Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Surabaya Johnny


Surabaya Jhonny by Ute Lemper on Grooveshark
This is the marvelous Ute Lemper singing Kurt Weill's Surabaya Johnny and it's my latest brain-worm, i.e., a song that plays over and over in your head. The only way to deal with brain-worms is to treat them homeopathically: I'm playing, singing and whistling this song all day and all bloody night, so that eventually my brain will be utterly pig-sick of it. It's a bugger, really, because so many of my CDs are now like chicken carcasses minutely picked over, endlessly sucked and tasteless. I don't want to hear them again, at least not for a year or two. The flesh regenerates, fortunately. Meanwhile, the acrid, smoky, sweaty tang of this thing! The song manages to sound both sensuous and funereal, all crapulous regret and rage, and Lemper brings to it the perfect balance of inexorable longing and furious contempt for Johnny, their worthless object. A translation here, but Brecht's terse lyrics exploit the hard, consonantal edge of German so expertly, I don't want to hear it in any other language.

2 comments:

Cerdo said...

This is fab! Another wonderfully written article, and again one I wholly identify with! Don't get rid of those CDs though, you come back to them when you least expect to...

Vilges Suola said...

Thanks for commenting, Kris, glad you liked it. Yes indeed, the CDs do come back, Ihave not pitched them.

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