Friday, February 15, 2008

song of the week: don't talk, put your head on my shoulder

Now back online with my intermittent wi-fi connection, I think it’s only right to resurrect the blog with a nod to Valentine’s day and one of my favourite love songs.

The Beach Boys have written some of the greatest love songs on earth, God Only Knows and Wouldn’t It Be Nice springing immediately to mind. But it’s the quiet drama of Don’t Talk, Put Your Head on my Shoulder that gets me every time.

Opening with that stern (minor, right? spot the musical ignoramus) chord, the song manages to be both cinematically epic and understated, as all the misery of love is echoed in Brian Wilson’s Californian wail. The listener is immediately thrown into the position of somebody waiting for something beautiful to end. There is aching hound dog resignation in Wilson’s performance, stretching into plaintive sighs and that drawn, elegiac ‘heartbeat’.

Working against the song’s almost lazy melancholy is the tick-tick of the cymbals, marking the fast-approaching end of this elegant sliver of lethargic, calm heartbreak. There is no musical door slamming or hysterical crying, but rather a deep, quiet understanding that even the most sincere attempts at love are doomed, or will end, or are impossible. All passion has made way for chaste consolation, brimming over with unresolved desire and disappointment. The song goes no where, because the thing it’s singing about can go nowhere.

The strings make their unsettling and miserable progress through the song, building to the almost-crescendo of that drum-roll, knocking at the door of a relationship’s end. Tugging at the song’s beautiful drowsiness is the knowledge of inevitable parting, matched with a wilful sense of denial. It is a song that expresses a bitterly lovely agony and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.


At 16 February, 2008 09:09 , Blogger minifig said...

Jeez, about time too!


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