Jacques Brel Revisited: The Bulls

I discovered Jacques Brel in my teens (via Bowie, Marc Almond, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and the like, no doubt). And each time I go back, I find his songs as fresh as ever.

This song is called “Les Toros”

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Like so many of his songs (The Bigots, The Waltz in a Thousand Time, Amsterdam), it starts pleasantly enough but with lyrical twists and rising musical tension builds to a spine-tingling crescendo of passion or anger.

The Bulls (above) describes a nice day out to see bull-fighting, sunny day, people dressing up; but gradually introduces bloody imagery until it ends:

And when finally they fell
Did not the bulls dream of some hell
Where men and worn-out matadors still burn, aaahh.
Or perhaps with their last breaths
Would they not pardon us their deaths
Knowing what we did at
Carthage, Waterloo, Verdun, Stalingrad, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima, Saigon!

 

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