Josipa Lisac: Ne Prepoznajem Ga (Jugoton, 1973)

18 Jun

Taken from side two of Josipa Lisac’s concept album Dnevnik jedne ljubavi (Diary of a Love), released in 1973 on the Zagreb-based Jugoton label, the State record label of the former Yugoslavia, Ne Prepoznajem Ga is a lengthy, elaborately arranged track dramatically evoking one of the later stages of the relationship whose beginnings and ending are traced across the album’s ten songs. It might best be understood as a version of the same idea of writing about adult relationships that had also underscored Marvin Gaye’s similarly-themed  Let’s Get It On (an LP released on Motown in the West around the same time as Lisac’s LP appeared in Yugoslavia) and perhaps there’s a similar impetus here to that behind Halina Frąckowiak’s Idę Dalej, released in Poland in 1974, too. Whatever drove this series of adult themed recordings in the early 1970s, there’s little doubt that Lisac’s material – written and composed by the songwriting team of Ivica Krajač and Karlo Metikoš, with arrangements by Brane Živković – is the equal of anything produced elsewhere in Europe or America in the period (many thanks are due to Simon Norfolk for both alerting me to the quality of this LP and supplying me with a copy). The song itself can be heard here.

Ne Prepoznajem Ga (I Don’t Recognize This)

(after Karlo Metikoš/Ivica Krajač, 1973)

I go with him silently through the city.
Everything seems like it used to be
but I feel, in my heart, it’s not the same.
His movements: I don’t know.
His gestures: no, I don’t know them.

He is walking faster than before.
His handshake is no longer hiding things.
Of his loving touch, whose gentle warmth
was once my refuge and shelter,
I ask: are these the hands that protect me now?

I follow his gaze but he remembers nothing,
not the table, the coffee, even my name.
He buys me five carnations,
forgets I don’t like them at all.
He whispers another name, not mine.

I follow in his steps as he walks away
but he’s going nowhere, everywhere,
down roads I’ve never seen before.
He pours me whisky with ice.
I can’t see myself in his eyes anymore.

I go with him silently through the city.
I don’t understand him or even know myself.
Everything seems like it used to be
but I feel, in my heart, it’s not the same.
This man I follow is a man I don’t know…

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