Sunday, June 1, 2014

Big Star: Kangaroo (Alex Chilton)






One track on “3rd” which brings a surrealistic undercurrent to the surface is “Kangaroo,” which, if it is surrealistic (as well as psychologically and emotionally revealing about the protagonist), can be taken as a series of dreamed visions of Dana in her element (a more active, socialized version of “Dream Lover”). The way Chilton moves into the lyric, beginning with “I first saw you/ you had on blue jeans/ your eyes couldn’t hide/ anything/ I saw you breathing “No,”/ and I saw you staring out in space,” suggests that he is in a kind of visionary trance which might well be taken for a kind of dream state. The sound of the track, unhinged towards a slow-burn lurch of giddy drunkenness (which, as a description, belies the stark simplicity of the melody if I fail to mention it), continues with a series of visions of Dana, all of which are much more evocative, and artfully compressed than Bob Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna”; “I next saw you/ you were at the party/ thought you was a queen/ oh so flirty/ I came against…” Not to belabor things towards the graphic, but the word-play and how it relates to “Kizza Me” is clear; Chilton is able to have full, unimpeded sex with Lesa, while he “(comes) against” Dana. All the same, the verbal Jabberwocky, combined with atmospheric, ambient production and a plot already thickening, leads us to debate whether or not these visions of Chilton’s are real or dreamed.

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