Construção by Chico Buarque Lyrics Meaning – A Lyrical Dissection of Socio-Political Commentary


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Chico Buarque's Construção at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

Amou daquela vez como se fosse a última

Beijou sua mulher como se fosse a última

E cada filho seu como se fosse o único

E atravessou a rua com seu passo tímido

Subiu a construção como se fosse máquina

Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes sólidas

Tijolo com tijolo num desenho mágico

Seus olhos embotados de cimento e lágrima

Sentou pra descansar como se fosse sábado

Comeu feijão com arroz como se fosse um príncipe

Bebeu e soluçou como se fosse um náufrago

Dançou e gargalhou como se ouvisse música

E tropeçou no céu como se fosse um bêbado

E flutuou no are como se fosse um pássaro

E se acabou no chão feito um pacote flácido

Agonizou no meio do passeio público

Morreu na contramão atrapalhando o tráfego

Amou daquela vez como se fosse o último

Beijou sua mulher como se fosse a única

E cada filho como se fosse o pródigo

E atravessou a rua com seu passo bêbado

Subiu a construção como se fosse sólido

Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes mágicas

Tijolo com tijolo num desenho lógico

Seus olhos embotados de cimento e tráfego

Sentou pra descansar como se fosse um príncipe

Comeu feijão com arroz como se fosse o máximo

Bebeu e soluçou como se fosse máquina

Dançou e gargalhou como se fosse o próximo

E tropeçou no céu como se ouvisse música

E flutuou no are como se fosse sábado

E se acabou no chão feito um pacote tímido

Agonizou no meio do passeio náufrago

Morreu na contramão atrapalhando o público

Amou daquela vez como se fosse máquina

Beijou sua mulher como se fosse lógico

Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes flácidas

Sentou pra descansar como se fosse um pássaro

E flutuou no are como se fosse um príncipe

E se acabou no chão feito um pacote bêbado

Morreu na contra-mão atrapalhando o sábado

Full Lyrics

Chico Buarque’s ‘Construção’ is not merely a song; it’s a narrative tapestry woven with threads of existential anguish and societal critique. This masterpiece released in 1971, during Brazil’s military dictatorship, transcends time and place, striking a chord with the universal struggle of the working class. What sets it apart is its ingeniously constructed poetry, set against a backdrop of hauntingly beautiful music that flirts with classical arrangements and samba tradition in equal measure.

Layered with metaphor and relentless repetition, the song unveils the dehumanizing grind of daily labor, capturing the last day in the life of an everyman construction worker. Buarque’s lyrics paint a vivid tableau of routine, love, and mortality through a gripping narrative that’s as timeless as it is poignant.

The Relentless Rhythm of Repetition: A Musical Metaphor for Monotony

The song’s structure mimics the repetitive nature of the protagonist’s life. Each verse mirrors the other, with the beginnings and ends of stanzas reflecting actions performed ‘as if for the last time’ or with an emotion uncharacteristic of the act. This relentless repetition resonates deeply with the monotony of the working-class routine, while also showcasing Buarque’s exquisite command over the rhythm and flow of his composition.

The subtlety with which Buarque deploys this technique renders the listener entranced. It’s a cyclical melody that captures the cyclicality of the worker’s existence. There’s a deliberate cadence in this repetition that echoes the sound of a life bound by the rigors of relentless labor.

Poetry Paved with Political Resistance

Buarque penned ‘Construção’ at a time when Brazil’s creative voices were stifled by censorship. The nuanced wordplay allows the song to double as a critique of the oppressive regime without inviting outright censure. Each verse advances a narrative, yet the end of each stanza jarringly shifts perspective—from a deeply personal human experience to a detached, impersonal interruption, symbolizing the individual’s significance being overshadowed by systemic structures.

The song’s innovative syntax not only challenges the literary norm but also speaks volumes of the political defiance embedded within. As opposed to lashing out directly at the dictatorship, Buarque’s approach is to construct the protest into the architecture of his lyrics, making the piece an enduring symbol of artistic resistance.

A Glimpse into the Protagonist’s Vulnerability

Amid the grand narrative, Buarque doesn’t forget to humanize the central figure. The lyrics tenderly touch upon the laborer’s personal moments of love and leisure—his affection for his family, his lunch break, his succumbing to the allure of music and dance. It’s this fleshing out of the character in moments of respite that renders the final, fatal moment even more devastating.

By juxtaposing the mundane with the profound, the song invites listeners to contemplate the spectrum of the human condition. Love, joy, and anguish are intertwined, with each emotion heightened by the stoic acceptance of life’s fleetingness.

The Hidden Meaning: A Life’s Tragic Crescendo

‘Construção’ culminates in a macabre finale—the worker’s death characterized as an inconvenience to the public. This anticlimactic end serves as a stark commentary on the disposability of the worker in the face of capitalism and the anonymity that shrouds the common man’s struggles.

Buarque’s narrative brilliance lies in how the song’s structure collapses upon itself, much like the worker does—in the midst of life, in the middle of the street, a ‘package’ that disrupts the status quo not in life, but in death. It’s a scathing indictment of society’s skewed value system.

Memorable Lines That Echo Beyond Borders

Lines such as ‘Amou daquela vez como se fosse a última’ (He loved that time as if it were the last) and ‘E se acabou no chão feito um pacote flácido’ (And ended up on the ground like a limp package) resonate with their profound relatability and vivid imagery. These phrases not only capture the essence of the worker’s plight but serve as a mosaic of human experience, capturing the dichotomy of life’s vigor and its fragility.

The finality in each act juxtaposed with the softness of daily existence captures a universal truth about the human experience. It’s Buarque’s emotional honesty, paired with an acute observation of socio-political landscapes, that makes these lines strike a chord, firmly planting ‘Construção’ in the annals of music history as a timeless classic.

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