Quote of the day: REPETITION

February 21, 2014


Repetition has a numbing effect on me. If you tell me the same story over and over again, I start erasing my memory of it, because I believe you don’t expect me to remember. “Help Me,” Joni Mitchell’s one big certifiable Top 40 smash hit, was so ubiquitous when it came out in 1974 that I quickly stopped listening closely to the words. Only lately, and again watching Jessica Molaskey sing “Help Me” in her American Songbook show “Portraits of Joni,” have I come to appreciate the crazy originality of the lyric and how it uses repetition for epicurean insistence:

Didn’t it feel good
We were sitting there talking
Or lying there not talking
Didn’t it feel good
You dance with the lady
With the hole in her stocking
Didn’t it feel good
Didn’t it feel goooooood

And just in case you didn’t get the point, the backup singers add:

Didn’t it feel good?
Didn’t it feel good?
Didn’t it feel good?
Didn’t it feel good?

— Don Shewey

Joni Mitchell Live

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