‘So Right’

A friend showed me this song by the Dave Matthews Band (DMB), and I’d have you listen to it first. By ‘first’ I mean before I say anything else about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=380D8-IzLB0

Now, to begin with I’ll say that I did not like it that much the first time I heard the song. However, since I’ve not liked any songs recently after the first try I went for another one — and it somehow took hold of my mind and did not let go. It is just so… well compiled, I guess.

A random thought: What’s the greatest possible praise for a song? [And this brought that short story of A.C. Clarke to my mind where they try to find the perfect melody.]

In any case, I decided to give DMB a try after listening to this, and I think it was worth it. But coming back to the song: It has an interesting vibe to it. The video looks so very American — it is quite difficult to use any other adjective to describe it. But it’s not the video that caught me. It must be the words.

For, indeed,

…tonight my dance is all about you

Although it could be that the American-ness I sense in this video can also be described as ‘lightness’: not being that concerned, and having a better thought for the future… even though future might have every reason to make you concerned, why care about that?

Lastly that moment two-thirds through when everything stops for a moment — I want the song to continue then, and this even applied the first time I listened when I didn’t much appreciate the song in general. Now, that thought, ‘continue!’ — it is almost a prayer.

And tonight my dance is all about you

‘Descente’

To follow up on my recent thoughts on the word ‘Chiaroscuro’, I thought to bring up a word that English seems to lack. Namely, the French ‘descente’: the original word can be used in the way that I am familiar with it, and Finno-Ugric (Estonian certainly and probably Finnish as well), Baltic (Latvian and Lithuanian), and Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian to name a few) languages use a localised version of this ‘descente’ to signify what is known in English as a ‘landing operation’/’invasion’.

My problem with this? It’s not really the level of a problem, but more the question of elegance and conveyed meaning: namely, I find the ‘descente’-tree words far more elegant and stylish to describe a complex military operation than the constructed ‘landing operation’ or ‘invasion’ which is highly unspecific in what it looks like and what it does.

Indeed, what I find is that ‘landing operation’ is not entirely accurate because an actual landing operation would be far more than the landing — the logistics and naval/aerial forces involved play a huge part. This word-pair seems to suggest that we’re talking of a simple arrival at some undetermined location.

‘Invasion’ is nondescript in whether we’re using the sea or land: land invasion could hardly be considered a ‘landing’. Likewise, there is little to no chance of someone trying to say ‘an aerial invasion’. ‘Naval invasion’ works rather well but I would shy away from using invasion unless we had a proportionally relevant number of soldiers included. There is also the difference in goals: invasion is meant to occupy territory while it would sound a bit odd in some other contexts.

‘Descente’, on the other hand, also contains the auxiliary forces concerned in making the landing happen — be they planes or ships. It is specific to planes and ships — in other words objects one could ‘descend’ from, and there’s no information conveyed about the objective of the event. In other words, the French word sums up the complex situation in a simpler way.

What’s not to be liked?

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