Monday, September 15, 2014

Let's Make Pictures

This dreamy, breathy melody is prescient of "Cherish" by the Association, or perhaps that was a throw-back to this earlier sound. (Again, the author is "unknown," but the song is on a CD of Jerry Landis reissues.)

The song opens with a chorus of women singing what sounds like an ad for a vacation: "Sunlight shining on snow-capped mountains/ Lovers strolling by sparkling fountains."

But the speaker then reveals that this is a vacation he takes in his mind... when he is in the embrace of his beloved. "Close your eyes, I'll close mine/ Kiss me/ Let's make pictures, pretty pictures tonight."

With his eyes thus closed, he anticipates the serene scenes he will imagine: "One by one, soon they'll come/ I see pictures when you're holding me tight."

So intense are these images that he prefers them to both visual reality and any sort of auditory input: "Don't wanna hear bells ring, bird sing/ Like some other lovers do."

Lest the person kissing and holding him feel left out, thinking perhaps his flights of fancy are solo excursions, he clarifies: "I just wanna see those pictures of my future with you."

The other notable feature of this song is that Simon/Landis speaks some of the lyrics, as in the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." This was not a precursor to rap, as the lyrics are not read rhythmically, but simply read, the way an actor might read his lines.

The song portends to sophistication, but is clearly the work of a teenager trying to sound mature. But that's the case-- he can't afford to take his girlfriend to Tahoe to see sunlight glinting off snowy peaks, let alone to the famous fountains of Tivoli near Rome.

All he can do is visualize being able to take her to these resplendent romantic vistas. Luckily, he has a vibrant imagination and the poetic gifts to express it. Also, a girlfriend appreciative that he wants to take her to such pretty places, and might have the ambition to pull it off.

Every success begins with a dream, and she inspires him to lavish dreams. Maybe they will only make it as far as Coney Island or Niagara Falls. But wouldn't you rather be there with someone who thinks that it's just grand... than someone who grouses their way through Paris, muttering about prices and waiters and traffic?

Maybe this couple grew up into the one in Simon's song, "America," imagining their way down the highway from Michigan to New York on a Greyhound: "Laughing on the bus/ Playing games with the faces."

Even now, while they are just making out on the couch, he is able to transport them to the Riviera. So, it's only in their minds-- where, after all, is their love?

Next Song: One Way Love

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