In France

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Sep 07, 2018, 09:50 AM

I wrote this, thinking it was pretty clever, only to find that half the people who have heard it have no idea what it’s about, which somewhat defeats the point. The other half might just be pretending to get it. Knowing that the denizens of SW101 are famed for their intelligence and perceptiveness, I’m posting it here with the question, “Does anyone get what the heck I’m singing about?”

Aside from that, all comments and suggestions welcome, as always. Here’s the link:

https://soundcloud.com/themysteriousbeings/in-france/s-bpXsn


IN FRANCE

Through a gap in the shutters the morning sun
On her dress thrown over a chair
She opens her eyes with a sleepy smile
He strokes her long brown hair
The curve of hips, a touch of lips
“Je t’aime,” she softly says
“Je t’aime aussi,” he whispers.
She lays her head on his chest

For as long as he can he holds her close to his breaking heart
Too soon he feels her slipping away
And he opens his eyes to the woman lying beside him
Thousands of miles away

Half-drawn blinds, the dying day
Together, but so far apart
He wants to speak, but what can he say
To reach out and touch her heart
He gets up from the couch, opens the door
She doesn’t look up from her phone
He stands on the porch in the warm night air
Eyes closed, no longer alone

As, just for a moment, he holds her in his longing arms
Gently he takes her by the hand
Through the sleepy streets to a cafe down by the river
In that dimly remembered far off land

BRIDGE
These days she’s not the kind to want much in the way
Of hugs or affectionate words
But this house they haunt, never touching
Is the loneliest place in the world

So, just for a moment, he holds her in his longing arms
Gently he takes her by the hand
Through the sleepy streets to a cafe down by the river
In that dimly remembered far off land

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Sep 07, 2018, 11:04 AM

If I understand it or not, I love the lyrics. Very melancholic, very romantic. It’s his memory, I think, of the great time when their love was fresh. Now it has gone stale (“and he opens his eyes…) and 2nd verse), but he holds on to his memory. Wonderfully written. “Through the sleepy streets to a cafe down by the river In that dimly remembered far off land” - I love that line.

It reminds me of my song “Good morning, love” (that no one understood) where she is dead (which is hinted at in the bridge, but only stated in the last verse) and he remembers or rather relives their time together:

Good morning, love
I bring the morning tea
and eggs for you and me
some jam, some toasted bread
let’s break the fast in bed
Good morning, love

Good morning, love
now that the day’s begun
let’s greet the morning sun
let’s seize the brandnew day
in our private way
Good morning, love

Good morning, love
I’ve put some music on
I chose your favorite song
a tune to soothe the soul
like a mental stroll
Good morning, love

now I am standing here, confused
and if you asked me how I feel
I’d have to say “somewhat unreal”

Good morning, love
in my fantasy
I still see you and me
sitting side by side
in the first morning light
Good morning, love

Bernd
good lyricist, mediocre songwriter, lousy musician;
likes rock, writes for anybody anyway
http://bernd-harmsen.com

 
     
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Bernd Harmsen Joined May 31, 2009
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Sep 07, 2018, 11:34 AM

Spot on with the meaning of the lyric, Bernd! Go to the top of the class.

I think it’s slightly clearer when you listen to it than read it, but that could be my imagination.

[ Edited: 07 September 2018 11:36 AM by Gavin Sinclair]
 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Sep 15, 2018, 09:11 AM

Bernd, I’m always in awe of how you are able to write such good, natural sounding lyrics in a language that is not your mother tongue. Did you post this in its own thread a while back?

I really like your lyric. It reminds me a bit of a very condensed Alan Bennett monologue. I kind of hear his voice when I read it.

I’ve made one or two suggestions based on my feeling that it should be as conversational as possible. He’s talking to her as if she’s still there, in the easy, natural way he always spoke to her.

Good morning, love
I’ve made you a cup of tea
and scrambled eggs for you and me
orange juice, jam and bread
We’ll have breakfast in bed
Good morning, love

Good morning, love
now that the day’s begun
let’s greet the morning sun
let’s seize the brand new day
in our private way
Good morning, love

Good morning, love
I’ve put some music on
Listen - your favorite song
a tune to soothe the soul
like a mental stroll
Good morning, love

now I am standing here, confused
if you were to ask me how I feel
I’d have to say “it’s a bit unreal”

Good morning, love
in my fantasy
I still see you and me
sitting side by side
in the first morning light
Good morning, love

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Sep 16, 2018, 12:56 AM

Hello Gav,

Very wonderfully written, kudos on the imagery.  You are right though it is clearer reading and listening.  The dead giveaway was in the first chorus, so goes love sometimes.  Aside from “Je t’ aime” and “Je t’ aime aussi” ( “I Love You” and “I Love You Too” thank you google) nothing else seems to refer to “In France”, thank goodness for literary discretion, lol.  Thanks for sharing Gav, I did enjoy it.  Good luck and best wishes,


Speak soon,

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 
     
Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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Sep 16, 2018, 11:27 AM

Thanks for listening and commenting, Deac. You are the first person who has heard the song and commented that the words of the title occur nowhere in it. I had expected that to be one of the first things people jumped on. It’s normally a no no, but it was deliberate. I thought that the heavy significance of what France represents to the singer would actually be emphasized by the fact that the word never occurs except in the title and is just hinted at by the few words of French, the shutters in the bedroom and the cafe down by the river

I toyed with the idea of having the whispered words “en France” at the end of the second verse and some words of invitation to join him there (in French) at the end, but opted for less is more.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Sep 16, 2018, 09:35 PM

Hello Gav,

I did not mean that it was wrong not to have the title as your hook, in fact this style is becoming more apparent in some indie songs, no problem there, just making and observation, and it does not take away from the song.  Best wishes,


Speak soon,

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 
     
Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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Sep 17, 2018, 08:59 AM
Deacon - 16 September 2018 09:35 PM

Hello Gav,

I did not mean that it was wrong not to have the title as your hook, in fact this style is becoming more apparent in some indie songs, no problem there, just making and observation, and it does not take away from the song.  Best wishes,


Speak soon,

No problem, Deac. I didn’t take it that way and wouldn’t have minded anyway if it had been meant as a criticism.

I uploaded a new version with strings on the bridge, joined by an accordion in the last verse (an added layer of “Frenchness” and a bit of variety). Not sure if it works or if it is better with just piano and guitar.
https://soundcloud.com/themysteriousbeings/in-france/s-bpXsn

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Sep 22, 2018, 10:31 AM

Hi, Gavin!

I like this song very much)

I listened to it several times (on different days) and each time I liked it more and more.
Some things usually needs more understanding than others.

The topic is close to me and it resonates with my feelings and memories.

Some things may not be obvious and directly clear but in spite of it people always can feel the message you bring to your songs in some intuitive way.

Great job, thanks for sharing!

[ Edited: 22 September 2018 10:36 AM by Alexey Zhabinsky]
 
     
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Alexey Zhabinsky Joined Aug 01, 2018
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Sep 22, 2018, 09:44 PM

Hi Alexey. Thanks for listening and commenting. Glad you enjoyed it. It’s weird - people seem to either really like this song quite a lot or just find it boring. Not a lot of in-between :)

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Oct 05, 2018, 01:37 PM

A number of people have told me that this song would be better in the first person, so I redid it, replacing “he” with “I.” I’m not sure which version is better, and I’ve spent so long with the song that it’s hard for me to judge, so I’d really appreciate any thoughts and opinions.

New first person version: https://soundcloud.com/themysteriousbeings/in-france/s-bpXsn

Original third person version: https://soundcloud.com/themysteriousbeings/in-france-third-person-version/s-4Z4aw

I also added a little more strings and accordion to both versions.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Oct 05, 2018, 09:25 PM
Gavin Sinclair - 05 October 2018 01:37 PM

A number of people have told me that this song would be better in the first person, so I redid it, replacing “he” with “I.” I’m not sure which version is better, and I’ve spent so long with the song that it’s hard for me to judge, so I’d really appreciate any thoughts and opinions.

New first person version: https://soundcloud.com/themysteriousbeings/in-france/s-bpXsn

Original third person version: https://soundcloud.com/themysteriousbeings/in-france-third-person-version/s-4Z4aw

I also added a little more strings and accordion to both versions.

Hi, Gavin!

I think the first person version is good too.

But as for me, I think that the third person version is better.

As some people say, the first idea that comes to your mind is often the best idea.
(Or maybe it was my first impression of this song? =))

I remember some songs by Bob Dylan (“Simple twist of fate” which I like very much) and it uses storytelling in the third person.
So I think you made the right decision there.

 
     
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Alexey Zhabinsky Joined Aug 01, 2018
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Oct 06, 2018, 02:34 PM

Thanks for the feedback, Alexey. Much appreciated.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Oct 10, 2018, 08:13 PM

Wow. Nicely done Gavin. I really like this a lot.

 
     
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John Evans Joined Oct 01, 2016
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Oct 11, 2018, 10:08 AM
John Evans - 10 October 2018 08:13 PM

Wow. Nicely done Gavin. I really like this a lot.

Glad you liked it, John. Which version did you listen to, first or third person? I’m still trying to decide which to go with.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Oct 11, 2018, 11:22 AM

The first person version. It’s really good Gav.

 
     
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John Evans Joined Oct 01, 2016
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