What Are You Listening to Wednesday

This week, as I find myself fully immersed in 1Q84, I also find myself humming “It’s Only A Paper Moon.”  (Haruki Murakami refers to Nat King Cole singing it several times in his novel, with intermittent moons scattered throughout.)
It is only a paper moon
hanging over a cardboard sea,
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.

It is only a canvas sky
sailing over a muslin tree,
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.

Without your love,
It’s a honky-tonk parade.
Without your love,
It’s a melody played in a penny arcade.

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world,
Just as phony as it can be,
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.
Without your love,
It’s a honky-tonk parade.
Without your love,
It’s a melody played in a penny arcade.

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be,
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.
Listen to Nat King Cole sing it here, Bobby Darin sing it here, Ella Fitzgerald sing it here, and my personal favorite Natalie Cole sing it here.
As to the meaning of the lyrics…the paper moons and a world as phony as it can be…we’ll have to talk about that when I finish 1Q84. Soon, my friends, soon.
And tell me, what you are listening to lately?

14 thoughts on “What Are You Listening to Wednesday

  1. I love this post, cause this is the song that I recently heard again while re-watching the movie “The English Patient”. As to 1Q84, it's just too big a task for me to read 900 some pages. But, I can sense the mood (and content?) here with this song you're posting… It's Only a Paper Moon… I look forward to reading your review. And, is the JLC5 still on until the end of this year? I need to hurry up. Have got Kawabata's The Sound of the Mountain on my TBR list for a while now.

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  2. Arti, the JLC5 runs until January 30, 2012, so you should have plenty of time for Kawabata (and maybe even more? :). I'm glad you're going to participate, and I know how time slips away from us!

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  3. Edgar, I'm so glad you're reading 1Q84 as well! Aren't the illusions of the moon(s) interesting? I love Beethovan sonatas; I used to play them quite often on the piano when I was in the music conservatory at Wittenberg University. Classical music is one of my favorite genres, just as it is for literature as well. Thanks for visiting me!

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  4. Nice song, Bellezza! My favourite also Natalie Cole's version. I also like the original version by Nat King Cole.

    Because you love Beethoven sonatas, I have to ask you this 🙂 Have you read Vikram Seth's 'An Equal Music'?

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  5. I'm glad you're enjoying 1Q84 so much. I got my copy last Friday and it's sitting there waiting to be read. (I yell at anyone who dare lay a finger within and inch of it's flimsy paper wrapping) I'll have to get myself a copy of this Paper Moon song as it is very Murakami.

    I'm listening to Korean music (book related) and still in my ambient vibe that I've been in for a long time.

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  6. Maybe Murakami wants to disavow the things that happens in his alternate world by saying it's only make believe. But some of it seems real to me. Especially these days.

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  7. Oh, and Bobby is my fave! It's a song not commonly performed and I don't know why. I own quite a lot of vocal jazz, and I just went and looked, and I have only the Nat King Cole version, (and a version by a girl who was in high school with Michael). Surprising. The NKC also has the wonderful, wonderful version of The Very Thought of You which was used in Home for the Holidays.

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  8. I've been listening to a favourite of mine, David Sylvian's Manafon, named after the church that R.S Thomas, Welsh poet & Clergyman, noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the anglicisation of Wales.The album is a mix of improvisation, chamber music & experimental rock. I adore it, but I'm in a minority that does.

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  9. Unfortunately, here's what I have been listening to: news media saying horrible things about the university and students I love, based on the heinous acts of a few terrible people that the rest of us were unaware of — and had nothing to do with. I am looking forward to listening to something else soon. Hugs and sorry I'm so cranky. Col

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