Monday, March 14, 2011

Cry Baby Cry

Richard Furnstein: John puts his finest Paul disguise and writes a gothic fairytale about simple (if not affluent) characters living their lives. No judgment is provided by the narrator, just a knowing wink of the routine and mundane. Is there anything more expected than a baby's cries? Lennon balances the frenzy and fantasy of his verses with the "Oh, life!" refrain. It's an effective way to move the storyline, but also the same songwriting offenses that later fueled John's rage at Paul. It's essentially "Ob-La-Di" in a posh English countryside setting. Paul's third world drama is replaced by Lennon attempting to capture the warts and farts of the upper class in a psychedelic jar. He uses cooler words than McCartney, to be sure.

Robert Bunter: Despite the McCartneyesque lyrical and songwriting constructions, this song just screams "White Album Lennon track." It's got the elegiac sadness of "Dear Prudence," the ADT drum sound of "I'm So Tired," the "Heartbreak Hotel'-length delay on the piano and vocals of every White Album song with piano and vocals, the Oedipal undertones of "Julia," the creepy sound effects of "Revolution 9," and the subtle mood of menacing doom that the entire record reeks of.

Richard Furnstein: It's not so much doom as a creepy sense that something is askew in this doll's house. Characters like the King of Marigold and Duchess of Kirkaldy are highlighted in compromising positions; namely, domestic duties that betray their posh surroundings. The overall effect is like walking past a room and finding someone unexpected out of the corner of your eye. You aren't supposed to be here, Beatles fan. The rich and famous are busy adjusting their wigs and trying their best to play "common people." What gives you the right to view their sad act? The mundane activities are quickly disrupted by the appearance of supernatural forces, truly exposing the vulnerabilities of the ruling class. Ghosts and the great beyond dog us all. The seance scene confirms the sense that something isn't quite right (and the looming bass piano notes only add to the suggestion of dread).

Robert Bunter: The same John who just wrote "Glass Onion" to tell us all how much he resents being our psychedelic fantasy dreamweaver weaves a psychedelic fantasy dream on this one. But while Lennon was tripping on LSD and reading his Lewis Carroll anthologies, the rest of us were growing up - FAST. I remember where I was in 1968 when I first heard this fantastical miasma ...

Richard Furnstein: Oh, this song and dance again. The "fantastical miasma" of 1968. You were in seventh grade, popping pathetic boners to "How Green Was My Valley." I guess hindsight is 20/20 and paisley shaded and on angel dust.

Robert Bunter: (hurt) OK then. I guess I don't have anything else to say about this song.

Richard Furnstein: Gosh, I thought you'd at least give some love for Paul's "Can You Take Me Back" snippet. Wait, are we analyzing that one separately? I could get way heavy into that one.

1 comment:

  1. paul's all "oh no,song's ending gotta get in there real quick and do something fruity!"