8 Polish Pop Songs in English You Need to Hear
small, 8 Polish Pop Songs in English You Need to Hear, Maanam's concert in Stodoła Club, Warszawa, 1994. Kora Jackowska, photo: Darek Majewski / Forum, kora_jackowska_fot_forum_5.jpg
It’s not uncommon for Polish pop stars to record songs, or even whole albums in English. As of yet Polish artists haven’t gained the same type of international recognition as Abba but nevertheless Polish pop songs in English can be very entertaining. Culture.pl invites you to sit back and enjoy our playlist of great Polish songs which you can understand without knowing Polish.
Son of the Blue Sky
A haunting song of the band Wilki (The Wolves) written and sung by Robert Gawliński the leader of the group. This composition was released in 1992 on an album simply entitled Wilki and is dedicated to Adam Żwirski, the bass player of the band who died at the time when that LP was being recorded. Son of the Blue Sky was a major hit in Poland, this song reached number one in the charts and skyrocketed Wilki to rock and roll stardom. In 2002 the group had another big hit sung in English, the title of which is Here I Am.
Cruising for Bruising
In this song you can hear the velvet voice of Basia, who is one of the most internationally successful Polish artists. She co-wrote and co-arranged this number, which was the highest-charting song from the 1989 album entitled London Warsaw New York. This LP was recorded in English and sold approximately 2 million copies worldwide, over a million of which were sold in the U.S.. In 1990 London Warsaw New York became Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Album beating for instance Quincy Jones’ Grammy-winning record Back on the Block.
I Love You
A cheerful song recorded by the popular rock band T.Love in both a Polish and English version. Both renditions have the same title as each of them features a chorus in which the vocalist Muniek Staszczyk repeats the English expression “I love you”. The two versions appeared alongside each other on a 1994 album which has the same title as the said song. This LP also features, amongst others, live recordings from concerts and a cover of Bob Marley’s No Woman no Cry. The nonconformist lyrics of I Love You reflect T.Love’s punk rock roots.
This soulful track was all over Polish radio in 2004. The same year Freedom was almost chosen to represent Poland at Eurovision, but eventually this song lost to the number Love Song by the band Blue Cafe. Freedom was recorded by the no longer active R&B group Sistars which was fronted by the Przybysz sisters. Since the disbandment of Sistars these talented singers have been continuing their musical careers chiefly as solo artists. Lately Natalia Przybysz, one of the siblings, recorded a terrific bluesy album entitled Prąd.
Inside I’m Dying
At the start of this number you can hear a door closing and some footsteps. Don’t fast-forward as this isn’t an error in the recording but a consciously used experimental device. Inside I’m Dying was released on the 1974 album Mourner’s Rhapsody which is full of original, sometimes surprising sounds. The man responsible for this song and for the whole album, which was entirely recorded in English, was the Polish vocal genius Czesław Niemen. In Inside I’m Dying his unforgettable voice is accompanied, amongst others, by the violin of Michał Urbaniak.
In 2013 this song won a Fryderyk, which is the Polish counterpart of a Grammy, for best song of the year. The vocalist Monika Brodka, who emerged from one of Poland’s talent shows, co-wrote the lyrics and music for Varsovie and sung this song as well. The track was recorded at a studio in Los Angeles and was released on an EP entitled LAX. At first this release existed only in digital form, but after numerous requests from fans Brodka decided to put out also a CD and vinyl version. If one rendition of Varsovie isn’t enough for you can always give a listen to the said EP which contains two remixes of this song.
Sound of Solitude
This song comes from the English version of the album Korova Milky Bar by the band Myslovitz which was originally recorded in Polish. The tracklist of the 2003 English version differs from the original tracklist which is a year older. Korova Milky Bar in English doesn’t have all the songs from this album’s Polish version but instead contains four English renditions of classic numbers by Myslovitz from a record released in 1999. One of these four songs is Sound of Solitude, the Polish version of which was a major hit in the Land on the Vistula.
One of the many great songs by the band Maanam the trademark of which were the bold vocals of Kora and the energetic guitar playing of Marek Jackowski. These two musicians were once married and for a long time they performed as a wedded couple. After their divorce they continued to collaborate in Maanam for many years. Lucciola was recorded both in a Polish and English version. Lucciola in English was released in 1985 on the English version of the album Mental Cut which was originally recorded in Polish.
polish pop music
Author: Marek Kępa, February 2015