This is about songs I heard on the radio in the 1970s, as well as samesuch from the Eighties I discovered on YouTube in recent years. Viewers on YouTube share my enthusiasm for those kinds of songs, from that time and place. Representative comments that I’m translating into English:
“Anyone listening in 2020?”
“Everything today stinks in comparison. The five-minute celebrities, the actors with no acting school, the silicone tits, all the rest of that television trash.”
“One has to grow up to get this tune. I’ve heard that song all my life but it’s only now, at forty, that I consider it a gem. That’s because you have to have experienced life to understand it.”
“my god, i am 30 years younger”
“The majority of the songs that were recorded back during the People’s Republic have one thing in common. They are perfectly crafted. The arrangement is excellent, no instrument is too much or too little, and so they are (also because of their lovely melodies and performance) truly pleasant to the ear. They connect with the listener. In layman’s language, they are beautiful.”
“I’m almost 60, as a kid I was a fan of the Beatles. They were quite good. With time though, as many years have passed, I’ve come to know the value of our artists.”
“God I love Poland and the Polish language!”
Four such songs. There are so many more, but I limited myself to just these:
“Sidewalk Cafes“ (Irena Jarocka; orig. Kawiarenki). Vocals like honey in this 1975 ballad. Wistful, mellifluous, the sounds melt into synesthesia bliss. Irena Jarocka, the singer, died of brain cancer in her sixties, about ten years ago. She lived the final decade of her life in the United States, continuing to perform here and in Europe. She sang at the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City twenty years ago. Bummer, I was going to go but didn’t.
“Two Hearts Like Two Trains“ (Grażyna Świtała; orig. Dwa serca jak pociągi dwa). Dan Baird’s 1992 song “I Love You Period” is the happiest song of that decade, the happiest video too. Bad feelz impossible after watching. The trope is school-theme lyrics standing in for the teenager’s crush on someone. “Two Hearts Like Two Trains” is a 1987 song with the same idea. My favorite part is the refrain with its buoyantly galloping 4/4 beat like a cowboy song:
Two trains like two hearts set out
From town B to town A
And from town A to town B
I must determine where they meet.
I know their speed, their distance too
I know the cold sweat on my face
Upon the mention of towns A and B
And the professor’s evil eye.
“I’ve Been with You so Many Years“ (Krystyna Giżowska; orig. Przeżyłam z Tobą tyle lat). An adult-themed pop song from the point of view of a woman whose long marriage has been the stuff of normal life. Its ups and downs with its better and worse times. The 1987 song is a reflection on all of it with a peaceful heart.
I’ve been with you so many years
I gave you my whole world …
… Look, our children are all grown up
And only you and I
Haven’t changed at all
“The White Sail on the Horizon“ (Alicja Majewska; orig. Jeszcze się tam żagiel bieli). The 1980 song’s very first notes have you anticipate something cathartic. It’s the xylophone intro hinting to what will, in the latter half of the song, build up to a powerful refrain. The tension grows along a gentle grade, Majewska’s whispers grow in their intensity.
I am not a fan of big-voice female vocalists but she lets the power of the song build on its own with its theme of great hope. The lyrics celebrate woman’s faith in her man, along with her virtues of patience, forbearance, and unshaken faith in her man’s homecoming. It could also be about a mother waiting for her son’s safe return. Partial lyrics:
The white sail on the horizon
Of the boys who sailed away
Persistent hope plays the silent drum
In the chapel of the heart
Because it’s man’s business
To be far, but a woman’s – to wait faithfully
Until another tear is born
Beneath the eyelid, a tear of joy
It’s man’s business – to run and tame
The crests of the waves
Our business – to stand at the shore
Stand and believe, and gaze into the distance
Open thread, bonus if you can tie a sentimental pop song to your story.