10 May 2006

julie london - "the end of a love affair" (from the essential lp, available for purchase here.)

first, if you like chet baker at all, you should own a julie london album. julie is the female chet, and vice versa : neither has a "great" voice--julie described her own as "only a thimbleful of a voice"--but they know what they do have, and so they know what songs to sing and they do them v. well. julie, though, didn't play the trumpet, but that's okay b/c

plus she married

and

which means she's into a guy's personality. which warms this average-looking guy's ever-loving heart.

"the end of a love affair," title aside, does the same. the arrangement is gorgeous, by pete king, best known for his work on the dean martin-judy holliday film bells are ringing (if known at all). something about the combination of bass, bells, and strings made me open the window next to the computer. so as the breeze brings out the gooseflesh on my arm, i find i'm in the right mind to listen to this record, a warm song, a confession of almost being over someone; though the chill wind of the orchestration gives the lie to the pose, reminding one just how far s/he still has to go.

if you've never heard julie before, she sounds just as you'd imagine she would based on the above photo. her voice is so that you'd be worried a/b the effects of secondhand smoke if you weren't so taken in. julie is, according to the lyric, just doing everything too much, a classic barthesian dark glasses situation : "i want to keep the moral advantage of stoicism, of 'dignity' ... and at the same time, contradictorily, i want to provoke the tender question ('but what's the matter with you?')."

what's the matter w/ julie? she's lonely and low as can be. another problem w/ julie is that there is no "you" in this song; there are "they"s and "him," and on the chorus she speaks of herself as "you," but that's not the kind of "you" one can, or should, have a conversation w/, only discourse. w/o the actual you--that is, w/o the other--there's no one to ask her the tender question. so she intensifies the pace, she smokes a little more, drives a little faster. "what else can you do"--though she is really asking, "what else can i do"--"at the end of a love affair?" if you're julie, you let the arrangement, a wondrous salve, play out and plot your next move, even if it's nothing more than closing a window or requesting a favorite song.

2 comments:

Dave said...

Fred, your blog is magnificent. Thank you.

fred said...

david, thank you v. kindly. i enjoy the rawk as well, even though the rawk never starts around here!