Hey guys! 🙂
Recently I’ve shared with you Obsolete by Regina Spektor, and I thought I’d share one more song by her, one that I really like musically and that I think has quite interesting lyrics, which, just like with Obsolete and I believe most of Regina’s songs, can be interpreted in many ways.
The way I understand it is, that it’s more symbolic than literal. I think the lake is some kind of serious life problem that people are experiencing and deal with it in different ways. Some – the neighbours – sweep it under the carpet and prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist or at least it’s very much a taboo thing. Others – the kids – take it very lightly, make fun of it and don’t really care even if the problem gets worse, because of some fun aspect to it that they can see, so maybe this problem is drugs or something like that. – And then we have the genius, who I think represents anyone who is intelligent but also quite sensitive, who seeks some meaning in life but all he does is “wipingclean the ketchup bottle labels” instead. He actually wants to confront the problem head on and I guess also be somehow acknowledged for doing so, but overestimates his capabilities and ends up drowning under the weight of it because he can’t cope – commits suicide in the “lake”, I think. Perhaps he’s somehow too immature for that or something hence the “foolish child”? But has some feeling of fulfillment before he actually dies – the “orgasm”. Or maybe he actually doesn’t confront it but simply uses it as some sort of counter-weight to his dull and uninspiring life, which would make even more sense if we’re indeed talking about drugs or some other addictions.
I could be totally off with that, but since I don’t think we know officially what the song was meant to be about, I don’t really care, and I’ve seen both similar and different interpretations of it.
What do YOU think it is about?
Hi guys! 🙂
So why not have a listen to another song by Cornelis Vreeswijk, plus a cover by Marie Fredriksson?
Again, we have a female character here, which comes up even more often in Vreeswijk’s songs and poems. The character of Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad is based on his muse and friend who was Ann-Christin Wennerström. And, the portrayal of her that we get from all the songs with her in them is quite interesting and ambiguous. I like Ann-Katrin a lot and hearing this song always makes me sad. First, because it comes from Cornelis’ very last album, (Till Fatumeh – Rapport Från De Osaligas Ängder”) which was recorded about a month or so before his premature death (he died from liver cancer at 50). Secondly, because the song indicates that Ann-Katrin was a drug addict, amphetamine more exactly as in the case of Vreeswijk, though he was taking loads of other stuff as well. The lyrics have a kind of raw but at the same time rather elusive feel and I really regret that I’m not good enough in neither Swedish nor English to write an adequate English translation for you without risking a major linguistic catastrophe and a great prophanity, the more that there are none available online. The only thing that bugs me is the music style of it. Like, seriously, the lyrics on that last album are really captivating, you don’t have to agree with what he wrote and I most often don’t but his lyrics always have that captivating quality, but the musical arrangement of this album is mostly screwed. He maybe wasnät the greatest composer, but was such a great blues singer, and even managed to convince me to appreciate jazz a tiny little bit, and he was great at incorporating folk themes and motives in his music. And that last album is very much like classic 80’s pop, and this track is a great representation of it. I don’t like that at all and it clashes with the lyrics and generally with Cornelis’ actual musical style unbelievably! That turn to pop was motivated by that, after some years of relative fame, he had become forgotten and the way I understand it from what Iäve read he wanted to get the attention of people by doing something more… ahem, timely, or whatever, especially he wanted to attract younger people. It didn’t work, that is, he did get a lot of fame and largely from young people in Sweden after his death but not because those last two pop-ish albums did that, it was thanks to the Roskilde Festival where he played shortly before his death and, well, it looks like for artists it’s a common situation that they only get appreciated after they die. Perhaps that was better for him.
I like the expression of Marie Fredriksson’s interpretation of this song. I think in case of music, like, generally the arrangement, it’s her who wins here! But she’d never write as good lyrics as Vreeswijk did, haha. Marie Fredriksson’s cover again comes from the tribute album “Den Flyggande Holländaren”.