“Do not tell our friends I love you more than anything else.” Such are the opening words to France Gall’s 60’s pop song “Ne dis pas aux copains.” And despite the crooning, melancholic melody that seems to permeate me – that seems to make me thing of endings, endings in the most gentle, bittersweet way – “well, this is it, it is so lovely to be with you in these moments…” – despite these tender sadnesses with which this tune overwhelms me, I seemed to be drawn to this song for the lyrics, too.
“Do not say anything to our friends.” It is a song of intimacy, but firstly, of secrecy. Say not that I love you; say not what we have done in private. It is not a song of this age: it is a song of when there is still something to hide, and despite that clouds have melted away and left us naked in a field, I too cling to my own shrouds.
For there is an element of shame – of modesty, almost, or shamefastness – that is tacitly portrayed, and yet done so without loathing. The closing lines are a wish: to go far, far away – and there, there finally speak with friends. But one cannot help construe that it is a new set of friends – new to this once hidden bond – who have not witnessed or undergone the transformation of innocents to lovers, of nothing to something. For if there was something to be expressed fearlessly, there would be no song of nocturnal sweetness.