Thursday, June 04, 2009
Also, the song is based on a Mozart piece. (What's That Song About, 8)
Today's song:M 79, from "Vampire Weekend."
What I Thought It Was About: At first impression, you'd think a group called "Vampire Weekend" would be making grimly gothic music over an industrial beat, or maybe something campy and Pink Floydish like The Dresden Dolls used to.
You'd be wrong, at least when it comes to M79, a song that was one of the rare songs to make it onto my "upbeat" playlist, mostly because of the quirky violin and tripping-up beat. (A tripping-up beat is one that is even more elusive to arhythmic people like me. The beat in M79 jumps and skips and stops and goes and eludes capture like a ferret in a meadow.)
One day, I was listening to "M79" on the way home from work and thinking about my Three Good Things and suddenly I realized Hey, I have no idea what this song is about. I'd thought initially that it was about going to see a girl, with "M79" being a bus in New York city. But then there's the part about charming one's way across the Khyber Pass... or that's what it sounds like to me, plus there's something about "Jackson Pollock."
So here's the song:
What It's Actually About: God, I have no idea. Why does everyone look to me for answers, just because I posted the song?
According to Song Meanings, the "M79" is either a bus in New York, or a gun. And, also according to that site, Jackie is a "hobo."
If you Google the phrase "Is M79 A Gun," you'll find out that, no, it's a grenade launcher, which makes no sense in the context of the song, unless it does, because while you can't be "Back seat on the 79" if that's a grenade launcher, an "M79" would be very helpful on the Khyber Pass, which is either part of an important trade route in Asia, or a restaurant in Oak Park, Illinois.
Then, looking up the lyrics, I found out, it's not "Jackson Pollock." It's "Jackson Crowther." Google him and you'll either link to a guy's Facebook page...or find out he's a minor league ballplayer. Or both. I've asked Facebook-Crowther to friend me and if he approves it, I'm gonna ask him if he's the guy in the M79 song.
And, finally, "Arch of glass?" Watch your step along the arch of glass? There's an "Arch of Glass" at The Museum of Glass... but that's in Tacoma, Washington. Where you can learn about the art of glass blowing and where, now, I'm sure someday to take the kids on vacation and bore them and while we do that, I'll be humming the song and telling my kids to watch their steps along the arch of glass.
But I've put that all together and solved the song. Here's what it is: A guy is riding across town on the bus to visit his girlfriend, who lives in a building that's got a variety of strange and/or ethnic tenants; she may be a different ethnicity, too. When he finally arrives, it's as though he's traveled through several different worlds and the experience has enriched him and he feels as though he's accomplished something akin to sneaking through the Khyber Pass. (Although there's also the possibility that charm your way across the Khyber Pass refers to ... getting busy, as the kids would say.)