Monday, August 1, 2011

Top 10 Songs with Latin Lyrics

You know anyone who still uses the Latin language today? Except for your Latin teacher, I mean. There are quite a few bands out there, and here's my very personal top 10 songs with Latin lyrics. Before we get to it, a word about one of the most popular songs in Latin, which you won't find in the top: Helloween's Lavdate Dominvm. I listen to Hellloween every now and then, and they're coming to a town near me for a concert this summer, but this particular tune is getting on my nerves.

10. Rhapsody of Fire - Lux Triumphans
There's quite a large number of progressive rock bands that use Latin lyrics; I can't – or rather, don't want to include all of them. I am a little partial to this band called Rhapsody of Fire (if I'm not mistaken, they previously called themselves simply Rhapsody), that makes an interesting mix of Latin and English lyrics:
Furia cieca, caos in me
Lead me to your horned beast named king

9. U2 – Gloria
Again, a combination of English and Latin lyrics, but let's get to what really matters: wasn't Bono young? Weren't we all back then?

8. In Extremo - Totus Floreo
"Sile philomena pro tempore 
Surge catilena do pectore
O, o, totus floreo"
Anyway, In Extremo have a bunch of other songs in Latin, which is somewhat better for my ears than when their singing in their native German.

7. Simon and Garfunkel – Benedictus
Not a lot of creativity here, but never met anyone who didn't like these guys.

6. Deus ex Machina - Perpetua Lux
I mean the Italian band called Deus ex Machina (there are at least three bands with that name that I know of, most likely more). The entire album - De Republica - is pretty awesome on the whole, and full of Latin lyrics, if you're into progressive rock. 

5. My Dying Bride - Sear Me
So, now we're getting serious with some heavier stuff. I'm a bit surprised that there aren't more death/doom bands using Latin words, seems to suit their genre in a way. Not that it matters, 'cause nobody understands the lyrics anyway. Argh, never mind. My Dying Bride is one of the best bands out there, by the way. 

4. Cat Stevens - O Caritas
When I was 17, I spent an entire year listening to nothing but Cat Stevens. If you're looking into learning Latin, I suggest you start with this song. It's like learning German with Rammstein. 

3. The Cranberries - Electric Blue
One more combination of English and Latin lyrics (I'm going to brand this an Irish thing and won't comment on it). I've seen The Cranberries live, by the way. Totally off topic, just wanted to brag about it. 

2. Kamelot - Memento Mori
I had to search the lyrics four times to find the Latin bits, but this is one of the my favorites this year, so who cares if all it has is "Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori / memento mori"? It's quite enough to make it on my list. 

1. The Misfits - Halloween II
Latin should be the language of punk, if you ask me: short and to the point. There's a lot of meaning you can squeeze in two minutes or less. Besides, this has been a classic punk summer for me all the way – and it's not over yet.
There is one other reason this song is number one on my list: it's very creative use of the Latin language. This is not the standard stuff they teach in school, it's about witches and wolves and trees and stuff. 
"Formulae ueteres exorsismorum et excommunicationum
Strigas et fictos lupos credere
Daemon pellem lupinam
In trunco quodam cauae
Arboris occultandum"
Goes to prove that Latin is very much alive and kicking. So is punk.