For the first installment of the Weekly Music Carousel, I decided to keep it as simple as possible. Hence, love songs, perhaps the broadest of possible themes. However, I wanted to put a twist in the exercise, otherwise I’d end up with things like “Endless Love” and “Halo” on the list. Well, not really, but the straightforward is less interesting than the unusual, so here we are.
Three unusual love songs that occupy a permanent space in my music library:
The fact that he’s six feet ten
Might instill fear in other men
But not in me, The Mighty Flea
Asked if I am mouse or man
The mirror squeaked, away I ran
He’ll murder me in time for his tea
Whenever I use a theme that involves unusual songs, Gordon Matthew Sumner is likely to make an appearance. I’ve been a fan since The Police, and he’s got music for every mood, occasion and emotion. “Seven Days” might be interpreted as a novelty song, but it’s more than that. Its pseudo-fantasy theme of a man considering challenging an intimidating rival for a fair maiden’s attentions aligns with Sting’s legendary “Ten Summoner’s Tales” album direction, and the jazz vibe makes is way more fun. Bonus points for the stolen “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” lyric at the end.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The Knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady Of Shalott.
Loreena McKennitt is an amazing artist, whose body of work I consider to be criminally overlooked. “The Lady of Shalott” is a Victorian Tennyson ballad that McKennitt set to music. The result is nothing short of breathtaking. The Lady subject of the song is cursed, and if she ever looks directly on the world (she sees reflections from a mirror), she will die. Tired of her secluded life, she one day sees Sir Lancelot and decides to look upon him and Camelot, sealing her fate. I spent nights with my old portable CD player repeating this track off McKennitt’s album “The Visit”. Finding that CD in the used rack of a shop in Singapore years ago was some kind of miracle. The embedded video is a wonderful performance of a (very) abridged version of the song; the original album track length exceeds ten minutes. I’ve embedded the (static) video of the full version at the end of this post.
E.. raccontano che lui si trasformò,
in albero e che fu
per scelta sua… che si fermò
e stava lì a guardare
la terra partorire fiori.. nuovi…
Ma un giorno passarono di lì
due occhi di fanciulla..
due occhi che avevano rubato al cielo…
un po’ della sua vernice
e sentì tremar la sua radice…
This is perhaps one of the weirdest, most fun and brilliant love songs ever written. Eros Ramazzotti’s “Favola” tells a story of a man who chose to be turned into a tree, and was happy and content until a woman comes by one day and he falls in love. The original is in Italian, but the YouTube clip embedded is the Spanish version “Fabula” since someone that speaks Portuguese shouldn’t need a translator to understand this version of the lyrics. 🙂
So there you have it – three strange, fantastic love songs.
Here’s the full-length version of “The Lady of Shalott”.