It’s usually a bad idea to directly translate the lyrics word for word if the song’s supposed to stay a song. The syllables won’t match up, the words that are supposed to rhyme won’t rhyme, and the lyric credit will go to the inventors of Google Translate. In order to avoid people who put in half-hearted effort that ends up in rhyming like a second grader writes poems, or people like the guy with major writer’s block which Elaiza describes, the only thing left to do is completely scrap the lyrics and write new ones.
Macedonia (FYR) is probably used to doing this. In the past 10 years, they’ve already had to change the song meanings at least twice:
In 2006, Elena Risteska entered her country’s national final with the song “Ninanajna”. In the original Macedonian version, she sang about why her character broke up with an ex-boyfriend. Apparently he had really good taste in music when the two first met, but then he ended up brainwashed by trashy turbo-folk to the point that he refused to let Elena’s character play the “good” music that he first introduced her to. This story didn’t make the cut, so the English version turned into her character willing to do anything on the dance floor to win a new SO. Maybe the English lyricist decided that two breakup songs in a row wasn’t the best idea, or maybe the Macedonian delegation decided that it was better for non-Balkan countries to understand the song. Either way, they presented a song with a title that Terry Wogan couldn’t pronounce and got the country its highest score ever so far.
Later in autumn 2014, Daniel Kajmakoski won Skopje Fest with “Lisja Esenski,” an upbeat song about falling in love and how the bright colours of autumn leaves symbolised the happiness from within the relationship. Despite winning the contest singing in Macedonian, Daniel mentioned that the song was originally written in English and only re-written in Macedonian to fulfill the national final’s rules. The leaves changing colour was originally meant to symbolize the end of the old relationship (to be able to start all over). And to show that it was going the complete opposite direction as the national final version, all the leaves flew upward too.
(Minor complaint: Though I completely understand that for some the “soul” of the song stays in the original language that it was composed in, I’m still disappointed about the tune. Thanks for the revamp…)
I wonder if any of the countries will have to change their song language this year. Someone’s probably going to (most likely Iceland at least because of their rules), and I hope that the post-translation version is still as coherent as the original version.