Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pink Floyd's "Paintbox" (B-side of "Apples and Oranges", 1967)

it's written and sung by Rick Wright, like 'remember a day' on Saucerful of Secrets,
which song is very shaped by Barrett's vision

but 'paintbox' is more original

it's got this slightly fey passivity and wistful despondency to it, a guy drifting through life, buffeted by events

'paintbox' starts with the character talking about how he's at a trendy bar or
party and joining in all the chatter and showing off, but secretly "feeling
rather empty" (sung with this wonderful crestfallen quality), it must have
been written at the height of Swingin' London, summer of 67, but this
character's already disillusioned, sees the hollowness

then in the next verse, he's being phoned by some girlfriend who demands to
go to a show and he can't think of an excuse and submits, again in this very
passive drifting through life way. he arrives late in his taxi and she's
there looking very angry, "as cross as she can be"

the chorus is mysterious, "i open the door to an empty room/then i forget",
like he's off in a reverie, absconding from everything

i think it's remarkable, "Paintbox", the whole of Dark Side of the Moon and that long song "Echoes" on Meddle is right there, already, in 67

but more than that, the whole vibe of the song reminds me of all those Eno songs on Another
Green World
and Before and After Science about characters with no energy or
drive, marooned standing on beaches, or sitting in the corner with a spider
watching the evening fade away ... washed up characters and washed-out music, sonic watercolours

i wonder if Rick Wright's solo album's any cop...

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