I’ll have your baby anyway: Sally Folk

The rest mostly make me think about shooting myself–in a *good* way.

What surprises Americans: when I tell them how much, in general, the French love our country.  But, the complaints about all of the English language used in France… The movie subsidies… The laws about how much French-language music has to be played on the radio…  They miss what seems to me the obvious inference: the government support for French cinema, the laws requiring that at least some French-language music show up on the radio, the complaints (from almost no one) about the invasion of the English language–they’re all there because the French love to mix some English with their daily language, because they love American movies, because they know American music better than I do (I’m an American).  The “cultural exception” that allows the French government to financially promote French films and music is there precisely because left to their own devices, many French will consume American entertainment media almost exclusively, and the indigenous entertainment industry would croak (slang for “die”–maybe equivalent to crever?).  No stereotype is true of everyone–but, this one applies to a lot of French people.

sally-folk-deuxieme-acteThe latest evolution of the laws regarding French-language music on French radio: you can’t just play the same French-language songs over and over again.  Radio stations are required to play a certain percentage of French music.  Many stations have tended to fulfill that requirement by just playing the same classics repeatedly, which makes no one happy.  The radio stations’ excuse: there just isn’t that much good new French-language music.

This is bullshit.  Quebec is at the center of a number of the interesting things happening with respect to French, and one of them is music.  There are some really good–amazing, even, to my ears–Québécois musicians putting out new albums all the time.  I would categorize (’cause us French do love to taxonomize shit) them roughly as follows:

  • singer-songwriters
  • “folk” musicians
  • straightforward rock-and-rollers
  • pop

Picture source: http://www.lapresse.ca/arts/musique/entrevues/201503/20/01-4854035-sally-folk-deja-au-deuxieme-acte.php

One of the most interesting of the singer-songwriters: Sally Folk.  She is an ineffably adorable pint-sized brunette who rocks a 1960s glam/girl-group look.  A couple of her songs are the sort of perky, happy tunes that you might expect from someone who looks like that–and the rest are dark, sophisticated, dark, complicated, dark… Did I say “dark”?  One that stirred up a lot of controversy when her third album recently came out is J’aurai ton enfant quand même, “I’ll have your baby anyway,” in which the narrative voice (is that the term?) talks about how she knows that her guy doesn’t want to have a kid, and the relationship is ending, but she’s gotten pregnant anyway.  On dira aux autres is (as far as I can tell) about a hook-up: on dira aux autres qu’on se connaissait déjà, “we’ll tell the others that we already knew each other.”  Nous sommes heureux infidèles: about an affair, obviously.  I don’t even understand her song La cigogne–my French isn’t that good–but it makes me blue every time I hear it.  (I think it’s maybe about a miscarriage?  Phil d’Ange?)  Certes, j’ai fait quelques erreurs//De jugement comme de pudeur–yep, that’s me alright…  Check ‘er out, and scroll down for the English notes, where we’ll discuss perky, to be left to one’s own devices, and to have one’s druthers.

A rare song that sounds as cheery as Sally Folk looks.  The rest mostly make me think about shooting myself–in a good way.

Try not to think too much about the words in this one–if a better expression of regret has ever been sung, I really don’t want to hear it…

Sally Folk at her “just don’t give a fuck” best (thanks for that expression, L.):

English notes

perky: this adjective can refer to two things, and in those cases, the meanings are quite different.

When it refers to someone’s personality or attitude, it means…well, here are the synonyms from Merriam-Webster:

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 05.10.24…and its antonyms, also from Merriam-Webster:

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 05.12.17

Seems like a pretty positive word, right?  And, it most certainly can be–I strive to always be perky, personally.  But, culturally, it’s a bit more complicated: perky is often used to describe some who is annoyingly activy, airy, animated, bouncy, etc.  Looking up the word on the Sketch Engine web site, purveyor of fine linguistic corpora and the tools for searching them, I see that the adverbs with the strongest statistical associations to perky are:

  1. annoyingly
  2. unnaturally
  3. impossibly
  4. delightfully
  5. relentlessly

Delightfully is, of course, good; annoyingly most definitely is not.

So, that’s the meaning when you’re talking about someone’s personality or attitude.  The other meaning applies in reference to a woman’s breasts.  I just showed you the top adverbs associated with perky–when you look at the top nouns, 9 out of 12 of them refer to a woman’s breasts or nipples, one of them refers to butts, and the other two are probably language processing errors.  If you can’t intuit the meaning in this context, Google perky breasts, but do not, not, not do so at work.

It’s almost 5:30 AM in Australia and I have to talk about the Cold War origins of biomedical natural language processing (who knew?) at 9–and I’m too lazy to write up to have one’s druthers and to be left to one’s own devices.  Disappointed?  Say so in the comments.  Or, even better: write them up yourself!

5 thoughts on “I’ll have your baby anyway: Sally Folk”

  1. In Australia ! How can you survive with your head down like that ? Isn’t it full of blood coming all the way down from your feet ?
    I did not know Sally . Listening to La Cigogne I see how it can be difficult to catch the words for a foreigner . No miscarriage no, she just found she is pregnant and she has no idea which guy is the father “Quand je verrai son visage (the baby’s face) je saurai qui (is the man) . I like the title because in France babies are carried into our gardens by storks, always by night . (Funny I discovered in Egypt babies are carried by camels, but not into non-existent gardens of course) . It is not a sad song at all, she takes the thing lightly . In this song at least .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, wow! I just went back and listened to it again after reading your hints–thanks, man!

    Quand je verrai son visage
    Je serai qui, je gage,
    A manqué de protection
    Lors de nos discussions.

    Quand je verrai son attelage
    Je ferai le parpage (??)
    D’où me tombe ce baluchon

    Changes a lot for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quand je verrai son attelage
      Je ferai le partage
      D’où me tombe ce baluchon
      Sans bonnes intentions .

      The choice of the word “partage” here to say she will distinguish the right one is a bit weak but I guess she did not find a better word in -age for the rhyme .

      Liked by 1 person

    1. “Cent bonnes intentions”to end this sentence has no sensible meaning . You didn’t swim long enough in French waters, less than I supposed . It’s a long way to tip Herr Harry .


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