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from the drug-addled brains of musical geniuses

February 16, 2009

Scott Weiland’s “Barbarella” (12 Bar Blues) begins with a downward-spiraling arpeggio not to be heard anywhere else on the track. It is a leitmotif that refuses to be one by having only one iteration. But how can you think involuntarily sinking into a bottomless pit is not the song’s theme? For one thing, Weiland’s voice departs from its grungy STP incarnation and becomes what can only be described as a gloriously defeated baritone. Which is fantastic because an arpeggio is, after all, a broken chord- Weiland personified. And that’s only the half of it. 

Apart from its sheer genius of mood there is the obtuse poesy of ” You sing the pink love fuzz and dance the musty queer”, the poignancy of  “Can’t tell time by telling time/Can’t hold time by holding time”, and the simplicity of “Let go, let God they say. I do believe but not in yours or yours, I just believe it’s all the same”.

If like me you heard the song without ever bothering to see the music video, you’re better off leaving it at that. In my mind, the scifi aspects of the song (references to Lost in Space and Space #9) were just a glance and not justified by a video featuring a presumable alien drinking milk out of a carton. 

I completely understand the nod to 80’s Bowie here but there is just so much more to the song that’s not other-worldly. By that I mean there can be nothing more accessibly human than having to lose oneself in diversions to shake off “the weight of all the pain I’ve given with my name”.

Yes indeed, Scott has my permission to bask in escapism via Barbarella (the half-naked Jane Fonda character in cult classic) or other, this song definitely saves me from my misery any day.

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