Friday, June 24, 2011

One Track Mind (Squared): Marillion - Kayleigh & Lavender (1985)

Much like with tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, and Queen's We Will Rock You & We Are the Champions, Marillion's Kayleigh & Lavender are inextricably linked.

Listening to Marillion's Misplaced Childhood album it's easy to see that this was by design as Mark Kelly's beautiful keyboard solo acts as a segue from Kayleigh into Lavender.

Both songs are rife with Fish's brilliant image-laden lyrics:

Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall?
Do you remember dawn escapes from moon-washed college halls
Do you remember the cherry blossom in the market square?
Do you remember I thought it was confetti in her hair? - Kayleigh

I was walking in the park dreaming of a spark
When I heard the sprinklers whisper,
Shimmer in the haze of summer lawns.
Then I heard the children singing,
They were running through the rainbows.
They were singing a song for you.
Well it seemed to be a song for you,
the one I wanted to write for you, for you, you. - Lavender

Both songs also feature a biting and at times even menacing sarcasm in Fish's vocal delivery that twists and darkens the mood of both songs.

By the way didn't I break your heart
So sorry, I didn't mean to break your heart... - Kayleigh

You can hear the venom dripping from his broken heart. He's been hurt and he wants to hurt the one who hurt him. Anyone who has had a broken heart is familiar with that sentiment and Fish captures it absolutely brilliantly not only in his choice of lyrics but in how he delivers them.

While Lavender begins with a lighter tone it doesn't last:

A penny for your thoughts my dear
A penny for your thoughts my dear
I owe you for your love
I owe you for your love- Lavender

If anything Lavender is even more stark in the difference between the lighter tone of the lyrics vs. the harsher delivery of them. Sung by someone else the song could be considered light and even whimsical. Sung by Fish the connotations behind the lyrics are considerably darker.

I "discovered" Marillion in 2002. An online friend of mine who shared some of my other musical interests (Chicago and Dream Theater) recommended Marillion to me. I started with Misplaced Childhood and perhaps it was due largely to impeccable timing-- I was going through a rather rough case of heartbreak myself at the time-- but the album really spoke to me... especially Kayleigh and Lavender. Granted the girl who had broken my heart inherited her name from a Barry Manilow song that had been playing in the car when her mother was on the way to the hospital and not the Marillion song-- but the bitterness of both of these songs spoke to me at that point in my life.

One of the things that I really enjoy about Marillion on the whole is that they twist and turn on its head the negative stereotype that prog-rock is overly technical at the expense of emotion. If Marillion's music is bland and emotionless then I'm a vernicious knid.

Related Links
Marillion Misplaced Childhood (1985) review


Tender Heart Bear said...

I do like the songs. But to be perfectly honest with you it is not something I would listen to all the time. You are right about the music. Both songs are really good slow songs. I understand about what you are saying about listening to them after a break up.

Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas said...

Now I feel old as I discovered Marillion when Misplaced Childhood was first released (and even saw them open for Rush in '86)

Its a great album, but one that I have rarely had the time to engage in its entirety for some time. It might be time to do so.

drewzepmeister said...

It was in 1985 when I "discovered" Marillion. Back then, Asia was starting go "south" with Astra, while Yes and Genesis went mainsteam. Marillion was a fresh change of pace for prog rock. I really got into Misplaced Childhood at the time, even went far as bootlegging a Milwaukee show in 1987.

Though I haven't really listened to them much in the last few years, my interest in them has picked up a little with picking up their second album, Fugazi a week ago.

Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas said...

drewzepmeister, I had a bootleg of Marillion in college (the first boot I'd ever owned)and I could swear it was from a show in Milwaukee during that time period. I believe it was the tour for Clutching At Straws (which would fit the timeline)

Sean said...

A high school friend, who was a huge fan of early Genesis and Peter Gabriel (with and without Genesis) encouraged me to pick this up not long after it came out. It was in regular rotation for some time. I did not follow the band's releases after Fish left. Another well written review and a reminder to go back and listen to this album (and Script for a Jester's Tear) as it has been a looooong time. Certain bands require a commitment to sit and listen for a protracted amount of time (which can be said for most prog releases) though Marillion had lyrics that matched their musical prowess, thus making it worth the trip.

drewzepmeister said...

Frog Pajamas, Could be very well the same...I recorded it live off a radio broadcast from Billy's Old Mill (a tavern in Milwaukee. Yes, they did play materiel off of Clutching at Straws. The fun part was the banter from Fish between songs.

Just a little trivia about Marillion, they got their name from the title of a book called The Silmarillion written by J.R.R. Tolkien-the author of The Lord of the Rings.