Apres les Suedois le deluge – let’s flood Marduk with condescending smiles. Their lyrics could be just about anything — selling pancakes or seeing funny road signs — as long as the chorus should include “Warschau” (repeat three times). The title is in German (warum? geh figurieren, easier to sing (?) than “Warszawa”, plus the German market is mighty big) — and still some youtubers can’t spell it right. — Warshau? Warshaw? — Tell me about wasted education.

The latter band, Sabaton, is more dangerous – they sing intelligibly.

Be gone! Who in their sane mind cares about “Polish Thermopylae” — especially when no one cares about the Greek original? From a military p.o.v., the song does not sound sound either. Poland was defeated at Wizna. The bodycount ratio “40 to 1” means nothing to Darth Vader – or to Paul Tibbets, a guy who survived (!) to talk about his singlehanded victory (!).

Still, the now masses of Polish ingrammaticados, poor commanders of English, hurry to express their occasional love for Polish CO’s who chose to die of grenadosis. (Compare the evergreen, 0:55-02:55.) It does not matter you’re defeated, it matters how you sustain your defeats, Poles will often think.
“Blow wind, come, wrack! At least we’ll die with harness on our back!”

It nearly rhymes with: “Let stones crack! Let the earth quake!”. Yes, it can be nice to listen to “these words are for you Poland” by Laibach (the German name more catchy again), but do we notice the song hails “all the communists” as well?

So, have we asked for it? Heavy metal and heavy weather?

Recently, Mother Nature has provided parts of Poland with hailbombs and whirlwinds. Which reminded me of not so recent floods. And of the fact that:

That’s what Polish PM’s have to do — apologize for words of reason. It happens when instead of letting the country grow evenly richer, middle-class way – they let the nation divide into the dramatically poor against the dramatically rich, and many chewing on the opium for the masses – the recalling of the days of old glory (of defeats).

PS The title of the post refers to a Giles Coren who used the asterisk-free phrase “Fuck the Poles” in his email, so I read. Test your Polishness now: can you care less?

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(I cannot.)

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A Guide To Songs About Poland, Heavily YouTube Loaded

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There was a time I envied Hungary a bit of a lot:

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Jethro Tull, my band #1 to take to an inhabited tropical island (or wherever my pension is going to take me) gave out a song “Budapest”. Before the ultimate tearing the Iron Curtain off and away, and today, too, to a certain extent, the national pride of Poland had longed for any honourable mentions in Western production. So that we’d know the civilised world knows we’re not a Russian colony with no history or ambitions.

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We would idolise people feeding our starving egos – like Marino Marini, a medium-popular Italian songster with a one-timer in heavily-accented Polish (but damn, the song is so sentimentally kitsch it’s beautiful):

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Or like Classix Nouveaux. (They’ll never never come out of my mobile). The problem with bands like CN was they would requite the love Poles felt for them — but were not recognised too worldly.

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And Poles would probably remind an English or German foreigner some internationally famous tunes may be of Polish origin.

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Or that Polish Roman Polański directed a movie about Polish Władysław Szpilman playing Polish Fryderyk Szopen. If music should not be enough:

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Or that Gazebo would sing “I like Chopin” [but did he mean Chopin vodka?].

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Or that Midnight Oil sing about Kościuszko, though Aussies misspell and mispronounce him and often think he’s just a mount.

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Or we would speak of Charles Bronson, who was Polish (oh really?), and a harmonica virtuoso.

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Or we would be happy Maidens want us to play pray with them:

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Or that they visit our airports.

That they visit our cities.

That they play our football.

That they see our people.

That they attend our weddings.

So that they could say “Na zdrowie”:

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Or that U2 made a Solidarnosc-inspired song (for which Poles would pay back waving their shirts the other time).

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Or Kim Wilde? Long before she was covered in Cambodia by Apoptygma Berzerk, Polish “affectionate people” had covered her with flowers and kisses and kisses and improvised dancing, live, probably to thank her she came to us capable of saying “Cześć” or “Dziękuję”:

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Hey, we even liked strangers when their admiration came through imitation. For example: Vox, the first Polish boys-will-be-boys-band, singing about aloha-sunny-banana way of life when it was grey and communist outside. The song has been kicking arse, amen. And it still kicks, even if in a Czech remake meant for a TV commercial.

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Our hearts soar when someone such as Eddie Vedder speaks Polish (even if it’s read, and it’s B16 Polish more than Polish Polish).

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Yes, our depression could be low.

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So, what more?

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This premiere-league metal musician took Danzig for his alias. (And Danzig is German for Gdańsk. Hurrah!)

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And then there’s Christopher Poland. (What a nice surname!)

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Any common denominator? Considering Chris got himself into metal albums, and that I found heavy bands like these Danes, it seems the natural way you would musically relate to Poland would be loud and clearly hard.

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Type O Negative is a first class metal band, and its core-man is Peter Steele, born Ratajczyk. Just when one could boast his Polish surname, one would learn Peter sings about faeces, or women that cheat on him, that he posed for Playgirl, that he was clinically treated for depression, or that he converted from atheism to Catholicism. Let’s be confused: is it good PR, or not?

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There are exports, too (to boost up our pride aware of them admiring our guys).

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Vader – the best (selling) thing in music from Poland (*).
I still recall the thrill of the time I saw
the first Polish words on MTVfirst Polish words on MTV, a Polish ballet dancer, a Polish power plant, lots of first class loudness in their video. On the other hand, Vader is not a Polish name, the band IS good (while goodness is international) and singing in English. [And how! Uttering loud lines “We await the silent empire” and “We do believe in silence” is clear irony and wit, and they will discuss stuff like for-snobs-only Pynchonisms, with unprecedented speed (try to say “You’d better never antagonize the horn” in 0.8 second).]

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(*) Since that etude thing Chopin wrote. Yes, that borrowing from a prelude by Birkin. The lending to Beyond The Sea. Yes, the song in American…Or’s it English?…French?…Or Corsican French?…Or French-English on Japanese tv? — It’s all one, anyway.
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Anyway. Jethro Tull went on with “Budapest” for 10 minutes long and more. This could hurt the national pride of a non-Hungarian. Despite the fact Poles and Hungarians have been considered “brethren”. (We don’t speak our brother’s language, we don’t see one another too often, we hardly shared borders. Yes, warm feelings are feasible.)

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Granted, Jethro Tull mentions Poland alright (“the beat of distant Africa or a Polish factory town”) but that’s not quite what I’d expect. I mean — where’s a song entitled “Warsaw”?

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Well, I’ll tell you where.

Joy Division.
Porcupine Tree.
David Bowie (with Brian Eno).

Plus Tangerine Dream (with Poland) ?
Plus Niemen in French?

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Not often a place earns a Babylonian god’s song with German title, English words, Swedish voice.
Not always a madam’s cul in that place gets a mention in a French song, Belgian voice, first verse.
Not bad. Not bad at all.

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PS But now I am going to listen to Laibach. Whose “words are for you, Poland”, says the third sentence, and the beginning rings the bell in its unmistakenly Polish way.

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I can’t dance, I can’t sing.

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