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8.07-CHANGES (Zombies)

Zombies

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        I knew her
        When summer was her crown
        And autumn sad
        How brown her eyes.

Now see her walk by
Peppermint coat
Button-down clothes
Buttoned-up high.
Diamonds and stones
Hang from her hand
Isn't she smart?
Isn't she grand?

        [Repeat Summer chorus]

        I knew her
        When winter was her cloak
        And spring her voice
        She spoke to me.

Now silver and gold
Strawberry clothes
Money will buy
Something to hold.
See in her eyes
Nothing will last
Like emerald stones
And platinum beaus.

        [Repeat Summer chorus]

        [Repeat Winter chorus]

[Repeat 2nd B section]

        [Repeat Summer chorus]

        [Repeat Winter chorus]

        [Repeat Summer chorus]

        [Coda]


Changes is doubly anachronistic for the time in which it was released. First it evoked the Renaissance period, as had Simon & Garfunkel in Scarborough Fair, or the Stones’ Lady Jane; and secondly because the “baroque” psychedelia of the late 1966 had rarely achieved any success since the advent of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and harder rock. Some signature aspects of the early psychedelic aesthetic, like the sitar and “baroque” counterpoint, were already starting to sound dated in early 1968.

I note, however, that Changes takes a flutelike mellotron that had introduced Strawberry Fields Forever, and the Stones’ Sing This All Together, and for the first time extended its range so that it appears at intervals over the course of an entire song. (The Kinks would later also do the same in the song Phenomenal Cat.) At this distance, of course, it doesn’t much matter the swings of taste, when looking at a specific art object free of context. Like the song preceding, it praises a girl and the seasons; the poet seems to be saying that he knew the girl for a year before she left him for an older man with money. The affair lasts longer than Simon & Garfunkel’s April Come She Will, but the conclusion of “nothing will last” is similar. In this case, even the girl’s present good fortune is seen as transitory. The song ends with a lovely “flute” coda that carries the melody into a peaceful land in the past where shepherds roam, an Arcadia which has been evoked by the singer’s insistence on the pleasure of his memories over the pain of his present loss.

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