I know I am often guilty of trying to shoehorn DsD favourite songs into RR topics on the most gossamer of connections. I've done it before with this song, A LOT. Consequently I'm praying I'm not seen as the Boy Who Cried Wolf and ignored again this week, because with PaulMac's header definition of what he wants in LAZY SONGS, Dolorean's time has surely come.
Seriously, ToffeeBoy's bewilderment over MS&tD's Rain will be revisited by me in spades if this doesn't get anywhere this week.
EVERYTHING about Hannibal, MO oozes laziness: the playing, the arrangement, even the fact that it is naggingly reminiscent of Barclay James Harvest's Hymn, hinting that Al James may not have put in all the writing effort himself. But moving swiftly on from that borderline libellous thought, what is undoubtedly the work of the poet-turned-singer is that lyric set.
Of course, RR rules state we can't quote more than a third of them, but I can't do my passion for THIS song THIS week justice unless I give you my take on all of them.
So please, before we're spotted by the evil GØØGUL-EYE and unceremoniously moderated, give the accompanying Americana / folk / Gothic murder ballad a listen, and I'd love to know what you think.
Dolorean - Hannibal, MO
Musical intro – soft, quiet, lazily strummed guitar
I had a true love from Hannibal
Where the Mississippi turns flat and wide
So even the river can’t be arsed to run at any visible speed!
We’d lay out on the sandbars
To what? Get jiggy with it? Or something less physically taxing?
And fall asleep to the barges and the fireflies
Oh! Well that’s energetic … not! Sweet though, romantically lazing around.
And I killed my true love from Hannibal
She was nineteen, I was twenty-two
WHAT?! That made you sit up, didn’t it?!
Which just goes to show how much you’ve already fallen into the languor
Summer was ending and she was leaving soon
To study writing on the east coast
So at least she has some get-up-and-go, albeit for a sedentary career…
I worked in my father’s shop
… But he doesn’t have any, succumbing to a classic lazy path-of-least-resistance
Fixing air conditioners and heating pumps
Even THIS gives off the same lazy vibe;
a job fixing (not even making) machines to make air move past you, not you moving the air.
Going to college never made much sense to me
Too much effort involved, perchance?
I wanted to keep my true love close to me
Again, lazy. He won’t consider the effort of following her pursuit of a dream
With me so far?
And just in case the lyrical laziness doesn’t have you convinced,
Isn’t that musical arrangement beautifully, ACHINGLY slow?
The summers are hot in Hannibal
The summers there are unbearable
Getting in a justification for stupor – exuding and excusing laziness
So we’d steal down to the water’s edge
And cool off in the river’s ebb
“Ebb”: opposite of flow. Flow implies effort. Ebb? None.
One night we decided what we would do
Swim to the middle ‘til our strength gave out
OK, this may not be instantly obvious as lazy,
but it is talking about giving up on effort
Where the current was strong and deep
Together we’d be pulled down to sleep
They’re even letting the river do the work of their suicides
So we swam ‘til our bodies were weak
I watched my true love get washed out to sea
Sod the further justification of laziness, is that not an absolute heartbreaker?
I felt a terrible grip from beneath
The river took her but it didn’t take me
So now even the mighty Mississippi can’t be bothered to finish a job
In St. Louis there’s a prison cell
It’ll be twelve more years ‘til I get out
So by definition, he’s going to laze around for another dozen years
But hang on, if he’s going to be there that long
he’s just accepting a (presumed) murder sentence
without putting up a fight that he didn’t murder her?
That’s indolence on an epic scale!
When I do her father says he’ll shoot me down
If I don’t do it myself
Yet again, he’s being given the option of actually putting some effort in…
… but we suspect he won’t, and so does her dad
Most days I just try and sleep
Ah, the M.O. (geddit? Oh please yourselves!) of the supine - Q.E.D.
I dream of Hannibal when it was in between
It’s not quite day and it’s not yet night
So now even the passage of time is tarrying
We fall asleep to the barges and the fireflies
Is this repetition of an earlier lyric lazy? Not this time, no.
Instead it both brilliantly reprises the theme AND draws the song to a natural end.