Thursday, September 17, 2009

So, in the end, it's about... what? My story? Some ocelots? This is all unresolved! (What's That Song About, 9)

Today's Song: Andy's Chest, by Lou Reed.

What I Thought It Was About: I first heard this song when I got Lou Reed's "Transformer" on CD, a purchase I made for the sole purpose of getting Walk On The Wild Side. Before buying the CD, Walk On The Wild Side was one of three Lou Reed songs I'd ever heard. The other two were "Vicious," which was the B-side of Walk On The Wild Side, which song I had as a 45 record back in the 1980s. I used to play it on my stereo in my dorm room -- playing that song, and also the song You Really Got Me by The Kinks. (I later sang You Really Got Me as an audition song to try to become lead singer of a band. I didn't get the job.) The third song was Dirty Boulevard, which I'd bootlegged off the radio one day.

When I listened to Transformer, I had no idea what Andy's Chest was about. I assumed it would be about... Andy's Chest. I didn't know who Andy was, or why his chest was worth singing about. I assumed Andy would be some guy like the kid in Dirty Boulevard.

Here's the song:

What It's Actually About: Lou's imagery, and the catchy way he sings the lyrics that adamantly refuse to rhyme (much), caught my imagination, and I read up on Lou Reed and found out that he hung around Andy Warhol a lot, and that he'd (purportedly) written this song to cheer up Warhol after the shooting, throwing together random images and phrases for that sole purpose.

The phrase that always stuck with me from this song was You know what happens after dark, which I later stole as the title for my story You know what happens after dark, about a girl who happens to be too near her dying friend and ends up becoming a gateway for souls to re-enter the world. So, really, the only connection between the song and my story were the title.

Here's another great song off that album: "Hanging Round."

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