A Penny for your Songs (2) - A Handy Guide to the Human Psyche

in music •  last month 

Week 2

Hey guys.
Last week, emboldened by the wisdom of some Steemit users, I started this little series of weekly posts where I will share some songs with the community that have that special extra meaning to me, and ideally give you people a space to do the same.

Although, as it was kinda predictable for a measly plankton such as myself, the post wasn't exactly what I would call popular, I was extremely happy with the result, as those feelings and meanings that I wanted to let out became, indeed, the means to create a connection, and to share a part of what makes me me.

Less whining, more pondering

This week I would like to go in a slightly different direction, though. I don't really feel like ruining someone's weekend over some overly sad song from my past. I'd rather leave that for some other time (of that, we have plenty). So instead I will share something that had a huge impact on my mind, my way of thinking and seeing myself.

During this week I had an interesting conversation with another Steemit user (guess who? @honeydue ! Not my fault if we keep having interesting conversations, sorry. And it rhymes, yo!) about listening to the voices in our heads and identifying the threads that drive us to act the way we do. This immediately brought to my mind an album that I've been listening over and over in the past, and that's responsible for a lot of different things in my mind.

The album is called The Human Equation, by Ayreon. In a nutshell, Ayreon is the project of one guy, called Arjen Lucassen, who composes these long progressive rock\metal operas and then invites a bunch of different musicians and singers to perform the various parts in his albums. The result is often very interesting, and I firmly believe The Human Equation to be his masterpiece.

It is the story of a guy (performed by James Labrie, Dream Theater) who finds himself in a coma after having a car accident. As his conscious self wakes up, he finds himself in front of all of his different emotions, personified, and he proceeds to re-live the events of his life leading to his accident with the contribution, or the commentary if you will, of these figures, these emotions. And he learns about himself in the process, of course.

I love this album for two reasons: first, it taught me a lot about who I am and how I process things. It taught me how to identify my instincts, my feelings, those "voices", and it taught me that no emotion is ever really negative, if experienced at the right time and place.
But this album has also been my first translation ever. I liked it so much that I felt the need of translating all of its lyrics to show them to people, and that is part of what led me to do that for a living translating. Of course, the job is not even half as fun as I thought it would be, but what job is, right?

I warmly recommend you to experience the whole thing, when you have some free time, especially if you're into old school progressive stuff (you will find it unbearable if you're not into prog at all). It doesn't really get into metal sounds very often, except in some songs (notably, when Mikael Akerfeldt lets loose his magnificent growl, or when Devin Townsend does...whatever it is that he does). Since I can't really post two albums worth of songs in here, I'll just share the opener (so I won't spoil anything for you), which is by no means the most interesting or pleasurable song of the album.

Of course the voice of Reason is my favorite.

Some slightly trippy stuff

As a little bonus I'll add a song that I've been listening to a lot lately. It's just a relaxing\atmospheric piece, but it has its perks. It will make any vacation day instantly better, it will let you feel lighter and forget about everything you need to do, and it will give you goosebumps every time that guitar kicks in. You'll know what I'm talking about.

What about you? Any songs that helped you understand a little about yourselves or that convinced you to make certain choices in life? Share freely, and have a good weekend.

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Hmm only listened to the first song so far, but will listen to the whole thing when I get a bit more time. From what I've heard, it sound really powerful, though, I get why you like it. It's really creepy, though, while at the same time being really true. We all have voices.

Wow translating a whole album - now that's dedication :D I always find that it's impossible to capture the beauty in a different language, you know? I mean, part of the song's charm is the language it was originally written in, IMO. But cool you did that.

As for posts not getting more recognition, I get it...I would tell you to try and engage more and blah blah blah, but considering the state of this platform, what's the point?

No sweat, albums like that require a particular mood to be enjoyed. If and when you try, I'll appreciate it a lot.

About translating, that's exactly why I like it so much. It's like a puzzle. It requires effort, attention to detail, knowledge. Making the right choice and hearing that figurative "click" when the sentence sounds just right. Of course the more 'poetic' the source text is, the less you're going to be able to make it work in your language, but I guess that's where the challenge lie. In my line of work, rule number one is: there's no such thing as a perfect translation. You just need to find the best way to get as close as possible.
Unfortunately, when someone gives you a translation job, they usually are not able to tell the difference between a good job and a crappy one. So you've got a lot of people out there who just use Google Translate and butcher languages like that. It's painful. But I guess professionalism is lacking in a lot of sectors these days.

I don't know about what the point would be. Right now I'm having fun though, might as well keep going, even if it's more of a one-on-one two-week-long conversation :)

I get it :) It's why I've always stayed away from translation jobs of any kinds, even though I really like foreign languages. It's an art to capture the meaning into a different language, you know? I can count on one hand the truly great translations I've read.

Yeah, guess that's more valuable than a bunch of meaningless comments scattered on different posts :D

And yet, I have a feeling you'd be great at it. Because you would probably ask all the right questions. "What is the author telling me, here?", "What does this word sound like to a native speaker? What feelings does it inspire? How do I translate those feelings for those who speak my language?". I think translation is not just a matter of knowing a language, it's more about understanding the people who speak it. It requires empathy and sensitivity. You've got plenty, don't you.
Then again, you get in the field thinking you're gonna translate the next book by Martin, and you end up with apps, websites and tech manuals. Not much empathy to be had there, I'm afraid :D

It has been valuable to me.

aw thanks :) And yeah, I agree that it's more about the people than the language itself. I don't know, it's weird, I can't think how I'd ever explain Romanian to a non-native, you know? But I guess you're right, if you really want to, I think you can get something pretty decent outta it :D

Then again, you get in the field thinking you're gonna translate the next book by Martin, and you end up with apps, websites and tech manuals.

Do I sense a certain displeasure with one's job? :O just asking.

You can't really explain a language, I think. Not with words, at least. You take a non-native, explain the basics, then it's all about immersion, culture, conversation. At some point you get the hang of how that language makes you "think".
I mean, you're pretty damn good with English, wouldn't you say that when your mind switches you start thinking a bit different?

About my job, I guess it would be long and boring to get into it. But yeah, it's not been great, and to be honest it's not been much. But most of the time I'm in the game with half of my spirit, you know? I'm pretty happy when I work at something good, it just doesn't happen often. I'm not great at advertising, either. We'll see where I land in a few years...I'm not scared of changing stuff up in that area.

I mean, you're pretty damn good with English, wouldn't you say that when your mind switches you start thinking a bit different?

Very good point, you're right. I was actually thinking of that recently, how I write differently in Romanian as opposed to English and why that might be. As you said, it's different thinking. :)

As long as you're okay with it, that's what's important:D