2014 edit: RIP Luc De Vos!
See also this post
Let’s go on with the country I’m living in: Belgium, and more specifically speaking Flanders, since there’s not that much cultural exchange with the parts that speak other languages.
Today I want to take a look at the all-time greatest timeless classic song in Flanders, which is called ‘Mia’, by the dutch-singing rock band Gorky (they made only one CD under that name, and then singer Luc Devos started the band Gorki with other musicians, wikipedia mingles the 2 bands together in english) who sings in dutch.
Like I said, we are not very patriotic here in Belgium, and as a matter of fact, we don’t seem to like music in our language that much. We have a lot of rock bands, but most of them do sing in English, and a lot of rock-minded people don’t tend to like music sung in dutch, since English is the proper language for rock ‘n roll (as Tom Barman, singer of dEUS, would put it)
So which are the Belgian rock bands? Bands like dEUS, Arid, Millionaire, soulwax, absynthe minded, and K’s choice… In older days we had TC Matic, and Ferre Grignard. In other genres we also have a lot of electronic dance music: from front 242 to praga khan, the pop of hooverphonic (they started out more triphoppish, but alas, that didn’t last) and a lot of commercial stuff like Milk inc.
So if you have the list with timeless classics called ‘de tijdloze’ (the timeless one’) at new year on the alternative radio studio brussel, you won’t find much songs in dutch in there. As a matter of fact, since I’ve been a teenager in the nineties, there have been 4 songs in dutch that happened to find themselves there, while mostly all the others are English, with one occasional instrumental… (Look up the 2010 list here)
Believe me or not, Mia by Gorky being on #5 last year, this song has been the #1 in the list for years, before smells like teen spirit, creep, stairway to heaven, one; … And it has also had very high places on other radio stations. (all other belgian songs in the list are english, or instrumental)
The funny thing is that it hasn’t even been a hit, it was a B-side for another single… They never had big hits, but debut hit ‘Anja’, Lieve kleine Piranha’ (sweet little piranha) and ‘soms vraagt een mens zich af'(sometimes a man does wonder) were at least singles… One of the other songs has a sing-along chorus which translated says ‘sweet little piranha, sweet little piranha, sweet little piranha, devour me’…
Strange lyrics, and a voice that always forms the same minimalistic melodies are also the recipe for lots of later Gorki-albums, but he never really had any big hits afterwards. But for some reason people voted the song into the timeless list, and it kept on getting higher with the year, until it finally kicked nirvana off the first place. No-one understood, not even Luc Devos himself, who found it funny but never seemed very impressed, I think he just wanted to have more of his recenter songs to become classics…
So let’s listen to that great song, and look at the lyrics.
When I was hungry, I came to you
you said you can eat, if you wash the dishes
people like you shouldn’t behave difficult
give them a chance before they do stupid things
the middleclass rules the country, better than ever before
Mia has seen the light, she says nobody gets lost
currently we’re still going on, on the lighted path, the wrong track
people like me can be found anywhere,
on the market of labor in this valley of tears
stars come, stars go, only Elvis keeps existing
Mia never suffered, she asks can you still dream
What does the english wikipedia say about the impact of this song:
After ‘Anja’, several other singles were released from the debute album ‘Gorky’. Among them was ‘Soms vraagt een mens zich af’ (Sometimes a man wonders), the b-side of which was ‘Mia’. By making number one in the ‘Tijdloze’ (the Timeless), the ‘best of all times’ charts in Flanders by the music station Studio Brussel, for three consecutive years, ‘Mia’ became known as their largest hit. Likewise, it made number 1 in a similar chart of Radio 1 in Flanders, and best Belgian song in the chart by Radio Donna (in 2005). In 2006, it was elected the best song about girls on a TV-show on the public network ‘één‘. In 2008, the early music consort Capilla Flamenca issued ‘Rosa (Mia)’, a polyphonic adaptation of ‘Mia’ sung in Latin.
In 2008 a new award show was founded called “de Mia’s” (the Mias). It was named after the best Flemish song of all times, and officially stands for the Music Industry Awards..
I had almost forgotten that the MIA awards were named after this song…
Do I like this song? Yes!
Do I find it the best song ever written? No!
Are there better songs in my own language? definitely…
What do you think?