Monday, September 01, 2008

Here She Comes, In Her Palanquin

God, "Mad Men" is just...so....good. It gives me chills every week. But that said, if you watched yesterday's show and thought to yourself at the beginning of the episode, "Say, that doesn't sound like a song from the '60s," you're quite right. It wasn't. It was "Infanta" by The Decemberists. I have mixed feelings about them using it. On the one hand, it's a great song, and it does sound a bit like a British Invasion band, right down to the singer's fake English accent. But on the other hand, it's a bit jarring, and does take you out of the show's time frame. And I'm not quite sure how the song's lyrics really play into the episode's themes...

Judge for yourself. Here are the lyrics, followed by a live version of the song. You tell me what it has to do with the show...

Here she comes in her palanquin
on the back of an elephant
on a bed made of linen and sequins and silk
all astride on her father's line
with the king and his concubines
and her nurse with her pitchers of liquors and milk
and we'll all come praise the infanta
and we'll all come praise the infanta

Among five score pachyderm
each canopied and passengered
sit the duke and the duchess' luscious young girls
within sight of the baroness
seething spite for this lithe largesse
by her side sits the baron
her barrenness barbs her
and we'll all come praise the infanta
and we'll all come praise the infanta

A phalanx on camelback
thirty ranks on a forward tack
followed close, their shiny bright standards a-waving
while behind in their coach-and-fours
ride the wives of the king of Moors
And the veiled young virgin, the prince's betrothed
and we'll all come praise the infanta
and we'll all come praise the infanta

And as she sits upon her place
her innocence laid on her face
from all atop the parapets blow a multitude of coronets
melodies rhapsodical and fair
and all our hearts afire
the sky ablaze with cannon fire
we all raise our voices to the air
to the air...

And above all this folderol
on a bed made of chaparral
she is laid, a coronal placed on her brow
and the babe, all in slumber dreams
of a place filled with quiet streams
and the lake where her cradle was pulled from the water
and we'll all come praise the infanta
and we'll all come praise the infanta



Now, after watching this bit of behind-the-scenes "Mad Men" video, I can kind of see the relationship between the song and the episode's themes, but it still seems like a bit of a stretch to me...BTW, DON'T watch this clip until you've watched the episode...

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