Talking Heads were not the first band to record songs about buildings. On his 1973 album, Se o Caso É Chorar , the wildly imaginative Brazilian Tropicalia artist Tom Ze sang about rival Sao Paulo buildings battling each other in "A Briga Do Edificio Italia Com O Hilton Hotel".
Once the tallest building in South America and "the King of Ipiranga Avenue," the Edificio Italia was designed by a German Brazilian architect. Since its completion in 1965 it was a source of pride among Brazilians. The new Hilton Hotel, on the other hand, was decidedly modern, foreign-looking and foreign-owned --a symbol in Ze's eyes--of multi national corporations trying to buy off Brazilians and turn these life-loving people into drones.
On "A Briga Do Edificio Italia Com O Hilton Hotel", Tom Ze has the two buildings trading insults with each other. The Edificio Italia takes the first crack, claiming "that to get so white, the Hilton drinks rice-flour tea, only wears the latest fashion, dresses up right, and if he goes up Consolação (an avenue the two buildings share with the city's oldest cemetery) wearing white, will cause terror even in the cemetery."
The Hilton responds "They’re already calling you Dumb Joe from the corner"... "and what’s more, (The Edificio Italia) only thinks about money.He doesn’t know what love is, he has a body of steel, a robot’s soul."
|The Edificio Italia (center left) and Hilton (center right) together|
The Edificio Italia stomps with rage and gets the last word, insinuating that the Hilton had been born round to call attention " Flaunted those curves to cause a sensation /And even seemed like a crazy girl,/ or the Tower of Pisa dressed up as a bride".
You can get so hooked on the music of Brazil's Tropicalia movement, you may never feel like you need to get the lyrics translated. But there are even more wonderful surprises waiting for you...if you do. That;s why I suggest you check out Brazilian Lyrics in English where I got more of my information for this post.