The Hellhole

Thursday, August 13, 2009

So today I was at the deli getting a sammich for my lunch. They had the radio on so while I was waiting I found myself listening to The Monkee's "Last Train To Clarksville". Now, I've been hearing this song my whole life - literally, it was released before I was born - and I'd never noticed this before, but now I have and it irks me. The song goes,

"Now I must hang up the phone
I can't hear you in this noisy
Railroad station all alone."

Now I ask you: if he's all alone, wouldn't the railroad station be very, very quiet? There stands poor little Davey, all alone, and a tumbleweed rolls through Union Station as way, way, way in the back, an old, stooped janitor half-heartedly wields a push-broom. If, on the other hand, the railroad station were full of the hustle and bustle normally found in railroad stations, he'd hardly be all alone, would he?

I came home and forthwith presented my case to Alan. [These are the sort of situations he is forced to endure. The man's on the fast track to sainthood.]

"Well," observed my husband, "Maybe what he means is that he's all alone without her, and missing her because she's not there."

"Well, that's stupid," I replied. "If I were in NYC, missing you terribly, and phoned from Grand Central Station, lemme tell you what I wouldn't say. I wouldn't say, 'I can't hear you in this noisy railroad station all alone', I'd say, 'I miss you lots', 'I wish you were here with me' or some sappy crappy like that."

"Yes, but 'miss you lots' and 'wish you were here' don't have the same alliterative appeal as 'all alone'."

"Hmpf. Worked for Pink Floyd."

"What?!? Are you hearing yourself? Did you seriously just compare The Monkees to Pink Floyd?!? That's more inane than being all alone in a noisy railroad station!"

"Settle down, Beavis. Point totally taken. However, I still maintain my original position: that being both alone and in a noisy railroad station makes no sense."

Thoughts? Opinions?

And if your thought is that I take my Monkees lyrics way too seriously - yeah, I knew that already.


  • Maybe he was just trying to be poetic. Its a poetic license, that's what I'm going to call it. He substituted missing someone for being alone. But I think you may be onto something. He could have said I'm empty, instead of all alone. Does that have enough alliterative appeal?? ;)

    By Anonymous Inna, at 9:09 PM  

  • Well, if it were me trying to be poetic, I'd have written something like,

    Now I must hang up the phone
    I can't bear to be without you
    And I feel so all alone.

    - or -

    ...I feel so empty and alone.

    But no one asked me.


    I know I wasn't even born yet, but THAT'S NO EXCUSE.

    By Blogger Helly, at 9:17 PM  

  • Your arguments are made completely invalid by even bringing the mighty Floyd into this discussion. :) Blasphemy, even mentioning them in the same BREATH with (choke) the Monkees.

    You may have guessed that I do not have much respect for the Monkees, or their lyrics. You would be correct. As such, my response to your original question is: "who the hell cares, it's a Monkees song". :)


    By Blogger Phil, at 8:51 AM  

  • Truly, the Monkees are not as bad as Phil thinks, I think...

    Semi-related note: Les Paul has died at 94...RIP, Mr. Guitar!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:28 AM  

  • Helly: I much prefer your lyrics to the original Monkee lyrics. However, I think Alan's explanation is a good one. I would have given you the same explanation and then agreed with you that the lyrics make no sense.

    Now that you are on a roll, could you re-write some more lyrics? I'm particularly peeved by songs that portray women as weak and dependent.

    By Blogger basil, at 2:08 PM  

  • Ha, Basil, I'd do it for you! I have a few songs to which I've done a "Weird Al" - my masterpiece, probably only funny to F1 fans, is where I re-wrote The Beatles' "The Ballad of John & Yoko" as "The Ballad of Ron Dennis". I recorded that one but I sing very badly, so my parents and brother are the only ones I ever subjected to the finished product.

    Standing in the pits at Suzuka,
    Settin' Schumi up for a pass
    The man with the flag said
    "I know it's a drag but Coulthard jumped the start a bit soon again."
    Christ you know it ain't easy,
    You know how hard it can be
    That joker from Kerpen
    Is gonna crucify me.

    (Michael Schumacher is from Kerpen.)

    By Blogger Helly, at 2:35 PM  

  • Perhaps it was noisy because of the voices in his head.

    I fully support your love for F1 BTW.

    By Blogger Summer, at 5:56 PM  

  • I think he's alluding to that sense of being "alone in a crowd" - surrounded, yet emotionally isolated - a common enough feeling to be a cliche, I guess. Mickey Dolenz was the singer on that one.

    By Blogger Nancy, at 9:18 AM  

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