Focus on the Lyrics Friday: Budapest

This was a song I actually wanted to analyze a while ago, but I completely forgot about it until I heard it on the radio yesterday. Before writing this post, I had no idea what this song meant. Actually, I thought the singer, George Ezra, was some middle-aged, silver-haired chap.

Turns out, he’s just British.


Lyrics

My house in Budapest
My, my hidden treasure chest
Golden grand piano
My beautiful CastilloYou
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d leave it all

My acres of a land
That I’ve achieved
It may be hard for you to
Stop and believe

But for you
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d leave it all

Ooh, for you
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d leave it all

And give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

My many artifacts
The list goes on
If you just say the words
I, I’ll up and run

Oh, to you
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d leave it all

Oh, for you
Ooh, oh
Ooh, I’d leave it all

And give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

My friends and family
They don’t understand
They fear they’d lose so much
If you take my hand

But, for you
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d lose it all

Oh, for you
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d lose it all

And give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

My house in Budapest
My, my hidden treasure chest
Golden grand piano
My beautiful Castillo

You
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d leave it all

Oh, for you
Ooh, you
Ooh, I’d leave it all

Analysis

At its core, this song is a love song. The singer would leave everything–his home, his wealth, etc–for the one he loves.

I read a couple other interpretations online and someone suggested that this song is related to Archduke (and heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne) Franz Ferdinand. Never one to discount ludacris historically-based meanings for songs, I looked up the specifics of Franz Ferdinand, who is most famous for being assassinated (an event which led to WWI). Apparently, he was only supposed to marry a member of a reigning or formerly reigning dynasty in Europe, but he fell in love with an archduchess’ lady-in-waiting, Sophie Chotek. He would not consider marrying anyone else. Eventually, he was allowed to wed Sophie on the condition that she and their children would not inherit his titles, privileges, or throne.

Sorry for the brief diversion; the history minor in me found that story fascinating.

1) “My house in Budapest / My, my hidden treasure chest /Golden grand piano / My beautiful Castillo / You / Ooh, you / Ooh, I’d leave it all”

The reference to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, makes the relation to Franz Ferdinand more plausible, since he was heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. More simply, these lines mention the singer’s home, his “treasure,” his “golden grand piano” and his “castillo” (which could refer to a type of guitar or a castle). Basically, we get the idea that the singer has a lot of beautiful, material things he loves…but not as much as he loves “you,” for whom he would “leave it all.”

2) “My acres of a land / That I’ve achieved / It may be hard for you to / Stop and believe”

The singer doesn’t just own land; he’s “achieved” this land through his work. It may be hard for “you,” his love, to “believe,” but he’d be willing to leave everything for which he’s worked hard for his love.

3) “And give me one good reason / Why I should never make a change / Baby if you hold me / Then all of this will go away”

These lines seem to be the basis of the music video, in which the change of one person sparks the change of another, then another, then another, until the whole room is full of change. Why should the speaker continue to live with all this wealth, away from the ones he loves. The “all of this” is the wealth, which the speaker says will “go away” if his love holds him.

4) “My many artifacts / The list goes on / If you just say the words / I, I’ll up and run”

This guy’s pretty well-off if he has artifacts. I wouldn’t want him to give all that up for me; I’d want him to give it up to me. I’m assuming “the words” he wants “you” to say are some proclamation of love.

5) “My friends and family / They don’t understand / They fear they’d lose so much / If you take my hand”

Franz Ferdinand’s story fits here too, since his family didn’t want him to “take [Sophie’s] hand.” I think the relations are too loose for the song to be about Franz Ferdinand, but I still like relating history to music. If the singer is willing to give up everything he has for the one he loves, of course his family would “fear they’d lose so much.”

Though the Franz Ferdinand interpretation is a little far-fetched, it’s my only explanation as to the importance of Budapest to the speaker. Perhaps it has some sort of personal meaning for Ezra.

Regardless, the sound’s light, attractive feel makes it interesting and catchy–as if to prove it, my mom’s been singing it around the house for the hour it’s taken me to write this post.

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