Skip to content

Paisley what? Not “Park”?

January 8, 2023

I’ve never heard of “Paisley Underground” before seeing it as today’s theme for Jim’s Song Lyric Sunday. Is this really a thing because for me “paisley” begins and ends with Prince, but Prince, while having something to do with Paisley Park, had nothing to do with Paisley Underground. Although he did have something to do with The Bangles who were a Paisley Underground group.

Where to go when you’re not familiar with the week’s chosen genre? Wikipedia.

Wikipedia told me that the Paisley Underground band Dream Syndicate was influenced by The Velvet Underground, and that the Paisley Underground band Rainy Day did a cover version of Velvet Underground’s I’ll Be Your Mirror. (We should all be lucky enough to have someone in our lives who would sing the lyrics of that song to us). I also learned that the Paisley Underground movement started in California and The Velvet Underground’s third album, The Velvet Underground, was recorded in Los Angeles, which is in, yeah, California. And then there’s the whole “Underground” name thing going on, so tossing it all into the mix, I think I’m close enough to sort of answer the Paisley Underground prompt with a Velvet Underground song. The song has nothing to do with the Paisley Underground genre, but it’s good.

The Velvet Underground song I chose is Pale Blue Eyes. At first the song leads us to believe that maybe the singer is singing about a woman who broke his heart, but with each verse, each separated by the haunting pale blue eyes refrain, we learn more and more. The end of the song hints, maybe, at an extramarital affair, but that doesn’t really fit for me. It’s too easy. For me this is a song about a couple that meets decades after their relationship ended. Why did the relationship end? We can guess, but in the time between then and now, she’s moved on and created a life and he, we don’t know what he’s done, but it hasn’t been good for him.

The sin mentioned in the last verse isn’t that they cheated on their partners when he sings that “it was good what we did yesterday“.

It was good what we did yesterday,
and I’d do it once again.
The fact that you are married,
only proves you’re my best friend.
But it’s truly, truly a sin.

What they did yesterday was nothing. And he’d be happy to do nothing with her again because he knows, too late, she was more than a lover, she was, and still is, his best friend. Yesterday is figurative and he’s relating back to their relationship decades ago and criticizing himself for not being present enough or honest enough back then to trust her and to trust himself. His decision was the sin. That he, as he sang earlier in the song, “skipped a life completely“.

I know The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed aren’t for everyone, and people can find things to complain about and criticize, but Lou Reed was a great poet, and this is a wonderful love poem put to music.

If you like live albums, check out Lou Reed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal. One of the best live albums of the 70’s which (at least for me) is saying a lot.

###

Sometimes I feel so happy.
Sometimes I feel so sad.
Sometimes I feel so happy.
But mostly you just make me mad.
Baby, you just make me mad.

Linger on your pale blue eyes.
Linger on your pale blue eyes.

Thought of you as my mountaintop.
Thought of you as my peak.
Thought of you as everything.
I’ve had, but couldn’t keep.
I’ve had, but couldn’t keep.

Linger on your pale blue eyes.
Linger on your pale blue eyes.

If I could make the world as pure
and strange as what I see,
I’d put you in the mirror
I put in front of me.
I put in front of me.

Linger on your pale blue eyes.
Linger on your pale blue eyes.

Skip a life completely,
stuff it in a cup.
She said, money is like us in time,
it lies, but can’t stand up.
Down for you is up.

Linger on your pale blue eyes.
Linger on your pale blue eyes.

It was good what we did yesterday,
and I’d do it once again.
The fact that you are married,
only proves you’re my best friend.
But it’s truly, truly a sin.

Linger on your pale blue eyes.
Linger on your pale blue eyes.

Advertisement
One Comment leave one →
  1. January 8, 2023 12:08 pm

    Nice song analysis Michael and you chose a very cool song. Paisley Underground, Velvet Underground, it is all rock and roll to me.

    Like

If you leave me a comment I'll give you a cookie!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: