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Fading Shooting Stars - Les Étoiles Filantes

·2087 words·10 mins·
song-swap 2022
Jerry S
Author
Jerry S
Table of Contents

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The album cover. Weird, right?

Intro
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This song is one I wanted to translate for a special person but I never got the chance to. If I think back, this song represents the first flicker of admiration and fixation that I have with shooting stars and what they represent to me. Lastly, it taught me melancholy long before I had any business being melancholic because I didn’t have any life experience to warrant it a place in my heart.

History: The song and me
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The song came out in 2004 when I was 18, but I’m sure I didn’t actually discover it until I was in my 20s after I had begun studying French. Before that it would have been nothing more than babbling to me. The meaning of it has evolved much over time. The more French words and phrases I learned, the heavier the weight of them became, and the deeper the meaning of this song.

Now, as I listen to it again, it still gives me the same sad melancholic hope. For some it will be depressing, but hope is never that.

Shooting Star Love Declaration
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Loves inspires great things in this world. One such thing it inspired in me was to learn French. Later, to translate this song, that I hold so dear, for someone that doesn’t speak French. Romantic? Who knows? Maybe.

In particular, I wanted to get to the last part of the song where the singer asks the other if they want to be their shooting star for the remainder of their short lives. It’s really a touching thing to ask, in my opinion, since the stars are where we place our wishes, and for me it’s where I place all my highest wishes. Alas, though I did translate it as can be seen below in the lyric section, my heart has not had a chance to utter a single word of it.

So if tonight you wanna hang around and stay
here with me, the night is sweet, we’ll take a walk
And even though we know that nothing ever lasts
I’d love if for just a time you’d be my
…fading shooting star

Click for full -

It matters not. My wish lives on in the stars I look upon for hope. I know one day my heart will get a chance to sing this wish aloud. I hope it’s met with a choir that will make a star fall from the heavens.

Shooting Stars Addiction
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I’ve grown fond of and enthusiastic watching the sky for shooting stars whenever I have the opportunity to do so. It’s likely this song is the origin of that enthusiasm since I cannot remember anything beyond it in my past that would have inspired such a longing for these disappearing trails of hope in the sky.

I’ve managed to see a few shooting stars in my life; some have been very memorable and some not at all. I have not become a telescope obsessed star hunter, though I did try to do astrophotography once to see if just once I could capture the beauty in a picture; I report that by my own standards I failed miserably. I’m a bit like Van Gogh in this:

For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

Vincent Van Gogh
Me at the Van Gogh experience, gazing at his stars projected on a wall.

If I have had the pleasure of having you by my side while catching a glimpse of a shooting star, as the two villagers beside me in Van Gogh’s painting above, know that the memory lives on inside me and that I guard it against forgetting; I hope it lives on in you too.

A Lesson in Melancholy
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Without understanding the lyrics themselves it might be possible to still get a sense of melancholy from the musicality alone. Maybe it’s the guitar and twinkling tones at the beginning, or maybe it’s accordion sounding instrument that joins the intro later on, that impresses on me a “times past” mood, as if I were walking home reflecting on a past I didn’t yet have when I first heard it.

If it’s not the instrumental intro then the lyrics certainly make the melancholy clear.

I’d tell you of memories
Strongly etched into my mind
Of this time when growing old
Still felt like such an illusion

When I teased all the girls
Not too far from the seesaws
and when my marble pouch
was a precious treasure trove

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I too have memories etched into my mind that I’ll never forget. I never teased girls next to the seesaws but I had crushes on them, as I’m sure many young boys do. I never played with marbles or had a pouch to keep them in, but I remember feeling free after I learned to ride a bicycle. Being able to circle the blocks in my neighborhood gave a great sense of independence.

I was fortunate to have grown up in an area where it snowed and can relate to going back to a warm home with cold toes and fingers after building a mound of snow that resembled an igloo.

As the song says, what is it that remains at the end of the road? What’s left of all those lived experiences? The memories we have of them, what are they for? Are the memories there to torture us with melancholic remembering, or are they there to provide us with some happiness?

At the end o’the path tell me what’ll remain
Of our passage through this crazed & frenzied world?
After trying hard to save ourselves some time
We’ll fin’lly figure out that all we are
… is fading shooting stars

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It continues to my favorite part where the singer makes a confession to whomever is there with them: being with you feels so good to me. In other words, you’re good for me, I like you, and love you. The singer asks a very touching question: even though this life is short, would you stay and walk a while with me and be my fading shooting star?

Yes, many a reader might say the singer is asking for a one night stand and that it’s all a very elaborate pickup line, but that interpretation isn’t very inspirational to me. Even if it is a good pickup line :-).

The nobler interpretation is the one of searching for a partner in life that will ease the course of daily life and hardships along the way while doing the same for them.

All that put together led me to become melancholic at an age that I think was too young. I don’t recommend melancholy to anyone because it can be draining whether regardless of if you have memories to be melancholic over. If you become melancholic, try to brush it away without being too forceful or hard on yourself. Melancholy can be so nice in measured doses and with friends around to share with, but can drown you if it’s too much or if you’re alone.

Cuz y’know seeing too far out
Isn’t better than looking at the past

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Lyrics
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Original lyrics courtesy Genius. The original French and my own English translation are interwoven below to make it easier to follow along as you listen to the song. The translation is not a literal translation. I aim more to capture the rhythm and essence of it; it might prove too challenging for me. Make any suggestions through comments or contacting me through other means.


Si je m’arrête un instant
Pour te parler de ma vie
Juste comme ça tranquillement
Dans un bar rue St-Denis

If I take a little time
to tell you about my life
just like that, no big deal
a bar on Saint Denis’ street

J’te raconterai les souvenirs
Bien gravés dans ma mémoire
De cette époque où vieillir
Était encore bien illusoire

I’d tell you of memories
Strongly etched into my mind
Of this time when growing old
Was a far away mirage

Quand j’agaçais les p’tites filles
Pas loin des balançoires
Et que mon sac de billes
Devenait un vrai trésor

When I teased all the girls
Not too far from the seesaws
and when my marble pouch
turned into a treasure trove

Et ces hivers enneigés
À construire des igloos
Et rentrer les pieds g’lés
Juste à temps pour Passe-Partout

And these snowy winter scapes
Made for building igloos
Running home frozen toed
Just in time for Ses’me Street*

Mais au bout du ch’min dis-moi c’qui va rester
De la p’tite école et d’la cour de récré ?
Quand les avions en papier ne partent plus au vent
On se dit que l’bon temps passe finalement…

At the end o’the road tell me what’ll be left
Of the tiny school and playground filled with fun ?
When the paper airplanes no longer take off
We just tell ourselves the good times always end

… Comme une étoile filante

… Like fading shooting stars

Si je m’arrête un instant
Pour te parler de la vie
Je constate que bien souvent
On choisit pas mais on subi

If I take a little time
to tell you about my life
I’ve witnessed that oftentimes
We don’t choose to but we hurt

Et que les rêves des ti-culs
S’évanouissent ou se refoulent
Dans cette réalité crue
Qui nous embarque dans le moule

And those childish dreams we have
disappear or get repressed
in this harsh reality
that tries to mold us to its ways

La trentaine, la bedaine
Les morveux, l’hypothèque
Les bonheurs et les peines
Les bons coups et les échecs

Th’big 30, love handles
Snotty kids, a mortgage too
The good times and the bad All the wins and failures too

Travailler, faire d’son mieux
En arracher, s’en sortir
Et espérer être heureux
Un peu avant de mourir

Go to work, do your best
Make your way, make it through
Hope to steal a little hap-
piness before it’s time to go

Mais au bout du ch’min dis-moi c’qui va rester
De notre p’tit passage dans ce monde effréné ?
Après avoir existé pour gagner du temps
On s’dira que l’on était finalement

At the end o’the road tell me what’ll remain
Of our passage through this crazed & frenzied world?
After trying hard to make time for ourselves
We’ll fin’lly figure out that all we are

… Que des étoiles filantes

… is fading shooting stars

Si je m’arrête un instant
Pour te parler de ma vie
Juste comme ça tranquillement
Pas loin du Carré St-Louis

If I take a little time
to tell you about my life
just like that, no big deal
not far from St-Louis Square

C’est qu’avec toi je suis bien
Et que j’ai pu’ l’goût de m’en faire
Parce que tsé voir trop loin
C’pas mieux que r’garder en arrière

It’s just that with you I feel good
And I’m done with worrying
Cuz thinking too far ahead
Ain’t better than looking so far back

Malgré les vieilles amertumes
Et les amours qui passent
Les chums qu’on perd dans brume
Et les idéaux qui se cassent

Even with the bitter times
And the romances that pass
Friends we lose along the way
And ideals that never last

La vie s’accroche et renaît
Comme les printemps reviennent
Dans une bouffée d’air frais
Qui apaise les coeurs en peine

Life holds on and returns
just like spring is reborn
With a burst of fresh air
That soothes all the hearts in pain

Ça fait que si à’ soir t’as envie de rester
Avec moi, la nuit est douce on peut marcher
Et même si on sait ben que tout dure rien qu’un temps
J’aimerai ça que tu sois pour un moment…

So if tonight you wanna hang around and stay
here with me, the night is sweet, we’ll take a walk
And even though we know that nothing ever lasts
I’d love if for just a time you’d be my

… Mon étoile filante

… fading shooting star

Mais au bout du ch’min dis-moi c’qui va rester…
Mais au bout du ch’min dis-moi c’qui va rester…

At the end o’the road tell me what’ll remain
At the end o’the road tell me what’ll remain

… Que des étoiles filantes

… just fading shooting stars