Thursday, July 28, 2011

Angela Aki–“Creep” and “Kiss from a Rose”

I love Angela Aki for many reasons, not the least of which is because she speaks fluent English. Japanese music likes to throw random English words and phrases into their lyrics with little concern for actual pronunciation or sense. So it’s thrilling to listen to someone who actually can appreciate how powerful it is to properly combine two languages. I’m a long way from bilingual but already I wish there were entire genres of it – movies that switch subtitles to suit the characters, and songs with alternating verses.

What’s also interesting about her translations of English songs is that the lyrics are fairly divergent from the original – but they maintain the same emotional mood. I’m normally a purist, but I’m not going to complain when her versions are so lovely – and well, as we’ve learned, translating things too literally only ends you up in the soup.


I guess there’s no denying that I am very much a child of the 90’s considering how nostalgic I get over Radiohead – and my not-so-inner emo-teen still is moved by “Creep,” as well as the cover by Belgian girls’ choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers:

“I don't care if it hurts.
I want to have control.
I want a perfect body.
I want a perfect soul.”

which will now, for better or worse, forever be associated with the emotional distancing of Facebook because of The Social Network.

“I want you to notice when I’m not around.”

“I don’t belong here.”

And then there’s Angela Aki’s cover, which I can only think of as more of a love-song to someone else and less of a hate-song to oneself. But I can hardly be surprised that she would make it more hopeful, considering her other works.

You are the only color
In the monochrome world where I live.
You are the subject of the picture
Whenever I shut my eyes.

I'm a creep.
You don’t know
My existence,
My secret.

From the milk of your skin,
To the honey of your smile,
I want to swim in the universe
On the other side of your lips.

You brush your hair up
And it shines in the light.
An angel on earth,
Grant me mercy.

I'm a creep.
I see nothing but you,
My hell,
My secret.

He’s running out again.
He’s running out.
He’s run, run, run, run, run.

In the depths of delusion, I called your name
It reached reality, it reached you.

But I’m a creep,
I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

He’s running out again.
He’s running out.
He’s run, run, run, run, run.
‘Cause I’m a creep.


And now, to delve even further back in my slightly embarrassing musical past, Seal’s Kiss From a Rose. I mean, really.


Here I figure Angela is perfectly at rights to translate it anyway she wants, because it doesn’t make sense even in English.


I saw you in the midst of the flames,
The battlefield where love burnt to ash.
Holding the gold sword of self-confidence,
Time stood still
As you came near me.

Baby, I cried out for mercy.
My white flag already raised.
If I am to die from love,
Kill me with a kiss.

I have lived like a traveler.
My heart had no lodging, but, baby,
The place I finally wandered to
Is the land called you,
Where the red rose of passion
Takes root and blossoms.

Baby, finally I surrender to you.
My white flag already raised.
If I am to die from love,
Kill me with a kiss.

With a kiss from you,
With a glance from you,
My body catches fire
And burns to ash.

There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say.
You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain.
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny.
Won't you tell me, is that healthy, babe?
But did you know, that when it snows, my eyes become enlarged
And the light that you shine can be seen.

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grave.
The more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah.
Now that your rose is in bloom, a light hits the gloom on the grave.

If I am to die from love,
Kill me with a kiss.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the translation for the Japanese lyrics of "Kiss from a Rose". By the way though, it's not "I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grave." It's "on the grey". It has been alleged that the song is essentially about love replacing a drug addiction, but more generically it can be seen as a song where someone comes in and becomes the light in someone's dark life. (A kiss from a rose on the grey. ;) )

"There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea." (He's falling apart/depressed/whatever.) "You became the light on the dark side of me." (These opening lines alone basically translate the chorus.)