Après Moi ?

by Lihle

There’s a song called Après Moi by indie pop artist Regina Spektor. I looked up the lyrics to the track because there’s some Russian in it and I wanted to know about the inspiration behind the song. Upon reading the lyrics and different interpretations about the song on SongMeanings.com. I was surprised to find that the interpretations were so varied. What I thought about the song and what the individual contributors 2 the website thought about the song contrasted so much that it would be completely plausible 4one to think that we were talking about different songs. The following is a interpretation of the song which I think makes a lot of sense it was published by aubreo74 on Song Meanings.com: I just wrote this and thought I’d share some of my
opinions. The point of Regina’s songs is that they
can be applied to everyone. This is just one view:
Regina Spektor’s heavy, march-like song entitled
Apres Moi clearly represents the determination of a
commoner in the French and Russian revolutions;
this song is about social revolution, the destruction
it causes, the failure of the upper class, and
religious manipulation of the masses. The reason
Regina chose to write this song likely stems back to
her childhood; she was born in Moscow, USSR in
1980 to a Russian Jewish family. She states, “I’m
very connected to the language and the history of
my people.” First, “Apres Moi, le deluge” translates
to “After me comes the flood” (9, 19, and 29). It
was a famous quote by either Lous XVI or Madame
de Pompadour and is used in the song as an image
to warn the upperclass that when the peasants rise
up, there will be chaos and destruction. In answer to
the warning of chaos, Regina quotes Pasternak, a
famous Russian poet (21-24). “Fevrale dostat
chernil i plakat….Vesnoyu charnoyu gorit” (21, 24)
translates to “February. Get ink. Weep….While
raucous slush burns black with spring.” It depicts
the very revolution that was being foreshadowed,
obviously relating to the chaos of Moscow at the
time it was written. As the snow of winter melted
into “spring” (24) during “February” (21) of 1917,
Moscow is seen as a place of repression, sadness
and chaos. That month there were riots in the
streets, strikes, and finally the abdication of
Nicholas II. Regina’s repeated stanza again
strengthens the metaphor of the commoner’s
determination to reclaim their country and their
lives:
Be afraid of the lame, they’ll inherit you legs
Be afraid of the old, they’ll inherit your souls
Be afraid of the cold, they’ll inherit your blood (6-8)
The “lame” (6), “old” (7), and “cold” (8) represents
the peasants who suffer whilst the nobles lavished
themselves with food, clothing, and even palaces
adorned with gold. It implies that all these worldly
things will be taken away when the peasants rise
up, inheriting the poorly constructed governments
that the nobility of France and Russia had left
behind. Lastly, this song hints at a struggle against
religion in the lines:
I must go on standing
You can’t break that which isn’t yours
I must go on standing
I’m not my own, it’s not my choice (11-13)
This stanza is similar to what might go through the
head of a person who is being oppressed by the
religion in their country. It’s speaks of a resolve to
keep fighting and to not hand over the last thing
they have of their very own, their soul. This image
is accompanied by chant-like singing and chime
bells, which gives it the feeling of both a mighty
cathedral with its bells ringing over the oppressed
country and a group of captives methodically
working through life. Overall, Regina has captured
the effects of revolutions through the eyes of a
commoner, bringing to life their determined
struggle against the upper class and religion, as
well as the negative effects it has in terms of
destruction.

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