These hefty, mustachioed guys hung with toy medals in colorful clown uniforms and funny caps look like a circus troupe, as real punks should be. And the song “Mama ŠČ”, with which they arrived at Eurovision 2023, sounds exactly like a kindergarten chants, under which for some reason adult men march. The text of the song, the name of which is understandable without translation to both the Slavs and many other peoples of the Earth, consists of only a few words. But its meaning, if you listen carefully and read what the members of the Croatian group Let 3 say about this, is not at all childish.
Croatia is a small country that, like in Greece, has everything, including punks who are not inferior to their troublemakers habits of their colleagues from the United Kingdom. (Recall that the Eurovision Song Contest this year is hosted by the United Kingdom, and not war-torn Ukraine, as originally planned). And the guys from Let 3, who compose and sing music in the world-famous genres of “alternative rock” and “punk rock”, are simply the kings of performance and outrageousness, for whom there are no forbidden topics and sacred cows.
This is what causes indignation of respectable citizens, who call for their performances to be banned, musicians to be fined and even put in jail for their insolence. And indeed, not a single Croatian TV company will broadcast not only the concert, but even excerpts from Let 3’s public performances or individual clips of their authorship. In response, Croatian punks appeared on one of the squares in Zagreb and … staged their own execution there, which further increased their popularity among young people and angered conservative politicians and church representatives who tirelessly called thunder and lightning on the impious heads of Let 3.
So what is the song “Mama ŠČ” (“Mother”) about, in the text of which several words are repeated: “mother”, “tractor”, “Armageddon”, “grandmother”, “moron” and “psycho”, as well as the refrain “traina-nina” that does not have a clear meaning? It is about a guy who goes to war, and about his mother, who bought a tractor for some reason. At the same time, the main character, on whose behalf the song is performed, compares the war with the game, and his mother fell in love with the “psychopath idiot” despised by her son.
In the uncomplicated text of the play, one can easily guess a hint at today’s events in Ukraine and at bosom friends – Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. Moreover, the mention of the tractor evokes associations with Belarus, its rather archaic industry inherited from the USSR, which still produces almost Soviet-made combines, MAZs and, of course, the Belarus tractor. Or maybe about a secret desire to buy a tractor and get away from this bedlam.
The song “Mama ŠČ” intertwines images of an innocent and carefree childhood, when war, familiar only from books and films, seems like an exciting game like playing Cossack robbers or soldiers, and harsh reality, in which modern dictators manipulate living people and manage their lives. The “Evil Psychopath”, from whom the mother is crazy, is a sinister and comical character at the same time, reminiscent of either Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, or his prototype from a real story. And the rockets that the guys from Let 3 bring onto the stage resemble children’s crackers.
But on the forehead of the guy who holds them, a mysterious abbreviation is written, which, if the letters are reversed, reads like Lenin. Knowledgeable people assure that the test and arrangement of the composition contain allusions to modern Western politicians – Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz, Boris Johnson and Joe Biden, as well as to the generals from the Pentagon. If so, these hints are very well hidden. Well, and the mysterious “nanny” that is mentioned in the text is, perhaps, none other than “nenka”, Ukraine. In a word, this song, the anti-war meaning of which is clear from the very beginning, is a real puzzle, even though half of the words used in it are understandable without translation even to people who do not understand anything in the Croatian language! Will this song influence the minds of listeners in Europe, on whose position the fate of Ukraine depends? This will become clear in the very near future.