Thursday, April 24, 2014
Dengue Fever provides the Cambodian weather for episode 21 of Welcome to Night Vale. "Sni Bong" roughly translates from Khmer as "Love You." The verses are sung in Khmer, the chorus is sung in English. I wonder if the podcasters deliberately chose an Asian language band for an episode about traveling to Europe. It could be a commentary on the obtuseness of Americans who treat all foreign countries as the same. Or it could be deliberate surrealism, suggesting that Cecil's version of Europe isn't like Europe at all.
The song combines funk, Asian pop, disco, rap, and smooth jazz in a very lush sound. To my ears it is somewhat cheesy, hitting typical tropes for each of these genres. Chromatic planing from IV - #IV - V, the lonesome sax solo for the ending, the exotic scales as interjections, none of these are used in particularly unique ways. The rap is also rather uninspiring, and the lyrics (at least in the translation provided by the band) are also on the shallow side. She loves a boy, and wants him to dance with her. They are both beautiful, but he is shy. The music makes her out to be a siren, trying to seduce him with her oohs. Perhaps the rap is a desperate attempt, since the singing isn't working to get him to dance with her. Maybe she should switch to a more contemporary sound.