Le Moribond - Beirut
Now for a Jaques Brel song in its original French. One of the most successful singles of all time was the saccharine "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks which is a translation of Brel's Le Moribond.
Brel's song is the farewell of a man who knows he is soon to die, and while he ostensibly is saying goodbye to his wife and others he is also castigating her and them for their behaviour which, he implies, was less than honourable. Yet the tune also expresses the joie de vivre and devil may care attitude of a man who lived his life to the full and has no regrets. The song is a brilliant mix of sadness and a celebration of life, amply emphasised in the finale of this version by Beirut which seems to come straight out of the last moments of a summer dance somewhere in a Provencal village a little before midnight.
Of course "Seasons in the Sun" missed the point and feeling of the song by a country kilometre.
Je veux qu'on rie Je veux qu'on danse Je veux qu'on s'amuse comme des fous Je veux qu'on rie Je veux qu'on danse Quand c'est qu'on me mettra dans le trou
I want everyone to laugh, I want them to dance I want them to have a fun like madmen I want them to laugh and I want them to dance And to have a great time when they put me in the hole.
(You see, life's a bit more complicated than that Terry.)