"Nantes" as written by and Zach Condon....
Well it's been a long time, long time now
Since I've seen you smile
And I'll gamble away my fright
And I'll gamble away my time
And in a year, a year or so
This will slip into the sea
Well it's been a long time, long time now
Since I've seen you smile

Nobody raise your voices
Just another night in Nantes
Nobody raise your voices
Just another night in Nantes

Oh non je t'en prie, nous ne sommes pas chez nous
Oh je t'assure que ce n'est pas grave
Non laisse moi
Mais qu'est-ce que tu as aujourd'hui?
J'ai que les hommes me dégoûtent, vous ne pensez qu'à ça

Well it's been a long time, long time now
Since I've seen you smile
And I'll gamble away my fright
And I'll gamble away my time
And in a year, a year or so
This will slip into the sea
Well it's been a long time, long time now
Since I've seen you smile


Lyrics submitted by bollywoodtoile, edited by meaning600

"Nantes" as written by Zach Condon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Nantes song meanings
Add your thoughts

51 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +6
    General CommentI have a little true story.The girl i'm in love with lives in Nantes.I live in Athens (Greece).I miss her very much & this song expresses exactly the way i feel.Sometimes life can be so beatiful.
    doublecashon November 20, 2007   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI decided to make an account on this site so I could post my interpretation of the song. It's the first time I've actually sat down and written out what I thought a song was about line by line. I liked ileavubrethles idea that it centered around war and once I had that in mind I went from there, so thanks ileavubrethles! I could (and probably am) totally not anywhere near what the original intention of the song was but it's what I glean from it so w/e. Anywhere here I go...

    Listening to this song was like the first time I appreciated Shakespeare (which was Macbeth junior year =p). I've never done this before, but I felt compelled to try to analyze the song for myself. I was listening to it right before I was to start working on blogs, and I felt I needed to write something about it.

    The band apparently is the solo project of a man named Zachary Condon who is the sole creative force in the group and it's vocalist. Each song on the album is meant to evoke a different French city, in this case Nantes. Each city, in turn, represents a certain story that embodies, what Condon believes, to be the spirit of the city. The normal musical arrangement of the band focuses on the Ukelele, but for this album Condon began to take on musical instruments and styling inspired by French Chanson music which is any lyric driven French song. The other main stylistic influence of the album comes from a musician named Jacques Brel who is not widely known in English speaking countries because his music was done almost exclusively in French. His influence on American music was wide though, with artists such as David Bowie, Ray Charles, The Dresdon Dolls, Frank Sinatra, and Dusty Springfield.

    As for the inspiration for the album, Condon cites a hot air balloon festival in the early 1900's in Paris. It was also influenced by a photo from the World's Fair, one of the first color photos ever made, that depicts all of these hot air balloons about to ascend in the middle of Paris. Condon found the photo to be stunning and one of the most surreal images he had ever seen.

    Now that the the sound and material of the album is understood, I feel I can examine the song.

    "Well it's been a long time, long time now
    Since I've seen you smile
    And I'll gamble away my fright
    And I'll gamble away my time
    And in a year, a year or so
    This will slip into the sea
    Well it's been a long time, long time now
    Since I've seen you smile"

    This is the first stanza of the song. I believe the song to be about World War II, specifically an American soldier who is traveling to France by boat. Nantes is very very close to the Atlantic coast and soldiers there would have arrived by sea. He has arrived to Nantes and is thinking about the woman he left behind on the home-front. Her smile gets him through the hell he must witness. He is frightened by what he sees and in his spare time he beds with another woman (explained in the chorus). "...in a year or a year or so" means that whenever the war is over, he feels that everything he has done in Nantes, both the war and his affair, will be absolved by the sea. He finishes by once again, reflecting on his loved ones smile.

    "Nobody raise your voices
    Just another night to mourn to
    Nobody raise your voices
    Just another night to mourn to"

    This is the chorus to the song. The line "Nobody raise your voices" could mean two things. Either he is so sickened by his transgression that he doesn't want anybody to be too loud, should his lover hear his sin from all the way across the Atlantic. He could also be trying to rationalize his actions, by stating that what he is doing is no reason for anybody to get upset or "raise their voices" he is just doing what he must to survive the horror of war. Whatever it may be, his actions have become habit for him now and possibly an addiction. He feels helpless to control this fate that has been set for him, and although he realizes that these nights are in need of mourning, he feels like a bystander in his life unable to control the outcome.

    - Oh non je t'en prie, nous ne sommes pas chez nous.
    - Oh je t'assures que ce n'est pas grave.
    - Non laisse moi!
    - Mais qu'est-ce que tu as aujourd'hui?
    - Je sais que les hommes me dégoutent. Vous ne pensez qu'à ça...

    Translation:
    (-Oh no please, we're not at home.
    -I'm telling you, it's allright.
    -No, let me go!
    -What is wrong with you today?
    -I know the men disgust me. You all just think about one thing...)

    This is a recording of a dialogue from the French film La Bête Humaine(1938)("The Human Beast"). The movie is a chilling psychological drama, considered to be ahead of its time, that has become a cult classic. The dialogue mean to represent a specific moment in the main characters life in Nantes. He attempts to redeem sexual favors with his mistress in a place that is public, or at least not "home". It is at this point that he realizes what he has become during his time away from home. War and separation from the things he cherishes have sent him into a state where he can't recognize his former self. This dialogue represents the definitive moment of clarity in his life. He realizes the repercussions of what he has done.

    Well it's been a long time, long time now
    Since I've seen you smile
    And I'll gamble away my fright
    And I'll gamble away my time
    And in a year, a year or so
    This will slip into the sea
    Well it's been a long time, long time now
    Since I've seen you smile

    This is the third and final verse of the song. It is an exact repeat of the first, but it takes on a different meaning here. He has been back from the War for some time now, but rather than tell the truth and face his lover so that he may begin anew, he is consumed by guilt and does not see her upon his return. It has thus "been a long time" since he has seen her smile. He wishes to come to terms with his "fright" so that he may face her again but all he has accomplished is to "gamble away my time". He wants time to heal what has occurred, that it will simply "slip into the sea" but he knows in his heart that something that is so profound is not healed by time alone. This is illustrated by the fact that he is unsure of how long it may take(a year or a year or so). It ends with a small sliver of hope. He has fixated on her smile. It is a beacon that through everything, the war, his affair, his depression and loneliness, he could have her again. It isn't just her he wants back, it's his humanity; his soul.
    Decipi91on April 01, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment2nd Favorite! I lived in Nantes for a hot second, and there was this man who played accordion out side of my building like every day, and this reminds me of him. We used to bring him bread and hot chocolate.
    d15k0zachon December 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe this song is about setting off to get the one you love, almost a bit like that scene in “Across the Universe” where Jude comes back to get his girl, eh? Except with a French setting.

    “Well it's been a long time, long time now / since I've seen you smile.”

    A very nice way of saying he hasn’t seen who he’s missing for a long time.

    “And I'll gamble away my fright / and I'll gamble away my time.”

    He is scared to set off on his journey, and in the meantime he can only try and get rid of his fear and also the time leading up until when he plans to leave.

    “And in a year, a year or so / this will slip into the sea.”

    The year is the timeline. So after a year, he is going to embark. Considering Nantes is rather close to the Atlantic, it makes sense he would be residing there.

    “Nobody raise your voices / just another night in Nantes.”

    While this is basically the punch line of the song, it is also very mild and timid. The narrator is asking for peace and quiet, it’s just another night at home. I believe the journey he’s setting off on, to win his love, will be rather noisy and filled with excitement and he asking for downtime before he leaves.

    I believe the significance of the scene from the movie is perhaps something that happened with his woman. She insisted he leave her while he was fighting against it.

    Really a simple scene painted against absolutely wondrous music.
    pricillacoxon December 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhen i hear this song i fall in love again
    2HANDSon January 06, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlthough it would literally be translated as such, "Que'st-ce que tu as aujourd'hui" does not mean "What do you have today" but rather "What is wrong with you today?"
    80bpdqgon January 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe movie it is from is a 1940's french mystery movie called "La Bete Humaine" (the human beast)

    movies.arcoiris.tv/movies/lazzaretti_video/…
    spottedotson February 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe audio sample in this song is from Jean Renoir's "La Bete Humaine", a great film with Jean gabin from yhe book by Emile Zola...
    mimixon April 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI feel like the song is about a failing or destructive relationship.

    «Well it's been a long time, long time now / since I've seen you smile.»

    If the author meant to mentioned an aspect of the person that he misses, I think saying «since I've seen your smile» seems clearer. Following my interpretation, it seems the relationship has soured to the point where there is not much happiness left and no one is doing much smiling.

    «And I'll gamble away my fright / and I'll gamble away my time.»

    The author is apprehensive to leave, but stays in the relationship due to fear of ending it and some hope that it might get better.

    «And in a year, a year or so / this will slip into the sea.»

    The author really knows, however, that the relationship is slowly eroding, and it will eventually collapse into the sea.

    «Oh non je t'en prie, nous ne sommes pas chez nous.
    Oh je t'assures que ce n'est pas grave.
    Non laisse-moi !
    Mais qu'est-ce que tu as aujourd'hui?
    J'ai que les hommes me dégoutent. Vous ne pensez qu'à ça»

    The excerpt in French emphasizes the aspect of an unhappy relationship.

    «Nobody raise your voices / just another night in Nantes.»

    This is the most depressing line, I feel. The author has resigned himself to his fate. He finds no reason to celebrate or be boisterous, life just continues as usual. I imagine the author drinking someplace surrounding by people having a good time unable to enjoy himself due to the sorry situation he finds himself in.
    eskanderon December 25, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA better translation:
    - oh please, no, we're not at home.
    - i'm telling you, it's allright.
    - No, let me go!
    - What is wrong with you today?!
    - I know the men disgust me. You all just think about one thing....

    I think you get the meaning of the scene better with this.
    mintgreennovaon May 17, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain