Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Jun 19th 2007 2:00PM by Carina Round
'Alice,' Tom Waits
From 2002's 'Alice'
Loosely based on Lewis Carroll's obsessive fascination with Alice Liddell of 'Alice in Wonderland' fame, this song is a foggy, mournfully wistful affair. Shaping the memory of a departed love, death and obsession are the ghosts that haunt it -- the distinction between the two blurred -- interwoven in the most sublime imagery of sadness.
Shipwrecks, an icy pond with a frozen moon and the skates on the pond -- they spell Alice. A secret kiss bringing madness with the bliss. A murder of silhouette crows. Strings tangled up around a pier. Razors finding throats. Like a school of fish, it leads the listener into the rapture of the deep.
Waits' voice is pressed around your ears like your mother's heartbeat in the womb, and the instrumental arrangements trickle in and out subtly with a soft, understated genius like a sweet breeze on a hot, perfect sunny day. The muted trumpet melts like ice in the song over the warm, cracked voice that's wracked with age and loaded with the weight of all the world's love.
This song is the sound of your lost lover's train whistle teasing you on the wind. The calm yet terrifying sound of the licking waves around your lifeboat, lost and adrift. It's the moment between awake and asleep, when the soft white hands coming to take you to Dreamland could still be real. It's a faded photograph gloriously saturated in sadness. It's so beautiful that you are afraid to touch it should it disintegrate. It's an old, dusty wedding dress alive with a million musky memories of madness.
It's a heroin-riddled Chet Baker with a cracked heart, throwing his incandescent body into a moonlit ocean. It's like being a cat and dipping your head into a barrel of cream. It's the sweet in bittersweet. Its a neon sign saying, "I'll die without you."
This song sounds like whisky-flavored ice cream ... with no fat. It's what you hear when you're dead in your grave.
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