It has come to my attention that more and more Romanian pop bands/singers/"projects"/entities of the sort entitled "DJ X feat. Flange" are singing their ditties in English. This is a great pity for a number of reasons:
- They almost invariably sound absolutely terrible. This is nearly, but not quite, universally true for all bands. Sing in your native language, and it sounds good. In English (unless of course that is your first language) and it nearly always sounds like vomit-inducing pap. To give the worst example, I really truly advise you NOT to click on this link and hear the absolute awfulness of "Lovely Smile" from late last year. If you ignored me and are now cleaning up this morning's breakfast, well, you should listen. The only non-native speaker of English and get away with it is Shakira, and she gets away with it because, well, she could get away with more or less anything I think.
- Romanian is a language that really works well in song. It's a great shame to sing in simplified sickly English when something about the rhythms and rhymes of Romanian make it such a good language for songs.
Yet despite these compelling reasons (yes I know that's only 2, but 2 is a number), more and more bands are opting for the Euro-beat stylings of songs about lahv and sexy gaehls. It's quite depressing and has meant that recently I have switched radio stations in the car to one that plays a slightly older mix.
Now, it's quite possible (if indeed anyone happens across this blog after so long away) that someone is going to point out that for a Romanian band to make it big (or at least sell a few records in Belarus or Latvia) they have to record in English, but I would counter that by pointing out that the biggest and most successful Romanian record of recent times (and quite possibly ever in history) was Dragostei din Tei (which you may know as "that Numa Numa Yay song") , which was sung - yes - in Romanian. So ha. That's stumped you, no doubt.
In an interesting aside (well interesting to me, at least), while Romanian is a language which sounds really good in song, yet Romanians seem hell bent on singing in English, Hungarian, which really isn't a good language for singing, seems to go the opposite way around. Very rarely do Hungarian bands sing in English (in fact I only know of two examples, the utterly risible Speak, and the really very amusing and good "Hello Tourist" by Emil Rulez - and the latter is in English for a good reason). Indeed not only do Hungarian bands not sing in English, but they actually go the extra mile and translate English (and other) songs into Hungarian and repackage them. Which is taking the dubbing obsession a stage too far.
As an aside to that aside, while Hungarian doesn't really work in song to my mind (or to my ear), it works absolutely superbly in poetry. Something about the staccato rhythms of it really make poetry sound fantastically rhythmic and intense. You don't even need to know a word of Hungarian to appreciate it in my opinion - listen to this Petofi Sandor poem, for example, or this by Arany Janos