99 Red Balloons Lyrics English Translation

7 min read Jun 10, 2024
99 Red Balloons Lyrics English Translation

99 Red Balloons: A Story of Misunderstanding and Nuclear War

"99 Red Balloons" is a song by German synth-pop band Nena, originally released in 1983. The song achieved global success, topping the charts in several countries.

The lyrics of "99 Red Balloons" tell a chilling story of misunderstanding and escalation leading to nuclear war. Here's a line-by-line translation of the English version:

Verse 1

99 red balloons Floating in the summer breeze 99 red balloons All around the world you see Floating in the summer breeze 99 red balloons

The song begins with an innocent image of red balloons floating in the summer breeze, suggesting a carefree and idyllic scene. The repetition of "99 red balloons" emphasizes their ubiquity and their seemingly harmless nature.

Verse 2

One by one they floated down Like a hundred little lies One by one they floated down Till the whole sky was red with surprise

The balloons are no longer innocent symbols of joy. The use of "little lies" suggests deception and the potential for something sinister. The balloons are descending, signifying a growing sense of unease and foreboding. The "surprise" is the realization of the danger they pose.

Chorus

99 red balloons Filled with helium We were floating in the summer breeze 99 red balloons Filled with helium Floating in the summer breeze

The chorus repeats the image of the balloons, emphasizing their abundance and the potential threat they represent. The mention of "helium" suggests the balloons' lightness and fragility, but also their potential for destruction.

Verse 3

General, we're talking to you General, listen to me You've got to stop them General, you've got to save the world Oh-oh, general, don't let them fall Don't let them fall Oh-oh, general, don't let them fall

The lyrics shift from an observational perspective to a direct plea for intervention. The "general" is a symbol of authority and power, the one who has the capacity to avert disaster. The repetition of "don't let them fall" highlights the urgency of the situation.

Chorus

99 red balloons Filled with helium We were floating in the summer breeze 99 red balloons Filled with helium Floating in the summer breeze

The chorus repeats the message of danger, the impending threat of the balloons. The repetition reinforces the growing sense of anxiety and fear.

Verse 4

The general, he had no idea What to do with 99 red balloons 99 red balloons They were floating in the summer breeze The general, he called up the army "Shoot them down, shoot them down" "Shoot them down, shoot them down"

The general, overwhelmed by the sheer number of balloons, resorts to a violent solution. The repetition of "shoot them down" highlights the escalation of the conflict and the inability to find a peaceful resolution.

Verse 5

99 red balloons In the summer sky 99 red balloons Filled with helium 99 red balloons In the summer sky 99 red balloons Filled with helium

The final verse returns to the initial image of the balloons, but the imagery is now imbued with a sense of tragedy and loss. The balloons are no longer innocent, but symbols of the destructive potential of misunderstanding and fear.

Outro

The bombs went off, and the people died It was the summer of '45 We were floating in the summer breeze Floating in the summer breeze

The song ends with a chilling revelation. The balloons were not simply harmless objects, but a metaphor for nuclear weapons. The reference to "summer of '45" evokes the devastation of World War II and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The final lines underscore the lasting impact of the events, the enduring threat of nuclear war, and the fragility of peace.

"99 Red Balloons" is a timeless song that speaks to the dangers of miscommunication, fear, and the potential for escalation in a world with powerful weapons. It is a cautionary tale that reminds us of the importance of diplomacy, understanding, and the need to prevent the unthinkable from happening.