Amou daquela vez como se fosse a última
Beijou sua mulher como se fosse a última
E cada filho seu como se fosse o único
E atravessou a rua com seu passo tímido
Subiu a construção como se fosse máquina
Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes sólidas
Tijolo com tijolo num desenho mágico
Seus olhos embotados de cimento e lágrima
Sentou pra descansar como se fosse sábado
Comeu feijão com arroz como se fosse um príncipe
Bebeu e soluçou como se fosse um náufrago
Dançou e gargalhou como se ouvisse música
E tropeçou no céu como se fosse um bêbado
E flutuou no ar como se fosse um pássaro
E se acabou no chão feito um pacote flácido
Agonizou no meio do passeio público
Morreu na contramão atrapalhando o tráfego

Amou daquela vez como se fosse o último
Beijou sua mulher como se fosse a única
E cada filho como se fosse o pródigo
E atravessou a rua com seu passo bêbado
Subiu a construção como se fosse sólido
Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes mágicas
Tijolo com tijolo num desenho lógico
Seus olhos embotados de cimento e tráfego
Sentou pra descansar como se fosse um príncipe
Comeu feijão com arroz como se fosse o máximo
Bebeu e soluçou como se fosse máquina
Dançou e gargalhou como se fosse o próximo
E tropeçou no céu como se ouvisse música
E flutuou no ar como se fosse sábado
E se acabou no chão feito um pacote tímido
Agonizou no meio do passeio náufrago
Morreu na contramão atrapalhando o público

Amou daquela vez como se fosse máquina
Beijou sua mulher como se fosse lógico
Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes flácidas
Sentou pra descansar como se fosse um pássaro
E flutuou no ar como se fosse um príncipe
E se acabou no chão feito um pacote bêbado
Morreu na contra-mão atrapalhando o sábado


Lyrics submitted by coppolov

Construção song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThat´s one of the greatest songs ever written in portuguese (and one of the best ever in any language, I believe). Many things, like in all of Chico´s work, are strongly related to brazilian culture, politics and society. Below I tried to translate in the best way I could.

    (Acutally, there´s a small part in the end that is very often sang after the lyrics above:

    "Por esse pão pra comer, por esse chão pra dormir
    A certidão pra nascer e a concessão pra sorrir
    Por me deixar respirar, por me deixar existir
    Deus lhe pague

    Pela cachaça de graça que a gente tem que engolir
    Pela fumaça, desgraça, que a gente tem que tossir
    Pelos andaimes, pingentes, que a gente tem que cair
    Deus lhe pague

    Pela mulher carpideira pra nos louvar e cuspir
    E pelas moscas-bicheiras a nos beijar e cobrir
    E pela paz derradeira que enfim vai nos redimir
    Deus lhe pague")

    In english, the whole lyrics must be a kinda like that:
    (warning 1: I don´t work with translations and have no formal education in this area;
    warning 2: that´s a free translation. I tried to keep the original sense, but that includes a lot of interpretation;
    warning 3: the lyrics are amazing in portuguese for the many forms to see them, in english it might have lost a lot of it´s best)

    "He made love that time like it was the last time
    He kissed his woman like it/she was the last (it´s nor clear whether he´s talking about the "last time" or the "last woman")
    And every child of his like he was the only one
    And went down the street through shy steps
    Climbed up the construction (building) like he was a machine.
    Made in a base four solid walls.
    Brick on brick in a magic design
    His eyes filled with cement and tears
    He sat to rest like it was Saturday
    And ate beans with rice like he was a prince
    And drank and hic-cupped like he was a castaway
    And danced and laughed like he was listening to music
    And stumbled in sky like he was a drunk man
    And floated in the air like he was a bird
    And smashed against the ground like a flaccid package
    And agonized in the middle of a public street
    And died on the wrong way disturbing the traffic.

    He made love that time like he was the last one
    He kissed his woman like she was the only one
    And each of his children like he was the prodigy one
    And crossed the street with his drunk pace
    Climbed up the construction like it was solid
    Made in a base four magic walls
    Brick on brick in a logical design
    His eyes filled with cement and traffic
    And sat to rest like he was a prince
    And ate beans with rice like it was the best
    Drank and hic-cupped like he was a machine
    And danced and laughed like he was the next one
    And stumbled in the sky like he was listening to music
    And floated in the air like it was saturday
    And smashed against the ground like a shy package
    And agonized in the middle of a castaway street
    And died in the wrong way disturbing the public.

    He loved that time like he was a machine
    Kissed his woman like it was logic
    Made in a base four flaccid walls
    And sat to rest like he was a bird
    And floated in the air like he was a prince
    And smashed against the ground like a drunken package
    And died in the wrong way disturbing saturday"

    Then there´s a final part recorded which is:

    "For the bread to eat, for this floor to sleep onto
    The certification to be born, the concession to smile
    For letting me breathe, for letting me exist
    May God pay you back

    For the free cachaça* that we have to swallow
    For this smoke, disgrace, that we have to cough
    For the swinging scaffolds from which we have to fall
    May God pay you back

    For the crying woman to praise us and spit on us
    For the flies to kiss us and cover us
    And for the peace which, at last, will come to redeem us
    May God pay you back."

    * cachaça is a kind of distilled alcoholic drink, kinda similar to vocka.

    What do I think the meaning is: all 3 paragraphs speak of a man falling from the top of a building under construction and I tend to belive they are 3 different men under 3 different circumstances.

    The first, a man who loves his family and tries to get the best from his hard life, but life itself is too hard for him. As he tries to deny reality, he stumbles and falls accidently (as he dances, so, as he was trying to cheer himself up), dying in the street. But as the last verse says, for everybody else, his death means nothing but a dead body disturbing the traffic.

    The second man seems to drink and cheat on his wife/woman; I´m not sure what´s the meaning of the fact that the walls are "magic" - is the construction imaginary? Maybe he isn´t even a worker there, he just climbed it to eat and drink and ended up falling - accidently like the first one, but for being drunk. Maybe falling from a construction is just a metaphore, for all I care. Anyway, he dies in a "shy" manner, which seems to disturb the public ("the crowd"). Were they expecting some spectacle?

    The third man seems completely numb. He loves like a machine, kisses his woman because it seems right, builds flabby walls (maybe for doing things so "auto-pilot"), falls and dies disturbing people´s saturday, when they should only be concerned about resting.

    The additional verses could be related with the military dictatorship in Brazil, in which people were forced into a hard life with no freedom and always threatened. Many people were tortured and "disappeared" during that time for being against the regime, so Chico, ironicly, thanks them for letting him live his life - full of misery, like the common men who die falling from the construction -, but enphasizing, "the last thing I can believe is that there will be some sort of divine justice. May God pay you back for what you´ve done".

    Anyway, it´s a trully amazing song, really hard to translate and even harder to analyze, but I hope my translation will help people who wondered what he was singing here.
    albotrindadeon April 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about the same event, seen by three different points of view.
    The first would be the most realistic, the most unbiased.
    It says 'obvious' things like:

    And danced and laughed like he was listening to music (people dance and laugh while listening to music)
    And stumbled in sky like he was a drunk man (drunk people stumble)
    And floated in the air like he was a bird (birds float)

    The second point of view would be the one of a judging middle class society, that condemns his every action.

    He kissed his woman like she was the only one (he's unfaithful because he's a jerk)
    And crossed the street with his drunk pace (he's always drunk, even at work)
    Climbed up the construction like it was solid (but he pretends not to be to keep his job)
    And sat to rest like he was a prince (Does he think he's a prince? That he can just stop and rest?)
    And ate beans with rice like it was the best (even his food is bad, but he pretends it's awesome)
    Drank and hic-cupped like he was a machine (he drinks a lot)
    And died in the wrong way disturbing the public. (whatever he's dead, the problem here is that his death is disturbing the 'nice people')


    Now the third point of view, I can't really figure out if it's his own or another external entity's.
    brickbrazion June 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don’t necessarily recommend this song to people looking for good Bossa Nova music. I recommend Joao Gilberto, Caetano Veloso or Gilberto Gil. This song is not the most pleasing to listen to as it becomes disturbing with the traffic noise in the middle. I guess that uneasy feeling is intentional. Apparently this song has some complexity to those who understand Portuguese (I am American with limited Portuguese vocabulary). I read the book “A Simple Brazilian Song’ by James Woodall that had some interesting information on this song:

    “Construcao has been labeled a protest song. Chico has always denied that he wrote this or any other song with the specific idea of ‘protest’ in mind; but both ‘Apesar de voce’ and ‘Construcao’, written around the same time, clearly contain his poetic assessments of life under the generals — Construcao more obliquely than Apesar."

    The book goes on to quote this scholarly analysis of the song by Charles Perrone ‘Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song’:

    “The text has forty-one lines of twelve syllables, all of which end in proparoxytone, that is, a word stressed on the antepenultimate syllable. A pattern of preterites organizes the text as two series of quatrains and a sextain comprised of verses from each of the four quatrains, with both series and sextain followed by an isolated single-line refrain. The strophes of the two series are differentiated only by the changing of the line-final word. Four new words are introduced in the second series, and the words used in the first now modify a different line. In the sextain, there is another substitution or switch at the end of each line.”

    If you understand this completely, you are smarter than I.
    norderon February 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionChico travels through a lot of styles, and I think he is one of the best bossa-nova songwriters, like João Gilberto and Tom Jobim, for example. But indeed, Chico is much more for one who wants to know about Brazil's culture and collective emotions, than for one who just wants to listen to a relaxing bossa-nova session. His work tends to be less conventional and more intense than the cited's works. "Construção" is a song that demonstrates it. It's almost all written in a E minor scale, with some complex chords (a lot of sixths), and its dramatic nature is emphasized by Rogério Duprat's arrangement (the traffic noise). The lyrics themselves; the three stories end up with the death of the characters.

    The Perrone quotation talks strictly about form. The metric matter is important because it clearly marks the song's rythmn, and the use of words that are stressed two syllables before the end of each line gives them a sense of harmonic continuity, which wouldn't happen if the last words were oxitone. For a native portuguese-speaker, it's kinda intuitive. But, in my opinion, the funniest thing about the lyrics is the fact that, in a progressive way, the three stories get completely distinct from each other by only switching the last words. I consider these stories the same, but in the first paragraph, it's told in a very linear way; in the second, it starts to get lost and subjective (as the arrangement gains strenght); and in the third, it's totally broken, almost psychedelic.
    fujiresanon April 29, 2011   Link

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