Language note: contains the M-bomb.
The Moon is the opposite of the Milky Way (the subject of the last song); you can only see the Milky Way at the right time of year, in a dark sky away from city lights, if it’s very clear and not rainy or cloudy, long after sunset. The Moon blasts through the sky like a blowtorch, obliterating almost any other celestial object – certainly the Milky Way, if not literally every star in the sky. When there’s a full moon in the middle of the night, I only see the moon.
This guy fucking loves the moon. He loves the moon so much that he’s created some fake vendetta against the earth’s oceans, claiming that the oceans’ strength comes largely from the influence of the moon, that they’d be sleepy and boring otherwise, and even making up shit that the oceans say about the moon – “[we] won’t let one little puddle be pushed around by that silver motherfucker”. He’s quick to disclaim “that’s how the oceans describe the moon – those aren’t my words, I love the moon!”. I think it’s the only time I’ve used the word “motherfucker” in a song, and I find the ardency of this guy’s pro-moon stanning absolutely hilarious and ridiculous. Is this what it’s like to be a Beyonce fan? Please do not tell me the answer.
Anyway, however ridiculous, he really does like the moon. I like it too, I’d just like it more if it didn’t drown out the stars. I think I was probably thinking a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Sun Whose Rays are all ablaze”*. G&S are probably associated most with twiddly twee songs like “I Am The Very Model of A Modern Major General” and “Here’s A Pretty State of Things”; “The Sun Whose Rays…” is a bona fide ballad, and unusual in the portion of their oevre I’ve heard. If you’ve seen the movie “Brick”, you will have heard a spoken word version of the first part of this song. My dad is a big fan of G&S, which is how I heard the song, and think it’s really beautiful; it’s first verse is dedicated to the sun, and the second verse, to the moon, culminating in the defiant:
But, prey, make no mistake
We are not shy
We’re very wide awake
The moon and I
I suspect this song will eventually sink beneath the waves of history; it’s from The Mikado, a British Victorian-era opera set in Japan and… not unproblematic in 2019. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” seems to have outlived its parent musical, so maybe “The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze” will too.
The man in this song doesn’t aspire to be the moon, or to mimic it; he hopes to do no more than convince people how great the moon is, and talk shit about the ocean. Who amongst etc etc.
Next week, we reach out for the (/a) good book. Until then, you can read about all the songs from Year of The Bird here and pre-order the album here: https://palebird.bandcamp.com/album/year-of-the-bird-volume-3
*The other obvious touchstone is Joel Veitch’s “We Like The Moon” and it’s only marginally more silly than this song.