Solução da Vida

Lyrics to “Solução da Vida” by Paulinho da Viola
Album: Bebadosamba (1996)

Good Audio Version

I believed in passion, and passion showed me that I’d lost my reason
I believed in reason, and reason turned out to be a great illusion
I believed in destiny, and let myself be carried along, and in the end
Everything’s a lost dream, mere folly, too many sorrows

Today with my disillusions I begin to think
That in life, passion and reason both have their place
And that’s why I tell you that it’s not necessary to seek a solution for life
It’s not an equation, it doesn’t have to be solved

Life, therefore, my friend, has no solution

— Interpretation —

Paulinho da Viola, one of Brazil’s most beloved sambistas.

Paulinho da Viola‘s lighthearted observations on life are one of the most charming parts of his music.  In this song, he encourages  listeners to stop trying to figure out their lives. In another, “Num Samba Curto” – which is often paired with this song in spoken word as “Molejo Dialético” (very roughly, “Dialectical Flair”)  – he concludes, “No one can explain life in a short samba song.”

In the documentary Paulinho da Viola: Meu Tempo é Hoje, he remarks that he doesn’t understand what it means to feel saudade, the Portuguese word that expresses feelings of yearning, longing, nostalgia, heartache, homesickness, and simply missing something — people, places, things, moments, etc.  Portuguese-speakers are almost universally proud to embrace the word saudade as one of the world’s most untranslatable and beautiful concepts. But Paulinho da Viola declares, “I think this thing of saudade, which is something I don’t feel, I’m unable to feel,  I’m not even talking about nostalgia, but saudade itself  – it annuls history, annuls life, places it in a separate time, something that we no longer have. And I don’t think like that.”

Later, he expands on this thought: “When I say I don’t feel saudade, it’s in a broader sense… it’s that thing of clinging to a given moment, as if you wanted to go back in time… My time is now. I don’t live in the past. The past lives in me.”

(But of course he has plenty of songs in which he sings quite convincingly about saudade.)

Lyrics in Portuguese

Acreditei na paixão
E a paixão me mostrou
Que eu não tinha razão

Acreditei na razão
E a razão se mostrou
Uma grande ilusão

Acreditei no destino
E deixei-me levar
E no fim
Tudo é sonho perdido
Só desatino, dores demais

Hoje com meus desenganos
Me ponho a pensar
Que na vida, paixão e razão,
Ambas têm seu lugar

E por isso eu lhe digo
Que não é preciso
Buscar solução para a vida
Ela não é uma equação
Não tem que ser resolvida

A vida, portanto, meu caro,
Não tem solução

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