Monday, 18 August 2008
Halfwits and Twothirds-Twits...
Deciphering the Secret Meanings of Songs, or perchance reading too much into it all. Lyrical analysis of sorts, in any case.
Try Not to Breathe (R.E.M.)
"I will try not to breathe,
I can hold my head still,
with my hands on my kness.
I need something to breathe.
I will try not to burden you,
I can hold this inside.
I will hold my breath
till all these shivers subside.
I will try not to worry you,
I have seen things that you will never see.
I shudder to breathe ."
As it can undoubtedly be inferred from the excerpt above, the aforementioned song from R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People clearly has a narrative structure. The song depicts a sufferer of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, who -in an unnamed location- has a heavily-seasoned dinner (possibly, yet not certainly, a hot Indian Curry), as a result of which he/she is afflicted by a particularly violent attack of diarrhoea. The narrator of the song has obviously not dined alone and, thus, the song is addressed to his/her date, from the latrine over which the narrator is currently squatting. As the song goes: "I will try not to breathe, / I can hold my head still, with my hands on my knees (...)." Our diarrhoeic hero even attempts to halt his watery excretions at a certain point in the narrative, whilst getting the world-famous vindaloo-sweats: "I will try not to burden you, / I can hold this inside. I will hold my breath / till all these shivers subside."
The protagonist of the song looks down into the septic pit under his feet and, looking into the abyss, the abyss stares back at him: "I will try not to worry you, / I have seen things that you will never see." Even the title of the song -Try Not to Breathe- refers to the pungent stench of the only partially digested turmeric-infused, cardamon-imbued, chilli-riddled amalgam of meat and rice. "I shudder to breathe," he/she affirms, as the song approaches its almost dysenteric end.