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InvisiblePapaverS
Madmin Emeritus?

Registered: 06/01/02
Posts: 26,880
Loc: Radio Free Tibet!
My Enigmatic Asian Friend...
    #1356781 - 03/07/03 08:41 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Dr. Wu
Donald Fagen & Walter Becker

Katy tried
I was halfway crucified
I was on the other side
Of no tomorrow
You walked in
And my life began again
Just when I'd spent the last piaster
I could borrow
All night long
We would sing that stupid song
And every word we sang
I knew was true

Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew
Are you crazy are you high
Or just an ordinary guy
Have you done all you can do
Are you with me Doctor

Don't seem right
I've been strung out here all night
I've been waiting for the taste
You said you'd bring to me
Biscayne Bay
Where the Cuban gentlemen sleep all day
I went searching for the song
You used to sing to me
Katy lies
You could see it in her eyes
But imagine my surprise
When I saw you

Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew
She is lovely yes she's sly
And you're an ordinary guy
Has she finally got to you
Can you hear me Doctor


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InvisiblePapaverS
Madmin Emeritus?

Registered: 06/01/02
Posts: 26,880
Loc: Radio Free Tibet!
Re: My Enigmatic Asian Friend... [Re: Papaver]
    #1358074 - 03/08/03 12:00 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Geeze, I thought someone would have something to say about this little gem of ditty apparently describing a classic "hipster" love triangle -- that between a man, a woman, and that evil mistress known as heroin?

Myself, I have been in more a painting mode, than a writing mode, lately, so here?s an excerpt from an essay entitled, "Hot Licks and Rhetoric: Inserting the Burroughsian Dildo into the New Frontier," by Davis Schneiderman. I?m not sure that I totally agree with his interpretation, but it?s a good little read... :wink:

Quote:

In the enigmatically scripted "Doctor Wu" which is more "jazz-pop" than
"rock" will ever be, language disguises itself as a forlorn love ditty:
"...You walked in/and my life began again. . . .all night long we would
sing that stupid son/And every word we sang I knew was true." Initially, we
are given the typical, hackneyed convention of the love song, but the lyric
surprisingly alters at the chorus: "Are you with me Dr. Wu?/Are you really
just a shadow of the man that I once knew?/Are you crazy?/Are you high?/Or
just some ordinary guy...?" Dr. Wu is a personified non-sequitur of the
stock Asian mischief character, escaped from the enigma of a Zen riddle. He
boggles the song's narrator with seemingly unexplainable presence and
purpose; his form is undefined, and causes the narrator to question the
reality of his appearance. The simple love story dissolves completely by
the first saxophone solo, and we roll through a second scenario of musical
convention, the drug-wasteland: "I've been waiting for the taste you said
you bring to me..."

We feel grounded, if not disturbed, by the apparent explanation of Dr. Wu
as a junkie's hallucination, but it is only in the song's final moments
that this position is questioned: "Can you hear me Dr. Wu?/Are you with me
Dr. Wu?" repeats and disintegrates into bits of chopped phraseology,
dropping the "Dr. Wu" tag, only to pick it up again several beats later,
separated from context and, like the language used to both pacify the
quiescent lovers or appease the strung-out loner, disconnected from its
original intent.

Fagen and Becker exploit the semiotic possibilities of the pop song with
"Dr. Wu's" establishment of two narrative frames and the subsequent
dissolution of these same schemas. This is a relative anomaly when held up
to the entire Steely Dan catalog, but only in the easily identifiable
decomposition of expected signs. Where "Dr. Wu" makes explicit, with its
atrophied ending, the precariousness of a listener's faith in the
"truthfulness" of lyric, this effect comes to predominate the latter phases
of the Steely Dan output in a more subtle manner.




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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: My Enigmatic Asian Friend... [Re: Papaver]
    #1358820 - 03/08/03 06:40 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

I'm not familiar with the stylings of Steely Dan, but I can dig this. :wink:

Thanks also for the Burroughsian Dildo insertion.
 


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InvisiblePapaverS
Madmin Emeritus?

Registered: 06/01/02
Posts: 26,880
Loc: Radio Free Tibet!
Re: My Enigmatic Asian Friend... [Re: Ulysees]
    #1358969 - 03/08/03 08:00 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

You know "Steely Dan" was named after the metal dildo in the William S. Burroughs? novel, "Naked Lunch." :cool:

Donald Fagen is an extremely good lyricist, and chronicler, of the darker side of life... IMHO. And what?s so cool about it, is that all this thick, viscous, dark green, cynical, bile is hidden, lurking, and trying to gurgle up one?s throat, just behind very upbeat, contemporary, toe-tapping, pop-jazz music. :wink:

"Forget about it, Jake. It?s China Town." :grin:


 


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