Wednesday, April 2, 2008

EYE IN THE SKY


Listen to EYE IN THE SKY by The Alan Parsons Project.

Another from roughly the same period. Eye In The Sky is one that really scared me as a kid. This one and In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins were the ones that would give me the chills. (Speaking of, and since we're talking about Alan Parsons, have you seen those Dark Side of the Rainbow youtubes? Eerie.)

I can't really say why Eye In The Sky scared me, or even why it holds up well today. I think it's another one of those songs that has charm, because the singing isn't quite as polished as the rest of the production.

But it's also a song that would make a good exhibit in my campaign to force pop songs to stop after three and a half minutes. Those radio DJs in the 50s and 60s who wouldn't play anything over four minutes weren't dumb--there's only so much 99% of artists can put into a song without running out of ideas after a couple of minutes.

Eye In The Sky has an excellent lyric, and an excellent sense of dread, especially in that keyboard figure. They should have done a couple of verses, and then ridden those creepy keys right on out. Instead, the Project had to make it plain they were out of original thoughts by doing one last modulated verse and a totally lame and pointless guitar solo. Just like 689,543 other too long pop tunes. It could've been a classic, but now it's just a jukebox classic.

Photo: Merritt Parkway (3).

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8 comments:

john said...

I know exactly what you mean by being scared by this track. I tried and tried to figure that out and the best explanation I came up with is that when I was a lil' one, this track sounded like high schoolers: the real authority figures to kids at the pool/mall/arcade on a summer's vacation day. Slightly eerie, slightly romantic - a couple skate only classic (there's a series for you)!

Corbett said...

I like John's explanation, but this is one of the few that never seemed too creepy (too adult in John's analysis) to me--maybe because it's so mellow? Bill, I'm curious why you thought it unsettling as a kid....

Bill said...

It's wise not to parse these things too closely, but I'd say the keyboard is more ominous than creepy. The other thing is, I assumed that it was written to a girlfriend or estranged lover or soemthing. And the narrator's tone is pretty distant and impersonal--sociopathic, you know? Now I think it's more about Big Brother, or at least as much about "society" than it is a relationship. Does that make sense?

Bill said...

more ominous than *mellow*, I meant to say.

Corbett said...

Kind of--I definitely find it scary and sociopathic now, but I'm not sure the stalker connotations would've been clear to me then...but then again, kids are pretty perceptive about these things. And not parse things closely? On this blog? Give me a break.

Bill said...

Well, I meant not parse my childhood impressions too closely, but that probably won't fly with you either! the end of this song really annoys me, I hope at least that got through...

Penny said...

I also was unsettled by the keyboard.

bill said...

Indeed.