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happythe View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Epitaph
    Posted: February 11 2008 at 19:53
Hey!

I'm doing a talk on Epitaph by King Crimson in my French class this week, so I thought I'd ask you guys what you think about it. The theme of the presentations will be something along the lines of "The relationship between literature/words and music" which made me think of this song since I feel the lyrics and the music don't really match (I think it sounds like an epic love song and want it at my wedding Embarrassed).

I also wanted the excuse to talk about an amazing song...

SO, what are your thoughts? If my first paragraph happened to remind you of some amazing thing you once thought about the meaning of the song, etc., then please say, but if not, let's just talk about it anyway, how it fits on the album, how you love the Mellotron, how you have a special dance to the intro...

King Crimson 4 eva..

Yours,
happythe


Stop me from dreaming?
Okay :-(
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Mike Giles View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 00:45
epitaph is kinda sad, the first time i listened to it, tears were close to fall.
Mr.Fripp, you give good tips....Confusedhmmm

i'll work this one......
Nothing he's got, he really needs. Twenty first century schizoid man.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 02:10
king crimson just has that power to scare you one minute, bring you to tears another, and then completely devastate you with massive epicness!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 04:44
"Epitaph" is one of my top 10 favourite songs of all time, and has been since I first listened to the album, over 30 years ago. However, unlike you, I think the music and the lyrics are as perfect a match as you can find in prog (or in rock for that matter).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 06:42
The first time I heard Epitaph, it was a life changing experience. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was the mellotron that was just magical.  Amazingly sad and wonderful song.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 09:09
I agree that it is an awesome song and also think that the music perfectly fits the sad and depressing truth of the lyrics – along with Schizoid Man it is still incredibly relevant nearly 40 years later, surely a timeless piece of art.

However, I'm very surprised that anyone could think it a love song. The music probably would make a good setting for an epic love song, but it fits well the monumental theme that humanity is teetering on the edge of a precipice of its own making, that many people's existence – even the very existence of mankind itself – is overshadowed by war and destruction: “Upon the instruments of death / The sunlight brightly gleams... Knowledge is a deadly friend / If no-one sets the rules / The fate of all mankind I see / Is in the hands of fools”.

As someone released a month after Wish You Were Here Wink I don't know anything about the public mood at the time the song was written, but it was at the height of the Cold War – I expect the bleak outlook may well have had a hand in fashioning the song (the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation loomed heavily over the formative years in the early '80s of myself and my friends, so I expect it might have been similar for previous generations).

With regard to the prospect of total nuclear war and mutually assured destruction, maybe we can finally sit back and laugh, but with other problems in the world I really do fear tomorrow we'll be crying Wink

P.S. Hmm, an odd juxtaposition has just occurred to me (assuming of course that the lyrics shown on the web are correct – I'm at work at the moment so can't check the CD/liner): “...my epitaph... As I crawl... If we make it we can all... But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying". It's an odd mix of perspectives. Oh well, probably just poetic license Big%20smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 10:35
Great song. Third best song off the third best album of all time. That's pretty special!

I also find it pretty cool that you're talking of prog in French classes!
"Market value is irrelevant to intrinsic value."

Arnold Schoenberg
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 13:13
Originally posted by kibble_alex kibble_alex wrote:

Great song. Third best song off the third best album of all time. That's pretty special!

I also find it pretty cool that you're talking of prog in French classes!


Well, when she said the topic was the relationship between literature and music, and that this was intended to be flexible and spark our creativity, I couldn't resist. In fact, one of the essays I wrote for my entrance exam to uni was about Magma/Zeuhl - my interviewer started the interview with something like, "I liked your essay, but I must admit I'm not cool enough to have heard of Magma before." I just laughed... Wink

Thanks for your ideas, guys. The more I actively compare the lyrics to the music (and the song's position/role within the album as a whole), the more I see there is much more in favour of a perfect symmetry between the two, and a lot of evidence to put in my talk. But I think it's too deeply ingrained in my mind as a love song for that meaning to ever fully fade - who knows, maybe when I first heard it, aged 16 I suppose, I was at that tender stage of development where girls become desperately interested in lifelong partnership, and yet terrified at the prospect of being an adult... on the brink between childhood and adulthood... torn apart by nightmares and dreams...

Potentially. I don't remember having any such emotions, but the human mind works in strange ways. Cue a paragraph about music being the mosst subjective of the arts, anyway.

Stop me from dreaming?
Okay :-(
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2008 at 21:02
It is a very dynamic song that has many different layers to it. One person could see one thing, another could see another side of it as equally viable as the first. Emotion is an amorphous thing that can represent a collective meaning with infinite reflections.

The song is about contemplation, which brings more questions than answers.

Good song-writing is like musical algebra, the artist gives the emotional equation and you plug in the "numbers". We see this level of craft in other genres, but King Crimson (obviously Fripp studied the Beatles) took it to a unique place none of their contemporaries could reach. Great stuff!
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