Things started, innocently enough, as my friend quoted a line from the book and film “It.”
The line was “We all float down here.”
I know a lot of you just had some kind of reaction to reading that quote, whatever that reaction might have been. The point is I don’t have that reaction. “It” is not in my cultural memory bank. I never read the book, never saw the film, don’t know much more than what people have told me. That’s generally enough for me to sneak through conversations, but once in a while somebody throws out something that really spotlights my ignorance of “It.”
When my friend said the line, I flashed on the Hooverphonic song “We All Float.” I’ve always found it to be a fascinating turn of a phrase, and thought it might have been original to the band. It’s also one of my favorite songs by the band lyrically.
Give it a listen.
Halfway through, my friend suggested it sounded like a Beatles song. She imagined John Lennon taking the vocal lead (“She (Geike Arnaert) even sounds like Lennon here,” my friend said. She envisioned the guitar as a sitar line played by George. (As she was mentioning it, I was imagining it as a Harrison slide lead.
The drumming is already Ringo Starr-style: simple, straightforward, and funky enough to not generic. The bass is already somewhat busy, and I can easily imagine Paul McCartney making it more melodically busy.
For about five seconds at the :57 mark, you hear a backwards guitar, or some time of artificial sound that sounds like a backward guitar.
And the part of the song that dominates for me (it’s certainly repeated enough for the words to lock in) is:
“Mountains make the sun arise
Your rainbow colored eyes can change the tide”
Very 1960s. Even the way the orchestra eventually works in, the way The Beatles put strings on the codas of “All You Need is Love” and “Hey Jude.” It all combines for me as a song that could replace “Flying” on the “Magical Mystery Tour” album. (Or even the title track. What do I care? It’s a better title than song.)
And the lyrics are ones that mean things to people only if they understand a certain frame of mind:
“Multicoloured lanes of trees mesmerising stories about us”
“Deserted squares and lonesome trees, the wind revealing stories about us”
And the final verse:
“The river telling stories about us, writing words in water full of lust
Yellow purple green or blue, drip by drip revealing things on you”
I have to think if John Lennon heard that line in 1967, he’d have found a way to work it into “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”