Finland, music, popular culture

California Blue in Finnish is No Good!

After the new found passion for the works of Chris Isaak, I stumbled upon Roy Orbison on Spotify. California Blue is one of the tunes framing my early childhood in the Finnish countryside. I didn’t actually realize that the successful album ‘Mystery Girl’ was released as late as 1989 (just a couple of months after Orbison passed away, sadly). I somehow connected Orbison to the early sixties – which was the commercial peak of his career, indeed.

Lately I have absolutely fallen for Orbison’s unique and soft voice that is ageless and somehow very passionate, yet in the most respectable way. Also, based on his shy charisma, Orbison seems like a super nice and sympathetic person. (Correct me if I am wrong.)

Here’s the lyrics of the hit ‘California Blue’ – which seems like rather a contradictory title since California seems like a warm and exotic place. Definitely something you’d go spend your honeymoon or start your family life in. Being blue on the other hand feels rather cold – like a winter night or a thick blanket of glittering snow? How can you be depressed and sad in place with almost a tropical climate, though?

California blue

Dreaming all alone

Nothing else to do

California blue

Everyday I pray I’ll be on my way

Saving love for you

California blue

One sunny day

I’ll get back again

Somehow, some way

But I don’t know when

California blue

California blue

However, the Finnish lyrics for the song pretty much ruin everything for me. I’m not a linguist but I tried to make a direct translation of the  for you below:

In the time of full moon

Underneath the ash tree

You stand by my side

You belong only to me

Do you remember the secret island?

And the kiss

We did it

Underneath the ash tree

In the time of the full moon

Not to mention the singer Kari Tapio’s victorious emphasis on the fact that they completed the deeds. OMG. Sounds like penetrative heteronormative outdoor sex in a romanticized and exoticized surroundings to me.

Where the meaning of the original English version is tied to Orbison’s gentle voice singing about his sadness (and fidelity) over the distance for the significant other, the Finnish version is basically about a bored, wear-out worker’s lust for sex. Good job in translating the romance, dudes!



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