Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Like holding water in your hand

Astral Weeks has been praised for how it gleefully spits in the eye of conventional song structure. Only one track, "The Way Young Lovers Do," has something even resembling a chorus. It's only sung by Van Morrison twice, but if anything, this decision to keep it minimal allows the lyrics to remain potent and pure. It's not a chorus of the sing-along variety; the words never get stuck in your head. However, the imagery lingers—Morrison's two lovers stay with you long after the music stops. So it’s a catchy in that way.

"Then we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that we were," the Irishman begins. "And the way that we wanted to be / Then we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that I was for you / And you were for me."

It sounds like simple nostalgia. Lots of was's and were's. A clear desire to return to the beginning, the beginning of them, back to when the world wasn't just itself, but was a grand stage for all of their acts and words. Or perhaps it's more complicated. Maybe it's the realization that when it comes to our memories of things, the memories are often better than the things themselves. Or maybe it's about shaping and forming a memory into one that's more meaningful, more indelible, that way you have a memory strong enough to give you something to forever hold on to.

Or maybe it's more like this particular passage from Ulysses:
I was happier then. Or was that I? Or am I now I? Can't bring back time. Like holding water in your hand. Would you go back to then? Just beginning then. Would you?

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