Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 14 Sep

Scarlet Nights

von: Ian McCartney Abgelegt unter: Blog | TB | 1 Kommentar

Two records that I never stop listening to, records that get played on a daily or weekly basis. This is stuff that never loses any of its fascination. David Sylvian’s Gone to Earth and Prefab Sprout’s Jordan: The Comeback. It would be fair to say that both of these works explore the theme of death. What is death, to the dead? Fuck knows. And I’ll be too dead to care when I myself am over the waterfall. It’s one of life’s imponderable questions.

Anyway, both records go into this broad theme in different ways. Gone to Earth brilliantly contrasts songs with instrumental compositions, moving from the groundedness of language into something beyond it, over into a world of mysteries and doubts unlimited by the need to check for fact or do reason. Jordan: The Comeback is all songs, no instrumentals, and it hints at a beyond, stopping at the shore and looking over. That’s how I read it, anyway. The writer Philip Pullman has this to say about stories:

 

As a passionate believer in the democracy of reading, I don’t think it’s the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means.

The meaning of a story emerges in the meeting between the words on the page and the thoughts in the reader’s mind. So when people ask me what I meant by this story, or what was the message I was trying to convey in that one, I have to explain that I’m not going to explain.

 

And so here’s how I read Jordan: the Comeback. The word Jordan relates to Elvis (whose backing singers were of course The Jordanaires). It also relates to the River Jordan, a place of miracles. The song’s fictional, once-mighty singing star says (note: says, not sings) in the title track he is „biding his time“ waiting to make a comeback. He just needs the right song for this to happen. But you just know the character is on his deathbed, and that the comeback won’t be a Vegas thing but a trip past the pearly gates. The song closes with this:

 

End of the road I’m travellin‘
I will see Jordan beckonin‘
Jordan, sweet Jordan
Hand me any cup you find that’s lying spare
I’ve longtime been a-thirstin‘ for a share

 

At which point Jordan (the river) becomes the place where crippled horses heal, and where autumn is reversed, as well as Jordan (the character) being the one who can dispense some of the river’s miracleness. The second last track, Scarlet Nights, hints that, yes, it’s the end. But it’s also a beginning:

 

This is where your sleepless eyes will close
This is where the weary find repose
This is where a kind of bugle blows
This is where you’ll wake to find the River Jordan flows

Dieser Beitrag wurde geschrieben am Freitag, 14. September 2018 und wurde abgelegt unter "Blog". Du kannst die Kommentare verfolgen mit RSS 2.0. Du kannst hier einen Kommentar hinterlassen. Pingen ist zur Zeit nicht erlaubt.

1 Kommentar

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Nights in white satin…

    That old song rings a bell or two
    To whom the bell rings
    (Shadow under lark‘s wings)
    To me or you
    Just everybody‘s voodoo

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