Friday, March 29, 2013

The Worst Use of Foreign Languages in Songs

Though the charts across the world tend to be dominated by songs in English, every so often an English-speaking artist decides that their mother tongue is not good enough for a hit. We've got a list of a few of the most horrendous abominations to foreign languages we can think of...

ABBA - Voulez-Vous

We find it difficult to fault ABBA when it comes to music. The '70s are long gone and, thankfully, so is the attire. Though Swedish, ABBA's mastery of the English language is well-documented throughout their discography. Their mastery of French, however, is not. Don't get us started on Chiquitita...

Probably a stone's throw from the real Lady Marmalade's home.
The French Quarter, New Orleans.
Labelle - Lady Marmalade

"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" is the "only" French expression most English speakers seem to know when they're trying to be funny. Not only is the phrase horrendously pronounced throughout the song, but it has also led to many others thinking it's an accurate representation of the French language.

The Beatles - Michelle

The world's most famous band are under fire for their French ability. They certainly did some other horrendous things, linguistically speaking. We're not going to mention the stuff they did entirely in German... 

Manic Street Preachers - La Tristesse Durera

"That's not how it's pronounced!"
No strangers to being pretentious, the Manics have made a career from political controversy and making sure everyone knows that they're smarter than them when it comes to politics. When it comes to screaming Vincent van Gogh's last words, lead singer James Dean Bradfield gets a 0 out of 10.

U2 - Vertigo

The UK and Ireland have the lowest levels of bilingualism in Europe, with the UK having a worse record when it comes to foreign languages, except in this case. If Bono's flying the flag for a multilingual Ireland he's failing miserably. "Uno, dos, tres, catorce" is a horrendous error that U2 fans will defend as being intentional. Nice try! Bono should have studied harder in Spanish class.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have any more to add or disagree with us, tell us in the comments below.

We've added a few more examples of the worst use of foreign languages in songs.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently U2's use of the word "catorce" (14) instead of "cuatro" (4) is to do with the song being on their fourteenth album. Or so I'm told by a fellow Spanish-speaker.