los fracasos del amor

I've been listening to tango music for ages now in almost complete ignorance of anything beyond the melodies. True tango aficionados can tell orchestras by name even on unfamiliar tracks, but it wasn't until very recently that I started even learning the names of the most famous conductors.

I also, generally, have no idea what the lyrics (when there are lyrics) mean, having naught but the barest understanding of isolated Spanish words. However, a friend recently started sending me to sites with good translations, and it was more than a little surprising to discover the wealth of comforting, pleasingly overdramatic poetry in songs I've loved for years.

So far, my favorite of the lyrics I've browsed is "Nostalgias." The English version, translated by the ever-more-impressive Derrick Del Pilar:

I want to get my heart drunk
so I can snuff out a crazy love
that more than love, is just suffering . . .
and I come here for this,
to erase the old kisses
with kisses from other mouths . . .
If her love was a one-day bloom
what’s the reason that I always feel
this cruel preoccupation?
I want to raise my drink to the both of us
to forget my obstinacy
and also so I remember her again

of listening to her crazy laughter
and feeling her fiery breath
so close to my mouth . . .
of feeling abandoned
and thinking that another at her side
shall soon speak to her with love . .
I don’t want to debase myself
nor ask anything of her, nor cry for her,
nor tell her that I can’t live anymore . . .
in my sad solitude I shall see
the dead rose of my youth fall.

BandoneĆ³n, whine out your gray tango
perhaps you too will be wounded
by some sentimental love . . .
my dummy’s soul weeps
alone and sad on this night,
a black night without stars . . .
if drinks can bring comfort
I am here with my insomnia
to drown them all at once . . .
I want to get my heart drunk
so that later I can raise a glass
to all the failures of love.
He only sings the middle verse in the recording above, but it's my favorite arrangement. The original Spanish and 5 other arrangements can be found here.

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