Friday, June 16, 2006

When lyrics touch greatness

In the Still of the Night


-- Cole Porter --

In the still of the night
As I gaze from my window
At the moon in its flight
My thoughts all stray to you.

In the still of the night
While the world is in slumber,
Oh, the times without number,
Darling, when I say to you

"Do you love me as I love you?
Are you my life-to-be, my dream come true?"
Or will this dream of mine
Fade out of sight

Like the moon growing dim
On the rim of the hill
In the chill still of the night?

Why is this great writing?
Because it touches the heart? So do many bad poems.
Because the rhyming is effortlessly supple? So are most of Sondheim's works, yet few are as fine as this example.
Because the words are wonderfully singable? So are Barry Manilow's.
It is that word ''chill'' that makes this a lyric of genius. It catches on to the key word of the title, ''still'' and changes the whole lyric. A still, moonlight night. A lonely middle-aged man looking out of a window and wondering if the lover asleep in his bed will want to see him again. And he's cold. Like he will be the next day when lover boy isn't there. Brilliant.

1 comment:

Thoth Harris said...

I love these lyrics, too. I still remember, and am very very partial to the Neville brother's version. A lot of what the Neville Brothers do sounds good, okay, but also a little tacky. Buth this rendition is really amazing!