Don't get me wrong, I like the new album and all, but I gotta ask: what are the French words in Britney Spears' new song "Man On The Moon"? I'm real happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but this is one of the most confusing parts of a song of all time — all time! Spears's ninth and latest studio album Glory was released Friday, and the fourth track, "Man On The Moon," seems to be about Spears mourning the loss of a lover who is far away, whether metaphorically or actually physically "on the moon." The lyrics reflect that theme, with lines like "Houston, I know there's a problem here," and "last night I was in your arms so strong/ one small step and, baby, you were gone," a reference to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. So, you'd expect that French-language spoken word portion at three minutes and 45 seconds in to follow the same patterns, right? I did too — but it didn't quite go that way. After listening to the song approximately 23,948,239,847 times in a row, here's the transcript that I (and some Redditors) have settled on:
Château Marriott. Il m'amène au lieu du chevalier cet hivers. Cinq. Quatre. Troué. Doux. Homme.
To clarify, these are the words it sounds like she's saying, because I'm relying completely on the audio here, as there doesn't seem to be any official lyrics for this bit anywhere yet. Even Genius just has the following: "Château Marriott [?] [?]." So, yeah: we're all on our own here.
So, if those are indeed the lyrics, then a direct translation would be:
Marriott Castle. He brings me at the place of the knight this winter. Five. Four. Holed. Soft. Man.
It could also be "these winters," but either way — the sentence makes no sense. It's complicated by the fact that music plays in the background, and that Spears' pronunciation is not only wonky, but also mumbly — even isolating the vocals, which yes, I did do, didn't help with clarity. In fact, that somehow it made it worse. Briefly, I thought that maybe playing it backward might yield some kind of secret message — and I maybe heard "everything is you, mon amour," a mix of French and English, but that "maybe" is an extremely loose one — but I think what we all need to accept is that we live in a world where Britney Spears speaking French sounds juuuuuust a little like Britney Spears speaking French backward.
After long debate and many frustrated texts to my French-speaking friends back and forth — "I'm trying but I’ve listened to it 20 times and I legit can’t understand what she's saying please let me stop" — I've decided that what Spears was trying say is probably: "Château Marriott. Il m'amène au lieu du chevalier cet hivers. Cinq. Quatre. Trois. Deux. Un.” The first bit makes sense: Marriott's Grand Chateau is the hotel next door to Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, where Spears performs her "Piece Of Me" residency, so it makes sense. I'm still not sure what she's trying to get at with the middle portion with the knight and the winter, but I'm fairly confident that the end portion is intended to be Spears counting backward from five.
You can listen for yourself, above, but personally, I've already been through this song and Spears' attempt at a French accent so many times today that I think I need to go lie down.