Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homonyms: Sherry

The Four Seasons: Sherry


SADS: Sherry


Forty-one years separate these odes to girls named Sherry. The older of the two is by far better known—it was the first number one hit for those Jersey boys, the Four Seasons. The other is less well known (to say the least) outside Japan, by the Kiyoharu-fronted band, SADS. These songs are near-polar opposites except maybe for the vocal idiosyncrasies of each lead singer. The first is one of those early sixties tunes with a catchy pop melody and the world's simplest lyrics: Sherry, can you come out tonight? It implies the budding of a new relationship (or is it only puppy love?). The second is a straight-out rock song full of anguish about the end of a relationship, and okay, I know you can't understand the lyrics, so I'll tell you what the first part says:

Sherry, softly I could hear the goodbye,
Sherry, once upon a time you said to smile,
Sherry, I can no longer see the withered falling flowers,
Sherry, Sherry, Sherry, and you were not here.
(courtesy of Myspace Kiyoharu fan page)

The song ends with some effective repetition of lyrics with one word change:

Kimi ga kureta zetsubou (ushinai/yorokobi/akirame) no uta wo…

Which means: The hopeless (lost/happy/forsaken) song you gave….

My own Japanese consists of only the basics: thank you, good morning, where is the bathroom? But have you ever noticed that when you don't speak a language, certain repeated words pop out at you in songs? When I listen to Brazilian music, I always hear "coração" (heart). I think it's a law somewhere that all songs with Portuguese lyrics must contain it.

In Japanese, in every song I always hear "sayonara." I think that says something.

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