Thursday, January 27, 2011

Song #6: You Can't Just Wish It Away

http://soundcloud.com/ignatius-zoo/you-cant-just-wish-it-away

You Can't Just Wish It Away (1st draft) by Ignatius Zoo

I don't even know how to begin explaining this one.

The tune came to me while I was walking through a shopping mall in Fort Lauderdale while on vacation one winter. Just the chorus, with that crashing drum sound. It was outside Dillard's. It stuck. That was over two years ago. The rest of the song came in dribs and drabs. The tune struck me as regretful and whimsical.

So the lyrics, I was determined, would go in the opposite direction. With a vengeance. It took a long, long time to produce the lyrics. The first verse came after a lot of self-cajoling. The second verse, longer yet. Then I was completely stuck. For months. And months. Finally, I just sat down with a pen and free-associated a bunch of absolute rubbish. And then ... Well, I don't believe in muses, as supernatural beings. But I can see why ancient artists were convinced that they existed. Because my muse just got really pissed off with me, and snapped, "Look, this is how the middle part goes; listen up." Words and music, in one go. No paper. I memorized it after one ... uh ... let's call it one listen, although there wasn't anything to hear.

I figured out how to play that middle part on guitar first, then the verses. Then the final verse, once I pictured a humongous monument on the beach at sunset. (This was long after leaving Lauderdale.)

The song stayed in my head for about a year, almost exactly as it sounds here. I always knew it would be four-and-a-half minutes long.

I have several songs in various states of completion at this point. This one was the closest to complete-completion. By my count, I'd be three songs behind at this point without releasing anything tonight. So here it is. And I'm just two songs behind now.

So, about those lyrics. What the hell do they mean? Have you ever heard a song or a poem and thought about it and thought about it until the meaning revealed itself to you? And it was all the more personal because of it? And then you heard an interview with the author, and he totally upended your personal interpretation?

So, let me put it this way. I know exactly what this song is about. And soon, so will you.


***


 You Can't Just Wish It Away
©2011, Ignatius Zoo

She just had too much beauty for her body to contain
So her dainty, silver fingers pulled the blade across her veins
Now her beauty's spilling through the forests and the plains
Paints everything slick scarlet 'til not a scrap of green remains.
You can't just wish it away.

Her children lifted up her body, carried it along
Their eyes were wide and wonderful, their throats were full of song
Other children joined with them, now they are a throng
Now no one takes away their rights, no one tells them they are wrong.
You can't just wish them away.

Their processional was met by heads of state
Clutching brittle, thousand-dollar dinner plates
Wearing shiny, plastic crowns upon their heads
Come to animate the living, and worship the dead
They brought carbon lights to shine
Down into the sugar mine
Where they're working overtime
Mining sugar, all the time
Just to dump it in the sea
To make it sweet for all the fishes
For all the vicious things that live there
Sweetly swimming in the sea
With hindsight, they might admit it wasn't such a great idea after all
But now there's sugar in the sea
And there will always be
Sugar in the sea
It's there to stay
You can't just wish it away.

They built her monument so high, it blotted out the sun
The stately marble casts its shadow over everyone
They lost her body somewhere once construction had begun
So now her tomb's a cenotaph, it weighs in at a million tons.
You can't just wish it away.

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