I have always had such special feelings for this song. I don't know what it is, exactly.
It's just so full of longing and anticipation -- completely, unapologetically Epic -- with really spooky-pretty chords that fall forward and fold back into themselves. Know what I mean?
It makes me feel like I should be flinging myself off the edge of a cliff. I mean it. Maybe it's because he mentions Mt. Kilimanjaro, but I hate to think that I'm so easily manipulated and open to suggestion. In truth, the motivation is probably a little more vague. There's something both heroic and desolate about this song, and when I hear it I feel impelled to execute some kind of grand, mystical gesture. Don't worry, though; I wouldn't actually do it.
Also, for the longest time, at 0:33, I thought he was singing, "She's coming in from bloody fights," and I really identified with that. Not that I used to get into physical fights or anything, but I have always felt like I was doing battle... everywhere, all the time. Eventually, I learned what the lyrics actually are, but I always hear it my way, even now.
And I love the background vocals. They're low in the mix, but they shimmer through just right. Listen to the part from 3:04-3:08 -- perfection ending in just the slightest amount of discord. Yes, I am jealous.
This song has haunted me for most of my life. I heard it once a long, long time ago, on some random, intermittent radio station. I don't recall hearing it more than once, but it's possible that I might have. I never knew the title or the artist's name. Occasionally, out of the blue, fragments of the chords, melody and lyrics would snap back into my consciousness. It happened only rarely, and each time I would think: "There's that song again... I need to find it." But the recollection was always fleeting -- an apparition, a daydream -- the achey sounds floating away from me like the tiny seeds of a dandelion's wish. I could never retain the memory for long enough and it always fractured and fell away from me before I could get ahold of it. Heartbroken and missing it constantly, I sometimes felt as if I'd imagined it all. Over the years, the song flickered in and out of my life -- appearing and disappearing -- fading back into the spirit world every time. And each time it disappeared, it left a song-shaped hole in my heart. But there was nothing I could do except think wistfully of my beloved from afar, and hope for a time when it would come back to me. Those chords, those words -- their absence hurt so much. Would they ever be mine?
And then... Google. One time when the song returned, I happened to be near a computer. The specific lyrics I remembered that day were: "is everything all right... together love..." It wasn't much to go on, but I typed those words into the search box and Google went looking. And it brought me a result! The name of my long-lost love was "Hearts" by Marty Balin. Of course the title of the song was "Hearts" -- what else would it be? Finally, after years of carrying a torch for a ghost, my love was unrequited no more.
Gleefully, yet with a degree of defiance, the Decorator Crab raises his mighty claw and yells, "Adorn thyselves, Earthlings!"
And so we did.
But it took us a while to get the hang of it. Long before humans began embellishing themselves with baubles and beads, he encrusted himself with small shells and fragments of glimmering stone. Long before we started affixing lace to our collars and balancing feathered hats upon our round, tentative heads, he confidently placed bits of ocean moss and coral atop his own crown. Long before we began attaching frilly cascades and ruffles to our plain frocks, he carefully and expertly secured long tendrils of seaweed and small anemones to his smooth shell. Many flora and fauna are adept at personal enhancement, but the Decorator Crab is a master. In all the world, there is none who surpasses the Decorator Crab with respect to purpose, conception and creativity. His arrangements are always inspired and deliberate, and from observing him, slowly over time, we learned that we could mold our plain, plodding bodies into more delicate and ethereal shapes.
And the purpose of all this strenuous activity? Is it to attract attention or is it designed to camouflage? Well, that probably depends on the intent and mood of the individual in question. With the methods described above, it is possible to distinguish ourselves from the crowd or to disappear entirely into our surroundings. Both can be useful. Luminous pearls or linen the color of sand? Which will you pick today? Take a cue from the Decorator Crab and consider your environment and what you want to achieve. WWDCD? That's what you should ask yourself if you're having trouble figuring it out.
Directly or indirectly, fashion designers, stage performers, and covert operatives everywhere owe a huge debt to this small but very talented creature who has perfected the art of extreme ornamentation and concealment.
We humans have done a pretty good job, I guess, but let's not forget who invented the practice, okay?