Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

We are billion year old carbon

Last week, Bob mentioned to me that the Steelers victory parade came up 50,000 short of Woodstock in terms of attendance. Being the habitual song-parodist that I am, I immediately started getting ideas for a Steeler-themed parody of Woodstock by CSNY. I learned something about myself and about Joni Mitchell in the process.

(listen here)



I learned that some things are sacred.

Bob and I came up with quite a few clever turns of phrase, changing the words to suit the Steelers Super Bowl victory and the subsequent celebrations. I wanted to keep as much of the tone of the song as possible, because Joni Mitchell's construction of internal rhyme and rhythm is incredible, and very impressive.


Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road
and I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
Well, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog.
And I feel like I'm a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year, yes, and maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am but life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere there was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil's bargain,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.


After an hour and a half or so wrestling with the lyrics, I walked away. Parody fame perhaps abandoned, but what of it? Some things are just too ingenious to deconstruct. It felt sacrilegious, trying to twist Joni's brilliant lyrics to fit a black and gold revelry.

Joni Mitchell remains a musical icon, too often unrecognized now. She is a brillant artist, a songwriter among the very best of our time, a poet, and a pioneer. Yet the top songs on the radio are derivative shit sung through synthesizers by untalented pretty faces. It just shows I'm getting old.



Footnote-I'm now on Twitter as jl_fritz if any of my readers are interested in following. I'm not real sure what I think of Twitter yet but it seems kinda fun and interesting.

1 comment:

Suse-the-slow-knitta said...

Joni's lyrics are wonderful, I'm not surprised that you couldn't hack them about.