06 February 2006

the faces - "debris" (from the a nod is as good as a wink ... to a blind horse ... lp, available for purchase here.)

in brief : music for when you know it's not working.

ronnie lane was a bloke. the kinda guy who uses "was" where rod stewart would know to use "were." so bloke-ish, as a matter of fact, that billy bragg covered him, this v. song.

"debris," if you want to know, is about lane's father, the title refers to the leftovers to be found at markets on sundays, places lane's father often went, usu. w/ his son in tow. for bragg, the song is all about the third verse, which w/ its torn-from-the-headlines discussion of labor strife, becomes the bedrock of his marxist interpretation. that good ol' intentional fallacy sets you loose to interpret it as you will.

perhaps, like me, you're not often thinking of the lyrics, instead you're focusing on the music, remembering what a fantastic band the faces were. that music sounds as if it's missing something--no, not stewart's vocals, which appear in a backup role on the chorus. no, something far more fundamental, one of those things that once lost can never be found again, one of those things you pretend isn't missing for as long as you can.

see, before i did a search, i always thought "debris" was about a wrecked relationship, blasted rubble where something proud used to stand, and thus the title. (how to explain that third verse, then? oh, the things people talk about--newspaper headlines, for one--when what they want to talk about is indelicate.) what conveyed that sense to me, the title notwithstanding, was the line in the chorus : "i've been there and back, just to see how far it was," which later becomes "i've been there and back, and i know how far it is." when one travels the distance from here to there, he or she is sure to know the way back, but "debris" seems to raise the question, even w/ that knowledge, whether there is a way back.

in one sense, there is. people hang around perhaps longer than they should and stand at the top of staircases. but what do they find on their return? old feelings but new situations and arrangements, the space has remained the same but the furniture's all new : you can't get comfortable in the bed and all of your old stuff's been thrown out ... on the debris, and so back to the beginning. whether it's father and son, management and labor, or two lovers--something, or someone's, not working anymore and it's a crying shame.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post.