Jay Chou: The Rhythm of the Rain / 聽見下雨的聲音 – English Translation

This song is filled with metaphors and constructions which you wouldn’t find in English. Also, the events described in the song are not chronological, and the person to whom they relate changes from line to line without necessarily being explicit about it… which is why I would give this song a difficulty rating of ‘medium-hard’. At least each line rhymes! Hopefully the notes are helpful.

There’s a dragonfly on the fence

The bottle [on the ground] has given birth to a small forest
[Lit. Glass bottle inside insert-full small-small forest]
[方文山 often describes the scenery at the start of each song. From the rest of the song, you can infer that the singer is visiting the house where he and his lover used to stay. Since it’s now springtime, plant-life has erupted everywhere, including inside a bottle that was somewhere on the premises.]

Spring is bright and green

Light comes in through the blinds

Your expression shows that you have something on your mind
[Lit. Like having something-on-your-mind one [counter] expression; this is referring to ‘你’, who opens the letter in the next line, and not the blinds.]

而你低頭拆信 想知道關於我的事情
And you open the letter, wanting to know what’s happened to me

青苔入鏡 簷下風鈴 搖晃曾經
I see the moss in the mirror; the wind-chimes under the eaves remind me of the past
[入鏡: ‘enter the mirror’; I think this implies that the singer is driving to an old, moss-covered house, which is also equipped with wind-chimes]
[簷下風鈴 搖晃曾經: literally ‘eaves-under wind-chimes shake past’.]

Memories are just scenes that are impossible to paste together
[Lit. Memories is one line line impossible paste scenery]

But love is timeless
[Lit. love is always youthful]

And I hear the sound of the rain
[聽見: “listen-succeed”, not “listen-see”. See this song by 盧廣仲 for more examples/explanation]

I remember you whispering ‘I love you’
[Lit. I remember you mouthing ‘love’]

We could have been so happy together
[Lit. ‘Happiness can be peaceful’]

But I don’t open up easily
[Lit. ‘I give out always very careful’; I think this is talking about opening up to someone else emotionally]

I finally hear the sound of the rain

It wakes me up
[Lit. Therefore my world [passive] woken]
[‘Wakes me up’ in the sense of ‘makes me realise something’]

I’m just scared that I wouldn’t be able to hold back [my emotions]
[Lit. Just scared emotions redden eyes]

不捨的淚 在彼此的臉上透明
Tears would run down our faces; we wouldn’t bear to let go
[Lit. Cannot-bear-to-part-with tears; at each-others’ face on transparent. These last two lines are really talking about a hypothetical situation – suddenly being back together – as though it had already happened. See also 一點點 by Jay Chou and 你會在哪呢 by 蕭敬騰 for two more examples.]
[不捨: contraction of 成語 “依依不捨”, “cannot bear to part with”]
[透明: transparent; I am not sure what this signifies here metaphorically – possibly that they’re being honest with each other?]

愛在過境 緣分不停 誰在擔心
Love is always in motion; fate never stops; so why should we worry?
[誰在擔心: lit. ‘Who is worrying?’]

窗台上滴落的雨滴 輕敲著傷心
The raindrops falling on the window are gently tapping out a sorrowful rhythm
[Lit. Window on dropping raindrops; gently hammering sadness]

[淒美: ‘beautiful’ (to look at); 動聽 ‘beautiful’ (to listen to)]

Click here for a full list of the songs that I have translated so far.

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