Friday, 30 April 2010

Beatles lyrics

Listening to the Love album, and enjoying it too, although it strikes me as an only slightly upmarket version of those 'Stars on 45' mashup singles that were such a big hit in the early 80s. But the listening has prompted a particular thought. I wonder if the default mode of mature-period Beatles lyric (I mean, once they're past their 'I wanna hold your hand' stage) is a kind of fruitful tension between mundane-metaphorical and fantastic/surreal-literal. Two examples: 'Eleanor Rigby wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door' might mean, mundanely, 'she keeps her make-up in a jar, and applies it before going out; or it might Pepperland-surrealistically mean that she has an actual face in a jar and clips, or otherwise fixes, it to her faceless head before leaving the house. More specifically, really it means both these things at the same time. Or again:
Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come.
Actually sitting on a gigantic cornflake? Or in recognisable idiom, 'all I had for breakfast was a bowl of cereal, and now I'm sitting outside waiting for the van to pick me up and take me to the building site' (with its implicit: 'cornflakes isn't really enough for a working man's breakfast' ...)

No comments: