29 August 2005

two mp3's about two girls named caroline.

colin blunstone - "caroline goodbye" (from the one year lp, available for purchase as an import here.)
matching mole - "o caroline" (from the matching mole lp, available for purchase as an import here.)

i've never known a caroline and i consider it one of the chief failures of my life so far. based on all i've heard about her, she sounds like a really nice bird, despite what lou reed's been whispering in my ear; a girl so dear and precious that the thought of her changing inspires heartache. the two songs i've posted today really make me wish i knew one so i could something quite lame like putting them on a mixtape for her--after all, she has to be getting tired of "sweet caroline" by now.

of course, thematically, it'd probably be a last-ditch effort on my part ... or, worse still, one of those mixes you make but never send. in "caroline goodbye" she's going; in "o caroline" she's gone. from the object of their affection down to their unavailability domestically, the songs are similar in a number of ways but there are differences, which come down to the singers themselves.

when he pushes himself, colin blunstone is able to express a panoply of emotions, most notably hysteria in "she's not there" and, because she is there (or soon will be), joy in "care of cell 44." when he stays within his range, though, he communicates very little, aside from cool (which shouldn't be undervalued). cool and, perhaps, resignation: that breathy tone suggests nothing so much as a sigh, a tone perfectly suited for "caroline goodbye." the song is related in the first-person, more likely a diary entry than direct address, but one gets the sense that colin would have no problem telling it to her face. after all, her love is ending--not his, a line as convenient as it is ancient. (another clasic boyfriend-who's-moved-on trope he employs: he stresses how much her career is taking off, how much she has to look forward to.) as the mellotron horns blow an ill wind during the chorus, but colin just bundles himself up in his self-possession.

i don't know if it's coming across, but it's an excellent song. the blunstone voice is a marvel and one always hoped he'd have more first-rate songs to sing; he must have thought something similar when he decided to write this one. additionally, i've always had a weakness for songs that can stare stoically in the face of a farewell.

what it isn't, though, is "o caroline," which, after "down river," is the second-greatest piece of music i will ever post on this site.

w/ that said, i don't want to say much more for fear of ruining it. robert wyatt is one of the dearest of men--wheelchair, right, but, like curtis mayfield, the man doesn't want your sympathy; he gets it nevertheless, through the simple act of opening his mouth. the same can't be said of me, so, by way of a conclusion, just a few more things that i believe (which, again, might make me a fool): i believe that stuart murdoch sleeps w/ this record on his pillow (and comes up w/ his best ideas through osmosis); i believe that there is an actual caroline whom robert wyatt is addressing the song to; i believe that people can actually win girls and save relationships w/ pop songs; i believe that the last couplet will break your heart, and if that doesn't, his harmony vocal on the final chorus surely will. i'll let robert say the rest:
david's on piano & i may play on a drum,
& we'll try to make the music work, we'll try to have some fun.
but i just can't help thinking that if you were here w/ me,
i'd get all my thoughts in focus & play more excitingly.

i love you still, caroline.
i want you still, caroline
i need you still, caroline.

if you call this sentimental crap, you'll make me mad,
'cos you know that i would not sing about some passing fad.
& if my attempts at rhyming aren't convincing to your ear,
then memory's betrayed you through the passing of the year.


you must think it doubtful that i mean the words i sing,
or that all attempt to reach you, this way could not mean a thing.
but you must admit we both thought we'd be man & wife,
& that i could make you happy for the best part of your life.

i love you still, caroline (8x).

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