Exploring "Join The Dots"

Started by SueC, August 06, 2019, 14:28:23

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Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on September 05, 2020, 06:22:18... I first came across it on the "Best Of" (which by the way it's really not, no matter if the record company deigned to call it that - it excludes so many gems in favour of more lightweight material)

Well it says "Greates hits" (as opposed to "best of") and those "hits" are included!
Apparently Robert agreed for the record company to release this, as long as he was allowed to compile the b-sides & rarities, which eventually was released in 2003 as (you guessed it) "Join the Dots"! (This project seemed way more important to him than the "hits" compilation.)

Quote from: SueC on September 05, 2020, 06:22:18If one was going to examine the main premise of this song's lyrics, I imagine one could have a lot of fun setting up two debating teams to discuss the affirmative case versus the negative case.  But what are we saying yes to?

Well, I believe Robert said there was a government campaign, versus drugs: "Just say no", which kinda inspired the song... ahem... :1f631:

Also, I seem to remember the song was a "leftover" from the Bloodflowers sessions (because it did not fit the mood of the album). It was a surprise to hear the Cure doing a "duet" (with the singer from Republica, who'd had a few hits in the 1990s).
It's never enough...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on September 06, 2020, 10:31:14Well it says "Greatest hits" (as opposed to "best of") and those "hits" are included!

:cool  Ah, thank you for that, @Ulrich - that will teach me not to look at a cover (but it was in an obscure shelf low down and I think I'm trying to avoid scrabbling around there) and to try to rely on my memory (these days I seem to be using the word "thing" and other metasyntactic variables more often, when I can't remember a word...).  :-D


Quote from: Ulrich on September 06, 2020, 10:31:14Apparently Robert agreed for the record company to release this, as long as he was allowed to compile the b-sides & rarities, which eventually was released in 2003 as (you guessed it) "Join the Dots"! (This project seemed way more important to him than the "hits" compilation.)

Brett is muttering about having to do deals with the devil. :lol:

But as it turns out, we have both, though I forgot the name of one of them!  :beaming-face


Quote from: Ulrich on September 06, 2020, 10:31:14
Quote from: SueC on September 05, 2020, 06:22:18If one was going to examine the main premise of this song's lyrics, I imagine one could have a lot of fun setting up two debating teams to discuss the affirmative case versus the negative case.  But what are we saying yes to?

Well, I believe Robert said there was a government campaign, versus drugs: "Just say no", which kinda inspired the song... ahem... :1f631:

Yes, ahem. :1f636:  You know, Brett mentioned when I wrote that last post that he remembered Nancy Reagan being involved in that campaign, in the 90s, and he said, "What's the chances it was about that?"  (By the way, the campaign didn't work, when you look at reviews of the data - top-down stuff like that rarely does.)

...I rather like your idea that if you can make a song fit your own circumstances and values (at least in your own head, and often consciously so), this can be a good thing!  ;)
SueC is time travelling

word_on_a_wing

Just Say Yes
...I notice an apple in the video, which seemed a bit out of place, but made me wonder ....do the lyrics have to do with Adam & Eve? The snake trying to invite Eve to eat the apple, encouraging "just say yes"?
Just a theory...
"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

Ulrich

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on September 07, 2020, 15:04:17...I notice an apple in the video, which seemed a bit out of place, but made me wonder ....do the lyrics have to do with Adam & Eve? The snake trying to invite Eve to eat the apple, encouraging "just say yes"?

Yeah sure; why not? It's an image that can come to mind when it's about "just say yes"! Of course the video will be done long after a song is written, but still it can contain images that were in the writer's mind.

As Sue said above "you can make a song fit your own circumstances and values (at least in your own head, and often consciously so)". To me, that song was a positive one, about saying "yes" instead of "no", e.g. having fun going out instead of staying at home.  :happy
It's never enough...

SueC

That's a good theory, @word_on_a_wing - anytime there's apples, it's so easy to think of that little story... :)  True story to illustrate - we live on a farm so when we don't have visitors, we're a sort of part-time nudist colony, due to lack of immediate neighbours (the cows don't mind :angel).  So it was summer and hot and I was coming in with some apples straight off the tree, and when my clothes are sweaty I often just leave them in the laundry on my way to the shower (at the other end of the house).  So I did that, picked up my apples again, and... there was Brett walking the other way in the corridor to greet me, having just come home.  His eyes were getting wider as he was getting closer, and what else could I do but theatrically hold out an apple, wink at him and ask, "Would you like an apple?"  :lol: 

I mean, that's probably never going to happen again, what are the chances of that? - and how could one possibly miss such a rare opportunity... :winking_tongue

Anyway, I agree it's way more likely that the apple in the clip is a reference to Eve tempting Adam (what with the Alice in Wonderland overtones with the "Eat Me" bottle as well), than that it is a health promotion exercise, or some kind of "remember to eat nutritious foods to offset your cocaine use" message.  :angel  To be more historically accurate, a pomegranate could have been used, since apples didn't exist in the Middle East thousands of years ago (and the Biblical translators probably had no idea what a pomegranate was).  Of course, going for historicity would be a bit of a stretch here, anyway.  It was really just another story to culturally ingrain the idea that Adam's sexual urges are always Eve's fault - and the world hasn't properly moved on from this narrative, sadly.

I did like the inversion of having Adam offering the apple (or maybe he'd just accepted it from his offscreen Eve and was saying to the audience, "Ner ner, look what I got!" - sort of like the joke, "Why do Australian men come so fast? So they can go tell their mates about it.").  But yeah, could also be the snake...

It's kind of amazing what symbolic loads are put on some fruit and vegetables.  Let's not even start on cucumbers.

By the way, do either of you know what that contraption with a hundred buckles that Mr Smith (AKA Adam) is brandishing is supposed to be?  Brett thought it was an abseiling harness, but it doesn't look like one I've ever seen.  Maybe I shouldn't ask...  :1f62e:

...and yes, @Ulrich, like you I continue to give that song my own take as well, and turn it into a motivator for doing things I consider to be potentially useful.  ;)
SueC is time travelling

SueC

And so, to A Forest - a song that's grown on me, but in its original form was never really my cup of tea - just as The Cure wasn't, early on.  I'm listening to four different versions of this song to write this post - the original studio track, two live versions, and the remix from Join The Dots.

So, the studio version:  What I've always disliked about the song is the deadly dull drumming on it (I don't care whose music it's in, I never like this kind of monotony), the 80s plastic overtones, and Robert Smith's rather whiny and nasal early singing (he sounds so much better these days - I came on board with the Bloodflowers album where the singing isn't annoying, and have been working backwards through the catalogue ever since while warning everyone reading that I would in all likelihood enjoy the music less as I went further back, and beyond KMKMKM - which I love, most of anyway - that's how it appears to be turning out; although we do both like The Top so who knows.  Anyway, the studio version of this would never have encouraged me to further explore this band's music.

But seeing that other things did, and listening again, there's elements about it I like, and mostly I'd have to say it's the bass line that's the standout for me on it; plus the guitar playing towards the end of the track, which complements the bass well.

However, the Cure songs that I never particularly liked as their studio incarnations (in particular, early material), I've tended to enjoy live anyway, and it's the same with A Forest.  Listening to the Hyde Park version played decades later, everything's been improved - nice new intro and other embellishments, everything sounds better, even the drums have more life to them here - and Robert Smith sounds infinitely better now as a singer - having really grown into the role, and honed his skills over the years (and perhaps dropped unnecessary affectation?).  This version, I definitely enjoy a lot.  :cool

The only thing that's not improved is the lyrics, which are a bit so-what to me... and this is a recurring thing for me with early Cure lyrics.  It's pretty hard for a mature-age person to get excited about the sorts of things that might have been viewed by some as profound when we were teenagers (but I didn't, even back then - I was looking for intelligent lyrics from the time I was 14 and what I heard from The Cure back then - which admittedly was mostly the radio hits, but also this track - just didn't make the cut for me).


A FOREST

Come closer and see
See into the trees
Find the girl
While you can

Come closer and see
See into the dark
Just follow your eyes
Just follow your eyes

I hear her voice
Calling my name
The sound is deep
In the dark

I hear her voice
And start to run
Into the trees
Into the trees

Into the trees

Suddenly I stop
But I know it's too late
I'm lost in a forest
All alone

The girl was never there
It's always the same
I'm running towards nothing
Again
And again and again and again
...


These particular lyrics are better than some of the other early examples of Cure lyrics I've come across.  They at least offer parallels to some of the Anderson and Grimm fairytales of people lost in forests - it can make a good story (depending on how metaphorical you want to get).

On that topic, by the way, I've heard Robert Smith hated a press comment made by one journo at the time about their work (and reacted with a bit of vitriol, it seems), but I do have to agree that when a bunch of teenagers/adolescents (or most adults, for that matter) attempt to go on about the great yawning emptiness of existence, I can't take that particularly seriously either - especially when it seems to be an affected position, that's adopted like a fashion (or a religion, don't get me started), rather than from wide and varied lived and vicarious experience (reading narrowly in your pet area doesn't count - and drug benders aren't necessarily a gateway to great insight either, not judging from people I've met who've been enthusiasts).  My eyebrows always go up when the early Cure go there, and they even went up when I was a teenager three decades ago, and living through a terrible family situation, and understanding even then that this kind of thinking would get me nowhere fast.

A good spoof on this kind of thinking is this:

QuoteTuna Casserole

Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish

Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.

from The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook

It's something I've compared notes with, with other survivors of early trauma - it seemed to a friend and me, when we talked about this specifically, that some people go through oceans of darkness not of their own choosing and in response head for light, while other people from perhaps more fortunate circumstances rather ironically seem to seek out swimming pools of darkness to deliberately dabble in, almost recreationally, and then seem to attempt to turn that into something profound, to wear like a badge. I'm not sure if this is coming across clearly, and I don't mean that those more fortunate people don't also have painful experiences - everyone does.  It's just that from the perspective of someone like this friend and myself, this approach looks very strange.  We were able to find meaning even in our worst days (and they were bad enough to give both of us complex PTSD), because we learnt how to create meaning for ourselves - and we were wide awake to the beautiful things about the universe, even when we were in terrible pain - and we never, ever sought to stay longer in the dark than was imposed on us, or to wallow in it somehow.  Had we done so, we'd not have survived.

If anyone's got different lived experience, please chime in - we're all different, and it's always good to understand things that were previously inexplicable to us.  And clearly there's a difference between acknowledging awful stuff, and wallowing in it (and I think Bloodflowers acknowledges, but some of the early material definitely wallows).

The remix off Join The Dots is this one:


It's more soundtrack-like than the original song, and has some elements I like, and others I don't.  The re-done vocals are excellent.  The remix was good, and interesting to listen to, but if I've got to vote, I still vote for a live version of this track as my first preference.  What about you? :)
SueC is time travelling