Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Island

The song “The Island” is divided into three separate pieces: “Come and See”, “The Landlord’s Daughter”, and “You’ll Not Feel the Drowning”. I tried to analyze each separate piece to understand the story of the song. It refers to the initial reaction the shipmen have interacting with the island. This is most noticeable in the third line, where the lyrics say “affix your barb and bayonet”. The men ready their weapons when they prepare for the unknown ahead of them. This leads to the sounds that guide “Come and See”. The first line says, “there’s an island hidden in the sound”, while the fifth line says, “and sorrow fills the silence all around” followed by “come and see”. Here, sorrow encompasses the crew of the ship as their time on the water runs out. The men almost do not notice the island because of their dreariness and depression. However, some notice and tell the others to open their eyes to the island before them. Once they open their eyes, they begin to notice the land around them. They do not say anything while they peer at the land, for their sorrow is still deafening. The men know this is their final travel for the men know “will not go home again” (line 19). The island is beautiful, but the men are still sorrowful.

“The Landlord’s Daughter” is completely different. The meter and tempo shift, allowing the song to flow a lot faster. The music becomes louder and more out of control symbolizing the madness of the rapist. The man says he will not take gold, but only the maiden’s lips. I can only assume that this takes story takes part chronologically, and this is where things begin to go wrong on the island. “The Landlord’s Daughter” tells a story of a man who is confused and out of his mind. As discussed in “Come and See”, the men are sorrowful and lost on an island where they will never reach their home. This appears to dive into the human psyche, as basic human reason does not apply in this case. The lyrics tend to give way to the music, as the lyrics are spread thin through this portion of the song.

“You’ll Not Feel the Drowning” tends to rip the song apart, and back into the sorrowful tone that started with “Come and See”. The guitar slows down from “The Landlord’s Daughter”. Since the song says “little sweetheart, little darling”, I think this ties into killing the Landlord’s daughter. This seems like the complete transformation from a man on the ship, to an animal of the island. The sorrow the island has given him has changed his character to a point of murder. In the last verse, the stresses on the syllables break the fourth wall by speaking directly to the audience. When the captain “heaves his sorrow cry” it leads the audience to believe that the captain is the man that has committed the murder and the rape. However, at the end of the song, he steps out of his ruthlessness, and reenters the civilized, as he lays the coins on the dead’s eyes, which relates back to the Greeks belief in their dead paying the boatman of the river of Styx.

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