Ne Me Quitte Pas

Jacques BrelGood morning. I thought we would start with this nice video by French Rescue of Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” As they note, the English translation is meant to be accurate and not poetic. For example, they translate the refrain “Don’t leave me.” They do, however, mention (on the YouTube page) that Dieter Kaiser wrote a more poetic translation with “Don’t forsake me now.” Personally, given the music, I think it works better to translate it, “Do not leave me now.”

I don’t think the lyrics really matter. The listener gets the meaning clearly. Brel’s performance is what really does it. He’s more an actor than a singer. That’s always been the problem when his songs are performed here by pop singers. All the depth and subtlety are ripped out of them. As in this song, I can’t really imagine an American male showing this level of vulnerability. Sure, there’s a lot of faux vulnerability—always with a wink to the audience. But then, Brel was a real man, not one of these pretend American men who are too worried that someone might think they are gay to ever be genuine.

Regardless, Brel is the real deal:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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