Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 4, 2011 10:28:00 GMT
An intersting play on words here by Morrison which still causes confusion to this day. The line 'You are caught in a prison. Of your own device' is often confused with 'devise' the way Jim sings it. Perhaps this was intentional and the way the song was perceived was slightly different to the intent of the lyric. If we compare the definitions
device 1. a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose. 2. a crafty scheme or trick.
devise 1. to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles to invent as in devise a new strategy! 2. conceive, imagine 3. to plan to obtain or bring about, plot as in devise one's death
Morrison clearly sings 'device' if you pay attention to his vocal but in a way that could easily be confused as 'devise'. Obviously this confusion alters the tone of the song but of course it's not known whether that was the intent. An interesting example of the power of words.
#For many years I thought he sang 'devise' and it's a common mistake today but if you consult the excellent Danny Sugerman lyric book you will see it was 'device'
"That's the trouble with reality!.... it's taken far too seriously! I do hope God is good to me and Santa Claus to the children! Celebrate...this parties over...I'm going home!"
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Dec 4, 2011 10:48:59 GMT
Possibly one of Jim's rooftop songs from 1965, or adapted from an early poem, this was a song the band employed to audition bass players whilst played as a straight love song.
The atmosphere that is the Strange Days song owes a lot to Robby's bottleneck playing and the wonders of the (then) new 8 track studio that was available for the recording of the Strange Days album.
Another wonderful aspect is the piano playing. To achieve this disconcerting piano effect Ray played the piano part backwards and then the recording was reversed for the finished article giving it that strange ethereal quality.
In 1981 Ray talked about this to Musician magazine. "A backwards piano. Boy that was a bitch. I wrote the whole song out backwards. They played the song, the tape came back to me in the earphones backwards. But the beat was there. I started on the lower right side of the chart rather than the upper left hand side and read backwards as the song progressed." Ray Manzarek 1981
Paul Rothchild had hoped for a Sargeant Pepper and commented on the Strange Days sessions to BAM magazine. "It was filled with ingenuity, creativity, great songs, great playing. But the record died on us. Oh it went platinum immediately but it never really 'conquered'.like it should have".
Bill Siddons commented about the song in 1995 as reflecting the situation Morrison found himself in with The Doors. "He eventually abandoned music because he was a victim of what he created. Suddenly he didn't have the freedom that he went into music to find. Like the person he describes in 'Unhappy Girl' he became a prisoner of his own devise. He devised a prison by being so outrageous that everybody said 'yeah man he's great'. He knew he couldn't top himself and he didn't have any desire to. But others expectations became a prison."
# A good example of the confusion the wording of the song created. What Bill said was either interpreted as 'devise' when he meant 'device' or he too made the common error we all made until the lyrics became more readily available. If Morrison intended this confusion it takes Unhappy Girl up several notches as a Doors song.