Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Set Fire to the Third Bar" by Snow Patrol (Click)

Been listening to two versions of this song, one sung by Martha Wainwright (original) and Cheryl Cole (cover).  I can see why many people would prefer Cole's version because her voice sounds more nasal, more pleasing to the ear.  Wainwright's voice is a lot sharper, and reminds me of Kate Bush.  Wainwright's voice is not what you'd normally hear in radio pop songs.

I much prefer Wainwright's version.  The intensity of her voice is a clear contrast to Gary Lightbody's, which is also quite nasal.  When I listen to them sing, I can hear the excrutiating yearning in their voices.  If their voices matched, that effect would be lost because they'd sound too well-blended, which is what I hear when I listen to Cole's version.  When Cole and Lightbody sing the duet, her voice almost overpowers his.  When Wainwright and Lightbody sing, his voice sounds more velvety, an effect that I find very emotive for this song.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Notes on The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem] (click)

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning"

The psalm from which Faulkner took to become the title of his novel is number 137.  Clicking on the link in the title will show you the entire psalm.

Psalm 137 talks about the Jews being held captive by the Edomites, and later likely forced into slavery.

How do the main characters of TWP embody that idea?  Charlotte appeared to be living in an unhappy marriage, held captive, if you will.  Her lover, Harry, is enslaved by poverty.  For them, captivity is more metaphorical.  For the Tall Convict, however, he was literally serving a prison term for a failed railway train robbery.  Later on, the Tall Convict manages to escape, but does that act lead to freedom?  Charlotte and Harry have escaped, with her husband's blessing and a threat at the same time, but are later faced with poverty again.  Charlotte tries to find ways to make a living, but Harry is too proud to accept her earnings.  For the couple, they are also tormented by the fact that they are "living in sin" and it is unclear if they are still in love with one another.

I am as yet unable to make sense of the 2nd part of the verse: "let my hand forget her cunning."   In NIV, it is translated as "let my right hand forget its skill."  In the NLT, it says "let my right hand forget how to play the harp."  In the Old Testament, the Jews were given the city of Jerusalem as their Promised Land by God.  When the city is attacked and levelled to th ground, the Jews are taken captive.  Hence, they (Jeremiah) vows in this hymn to never forget the Promised Land, and if they should forget about the gift that God gave them, that they should lose their ability to play music.

For the characters in TWP, what is Jerusalem?  Is it "freedom?"  Is it "true love?"  Is this in essence a pledge to freedom and true love, that they should never give up the fight to find these things?  That if they do, let them lose the human spirit for the Tall Convict and true love for Charlotte and Harry?

I have read a little more than 1/4 of the novel.