Sunday, 15 September 2013

Review: "I Wanna Be Yours"

by Louisa Dassow
John Cooper Clarke (right)
(24.media.tumbler.com)
Overly excited on the morning of the 9th September, I sat arguing with my laptop that my iPod was connected. Of course I was attempting to download "AM", the new Arctic Monkeys album before I had to scramble to get ready for school. Now I'd like to imagine that this frantic downloading experience was the reason that my brain made no immediate connection with the final song of the album, "I Wanna Be Yours". Alongside the other track names such as "Knee Socks" and "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?", it didn't strike me as being out of place and it fitted with the more generic song titles that came to mind (indeed within the rest of my music library I have seven other songs which begin I want/I wanna).

But I was wrong; it was definitely not a generic choice of song title. 

When I finally reached the last track, the first line struck a memory bell inside my head; but it didn't quite ring true and I simply couldn't place where I'd heard the words before. It wasn't until perhaps the sixth time I listened to it that I was flung back into my old English classroom, I had spent hours studying the poem and I had even written my own version of the abstract lyrics. It's a staple of the English curriculum. So why on earth was it on the Arctic Monkeys' album (see video below to hear the song)? 
 
The bulk of the lyrics in this song were actually written almost thirty years ago by the punk poet John Cooper Clarke. The man in question already held a place on my iPod for his poem "Kung Fu International", but he is also rumoured to hold a place on part of Alex Turner's anatomy in the form of a tattoo, however if such a tattoo exists it has not yet been revealed to the public. Either way the poet definitely holds a place in Mr Turner's heart who claims that Clarke showed him that he could sing in his northern accent and his poetry inspired him to give song-writing a go. When writing the song "From the Ritz to the Rubble" (another favourite of mine), Turner was trying to emulate the style of his literary hero.

The song "I Wanna Be Yours" does contain all of the original poem; however, the band made a slight alteration, adding in the lyrics "Secrets I have held in my heart/Are harder to hide than I thought". Personally I don't think the additional lines add much more to the poem; however, in the context of the song the slight change in tone makes it slightly more interesting to listen to. The song is fairly melancholic, which doesn't quite capture the almost ironic meaning of Clarke's poem, but Turner defends this representation of the poem saying that the juxtaposition of the original meaning and the sound of the song makes it "more exciting" and he says his unusual twist is simply him being a "smart-arse."

The song does have Clarke's personal approval and I'm sure that, in this case, John Cooper Clarke's opinion is the most important opinion to the band. Anyway, I like it.





1 comment:

  1. I like it too - more downbeat than I would have thought, but really effective with these lyrics. Good stuff.

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