Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Joking Aside

The fetching melody and cello counterpoint help distract you from realizing there’s something quite mysterious about this song. The words “Joking Aside” do not appear at all in the song; it's more Jarvis’ attempt to, joking aside, talk about a problem sincerely. Nevertheless, he manages to get through the four-plus minutes of the song without ever concretely addressing what exactly the problem is. Instead, he indulges in plenty of neurotic musings, constantly mulling one angle over another. One line in the chorus – “I’d like to turn you over/ to see what’s on your other side” – points to a romantic situation (or something more provocative). But his self-exhortations regarding “my present situation” and “these pursuits I might try” suggest the song could equally be about his ambivalence regarding a career in music and even the slowly creeping feeling that he may one day need to get out of Sheffield.

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