Posted by: jt | January 14, 2008

there has to be an invisible something

I’m a bit behind the times.

After a morning of I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! / Where the hell did my document go? I stepped out for a latte. Standing in line listening to the elevator music, I realize, I’m humming along to a remake of Sting’s “Fields of Gold.”

Really? A remake? Did the world need this song twice?

Apparently I’m about a decade behind, because the Google gods tell me that this cover by Eva Cassidy dates back to 1998. (Sting’s original was released in 1993. Don’t you feel old.) I’d pretty much tuned out commercial radio by then, so it’s not surprising that I missed it.

What is surprising is that someone remade this song?

Don’t get me wrong – I like Sting. I do. There’s a limit to how much of him I want at one time, but there are days, usually somewhere in late January or early February, where his bipolar style fits my mood(s) perfectly. Nothing says winter like desperately gloomy melodies followed up by bouncing, giddy ones on the same album – always, always coupled with melodramatic lyrics. Yes, that little black spot on the sun today – that is my soul up there, dammit.

This, however,

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley

is not his best work.

Any song that features the phrase “fields of barley” six times just sounds more like something you’d learn in elementary school as opposed to what you’d download from iTunes. “Okay, class. Today we’re going to learn “The Farmer in the Dell,” “Camptown Races” and “Fields of Gold.” Repeat after me:

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold

Goin’ to run all night
Goin’ to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

There’s probably an argument to be made that a lot of Sting’s songs have rather odd lyrics, but really. What’s with the fields of barley? And more barley. And, oh wait, was that more barley? Was he driving across North Dakota when he wrote this song? If it had been Iowa would he wax poetic among the fields of soybeans?

Mostly, I just don’t understand – lilting melodies notwithstanding – if you’re looking for a song to cover, exactly what is it that makes you think, Barley! I wanna sing about ambiguously nostalgic moments in a barley field! Surely that will resonate with my listeners.

Methinks someone should have put on the red light for that idea.

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Responses

  1. Oh my. “Fields of Gold” was my song with my junior-high boyfriend, so it has a special place in my heart… but I’d never thought about how (amusingly) bad the lyrics are.

    I LOLed at the amalgamation of “Fields of Gold” with “Camptown Races”. It works.

  2. Ah crap. That previous comment was mine. Thought I was logged out of my own account. :/

  3. So THAT’S what he’s saying! I always wondered what that line was. (I could never be arsed to look it up or anything, though.)

    What the hell does barley even look like?

  4. :-) Clearly you haven’t spent much time in the Midwest. It, um…looks a lot like wheat?

    I, of course, can’t help but think, who cares what it looks like. It’s a grain, you should wave of it.

  5. :-) Clearly you haven’t spent much time in the Midwest. It, um…looks a lot like wheat?

    I, of course, can’t help but think, who cares what it looks like. It’s a grain, you should wave of it.

  6. So nice you said it twice!

    Well, after I posted that comment, not only did I think I should wave of it, but I also thought, “duh, it probably looks… golden.”

  7. Bah. My connection has been pure crap lately. I’ve been finding drafts of emails that I’ve already sent, it’ll say I’m connected until the moment I try to open a new page…Boo.

    My phone is sketchy, my internet access is sketchy…apparently I’m supposed to hide in a cave for a while.

  8. …apparently I’m supposed to hide in a cave for a while.

    I thought you WERE hiding in a cave for a while? ;) I feel like I haven’t talked to you in forever. <3


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