This song just speaks to me. I’m sure that that’s partially because I spent a bunch of time listening to it and coping with it in order to coax it into English, but even before that, it just seemed…right. This wasn’t my experience with the version I heard in high school, with the mellow, reassuring guitar being replaced by a bunch of teenagers apparently trying to imitate du-wop. This is an effect that’s made even worse on the CD, where the vocals – not always, but on this specific song – are just way too compressed, unnatural, and jarring to enjoy (as in most pop music today). This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy other the other songs – just that this one never impressed me, though I’m sure the main vocalists were great.
But anyway, the original is fanfrikkintastic! I googled around a bit, and found that the song was inspired by Paul Simon’s excellent American Tune, from his first solo album, “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”. Thematically, rhythmically, and melodically, Yihiye Tov stands in its’ debt. This is most obvious in the chorus, which thematically matches the “chorus” of American Tune, and melodically is almost the same, but switches around the order of two motifs. (This is kind of difficult to explain, so I may follow it up with audio samples later. )
“American Tune” is one I hold close to my heart, and is best experienced on vinyl, whether battered and weather-beaten or pristine and new, in the dark, with your significant other. I haven’t tried it with Yihiye Tov, but as much as I love it, I think the themes of American Tune may resonate better, with, uh, Americans 🙂 Yihiye Tov has some universal themes – many of which came out of American Tune, but most of it is expressed in explicitly Israeli terms: it was made for a certain audience in a certain era, that being the Israeli populace witnessing the extraordinary (in many ways, and not always good) peace accords with Egypt.
Oh, and I’d like to issue a revision for the “return without remorse” line. I think
they return unchanged, of course
they return the same or worse
are less critical and in fact closer to Broza’s original line, even if it doesn’t have the same ring to it and don’t fit the rhyme scheme as well.
EDIT: I also think the song is much more effective if the chorus is kept in Hebrew. The English is too awkward and sounds kinda lame. Also, the ultimate line should read:
I look outside my window; for a new day to arrive
The meter didn’t really work in the last one, and it was awkward overall. This is less strictly accurate is still close enough to the original line: “אולי יגיע יום חדש”, except there’s an implied impatience instead of the uncertainty and sort of naive hopefulness of the original. But it works…I hope.