Sunday, July 7, 2013

Our Song

In 1957 and 1958, Simon and Garfunkel were still known as "Tom & Jerry." They released some singles under that moniker in those years, collecting them in an album called simply Tom & Jerry (10 tracks, two of which are instrumentals). I cannot find the release date of this album definitively, only one site that estimates: "1958?"

Since we have, in this blog, been dealing with whole albums as much as possible, we will discuss these songs in the order in which they appear on this album, not in the order in which they were released prior to that as singles.

The first song on this album, "Hey Schoolgirl," has already been discussed, since it appeared on a box set. So we move directly to the second song, titled "Our Song."

Musically, it starts with a howl of sadness, stretching out the vowel in "She's go-o-o-one." Then it jolts into a speedy clip, about as fast as "Wake Up, Little Susie," which it sustains until the end. The song is certainly a rock song, but there is a touch of country twang in some of the guitar solos.

The song itself is about that special kind of torture that happens when a song that was "our song" is caught coming out of the radio, long after the "our" has ceased to be. The speaker is trying to move on, but the radio will not let him, so he is upset with "every DJ on the radio."

He mentions a practice which I am not sure still exists, that of "playing dedications." A listener could call in to a radio station and request that a certain song be played, "dedicated" to a certain other party the listener was sure was also listening. In this way, people could flirt, strengthen a relationship, tell a third party to back off, or even break up, depending on the message the given song contained. Someone might dedicate a song to an entire group, such as one's fellow graduates, as well. The DJ would say something along the lines of: "And here's "Earth Angel," dedicated from George to his angel, Martha."

In our speaker's case, the song he shared with his girlfriend is one popular enough to be dedicated with regularity. So he not only keep hearing the song, but mentions of couples who still share the song, while he no longer does... adding to his torment: "He (the DJ) doesn't know/ That once upon a time/ Our song made two hearts chime/ When you loved me so/ Won't they ever let me forget/ The day that we met."

Then comes a two-line bridge that seems out of place: "What will our friends say/ When they know that you've gone, gone away?" How would they know, relative to the content of this song? By the lack of his dedicating the song for her? By his reaction when the song comes on once again?

Functionally, the line only serves to remind the listener again of "Wake Up Little Susie," which it resembles strongly, and which contains the line "What're we gonna tell our friends/ When they say 'oo-la-la'?"

Our song, "Our Song," ends with this sliver of ironic hope: "...somehow I know/ She's bought the radio/ That's playing our song." He's fairly certain that she is not coming back, but at least she has to listen incessantly to this now-painful song, too. He doesn't want to actively make her feel bad, but if she does...

Next Song: That's My Story

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