1.10.13 — “Je vous ai tué ce matin” by Autour de Lucie

Autour de Lucie

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Je vous ai tué ce matin” by Autour de Lucie (1998, from the album Immobile).

Autour de Lucie was an indie pop/ “french pop” band from Paris who released four albums between 1993 and 2004. The band was headed up by the lovely chanteuse Valérie Leulliot, who released one solo album in 2007. In 1996, the band re-released their debut album L’Échappée belle (which was a France-only release in 1993). It was re-titled Autour De Lucie and featured one extra (English-language) track “Simon”. That re-issue was meant for American audiences.

Autour de Lucie’s sound is just a bit dreamy, just a bit electronic, just a bit folk, just a bit experimental, and a lot straightforward pop. It’s about 128% French. Because they were signed to the Canadian label Nettwerk Records, they got a good deal of promotion and exposure in North America. Because of that specific label affiliation, they were asked to join Sarah McLachlan’s Lillith Fair tour in 1997, which may or may not have given Autour de Lucie any credibility, but it probably did help them sell records.

I’m not even sure how I first learned of Autour de Lucie, but I’m guessing that it was with this album. Even after I graduated from college, I stayed on with the radio station as a “community deejay”, and I’m guessing that it was there that I first heard them. I played them a lot on my show, and I played tonight’s song a lot. Despite four years of high school French and one semester of college French, I speak French terribly. I use to think that my French reading comprehension was decent, but in reality, it’s garbage. As an example, I can remember on more than one occasion, I introduced this song, saying that the English translation was “I want to kiss you this morning”. That’s not even close to the real translation of “I killed you this morning”.

Sometimes, people will talk about a French-speaking album as if it’s essential to understand French to appreciate it. I’ve heard it said that the song “Comme des Enfants” by Cœur de Pirate is a reason to learn French. I’ve read about that this album that it’s probably best if you’re not fluent in French. I’m certainly in that group. Just as is the case with Stereolab, I like the music even though I have no idea what they’re going on about.

I’ve found a site that translated the lyrics of and tabbed every Autour de Lucie song. I’ll get to that in a second, but I’ll go ahead and play the song:

“Je vous ai tué ce matin” by Autour de Lucie

This song is a bit fuzzier, squawkier and louder than most Autour de Lucie songs. At least the ones on the first two albums. That’s part of what I like about the song. Another thing is the vocals, which Leulliot is practically whispering. She’s mastered the art of the hushed but strong vocal style. It all sounds so sweet and gentle. I don’t really care what she’s saying. I just nod my head and smile. Ignorance is bliss.

However, there’s this website, which is in French, and is a pretty well-done fan site. Very good, considering that it was designed in 1998. One of the things that the webmaster did was provide the lyrics in French and English, along with the tablature for each song. Also, there’s the standard stuff: photos, bio, blah blah blah. I’m most interested in the lyrics translations. The French lyrics are easy enough to track down, but plugging them into a translator program yields strange results. These translations are from a human, so they make more sense. That said, they bring a different meaning than the one that I was imagining.

Here’s the first verse, in English:

I killed you this morning
I warned you but in vain
of the impeding end but what can I say to you
but these few regrets
When all is said and done, you didn’t suffer enough
during this last meeting but what more can be done ?

How can something that sounds so sweet be so evil? I killed you this morning, but you didn’t suffer enough. Wow! That’s brutal.

And then at the end:

Car vous n’êtes à présent plus qu’un souvenir
Because you are now nothing but a memory
auquel jamais plus je ne pourrai nuire
that I won’t ever be able to harm anymore
De vous à moi n’y avait-il que vingt pas ?
Was there only twenty steps between you and me?
de vous à moi le rouge ne vous ira pas.
from me to you red won’t suit you.
de vous à moi le rouge ne vous ira pas.
from me to you red won’t suit you.
Plus qu’un souvenir… Plus qu’un souvenir…
Nothing but a memory… Nothing but a memory
Plus qu’un souvenir… Plus qu’un souvenir…
Nothing but a memory… Nothing but a memory
N’était-ce pas le pire ?
Wasn’t it the worst?

Yeah. That’s not exactly sweetness and light. When that person who wrote that it’s best not to be fluent in French, they were writing about a different song, but I think the same applies here. I kind of wish that I didn’t know the lyrics. I kind of wish that I didn’t know the translation of the title. I liked my terrible mis-translation better.

You can grab a CD copy of Immobile from the amazon shop here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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