Translating cheesy Italian pop songs

Today, for some semblance of Italian self-education or compiti (homework), I’m going to try and translate the lyrics of this song they keep playing on the radio.

Thank you Ram Power 102.7FM for getting this one stuck in my head.

I can almost feel my music taste getting shifting, uncomfortably.

The inner me dismisses this one as deeply naff, like a kind of Italian Coldplay – a band that, well, no male should be listening to or enjoying, especially not if they’re beyond adolescence.

The song in question is ‘Tappeto di fragole’ by Modà. Check out the official video:

See, a girl, singing along. It’s for girls. And they leap around in their stadium like rockers, when they’re playing pop that by no stretch can be called rock. Other than by Wikipedia, which may well be down today to protest SOPA, but isn’t as comprehensively down in Italy. So the Italian page, translated by Google for me, says “The fashion are a band pop rock Italian .” [very much sic.]

And yet, my inner me isn’t entirely prevailing here. I kinda like it, as an exercise in cheesily emotive power pop pap, with lyrics I really can’t follow. All I could get initially was that he’s singing about strawberries, fragole. A carpet (tappeto) of them, in fact.

Here are the full lyrics:

Resto fermo tra le onde
mentre penso a te,
fuoco rosso luce e rondine..
tra le foglie soffia
un vento molto debole,
nel frattempo un fiore
sta per nascere..

eccoci qua,
a guardare le nuvole
su un tappeto di fragole..
come si fa,
a spiegarti se mi agito
e mi rendo ridicolo..

tu parlami e stringimi
oppure fingi di amarmi,

in una foto un po’ ingiallita
è tutto quello che ho,
e non capisco se ridevi o no..
qui trafitto sulla terra
steso me ne sto,
aspettando di volare un po’..

eccoci qua.
a guadare le nuvole
su un tappeto di fragole..
come si fa,
a spiegarti se mi agito
e mi rendo ridicolo,

tu parlami, stringimi
oppure fingi di amarmi
x2

And here is my terrible attempt to render them into English:
I remain still in the waves
While I think of you,
Firelight and swallows
Among the soft leaves
A gentle breeze
While a flower
is opening.

(Ooh boy, I could sense it was cheesy, but that is truly cheese-tastic. Even in bad English translation.)

And here we are
Watching the clouds
On a carpet on strawberries
How it is
I tell you how you make me feel.
And I make a fool of myself.

(? Hm. Dunno. Those reflexives and pronouns really mess me up. Sorry. Plus come si fa is an idiomatic expression so probably needs an English idiomatic expression, but I’m not sure which.)

You talk to me and hug me
Or you pretend to love me.

(I think. How sad. Boo hoo.)

In a yellowing photo
Is everything that I have
And I don’t understand why you were laughing o no
Who I pierce on the ground [??]
I lie down [???]
I am waiting to fly a bit.

(Sorry that lost me completely. With only basic Italian, it’s hard to a] understand the idiomatic usage and b] render that into viable, idiomatic English. Anyway, avanti!)

Oh, that’s it. Now it’s just the chorus again –

And here we are
Watching the clouds
On a carpet on strawberries
How it is
I tell you how you make me feel.
And I make a fool of myself.

– and the funny little extra chorus element, no idea what the technical term is –

You talk to me and hug me
Or you pretend to love me.
x2

Now I can sing along, in English! Maybe.

And apologies to anyone who’s offended by my jovial cynicism, good-humoured sarcasm, possible sexism, or general benign maligning of Modà.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Learning Italian, Main thread, Rome

2 responses to “Translating cheesy Italian pop songs

  1. Firm rest between the waves while task to you, red fire light and rondine. between the leaves it blows a wind much weak person, meantime a flower it is in order to be born. eccoci here, to watch clouds on a carpet of strawberries. like it is made, to spiegarti if I churn myself and I become ridicule. you speak to me and you tighten to me or you pretend to love to me, in a a little yellowed photo it is all the one which I have, and I do not understand if you laughed or not. here trafitto on the earth spread me I am some, waiting for to fly a little. eccoci here. to guadare clouds on a carpet of strawberries. like it is made, to spiegarti if I churn myself and I become ridicule, you speak to me, you tighten to me or you pretend to love to me

    utter cheese would be a good description 🙂

  2. Daniel

    Thanks Andy. Awesome job Babelfish. Almost makes my human effort seem poetic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s