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3.19-COMIN' BACK TO ME (Jefferson Airplane)

Marty Balin
Marty Balin

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[Intro]

The Summer had inhaled
And held its breath too long.
The Winter looked the same,
As if it never had gone.
And through an open window
Where no curtain hung
I saw you, I saw you
Coming back to me.

One begins to read
Between the pages of a look.
The shape of sleepy music
And suddenly you're hooked.
Through the rain upon the trees
That kisses on the run
I saw you, I saw you
Coming back to me.

         You can't stay
         And live my way,
         Scatter my love
         Like leaves in the wind.
         You always say
         You won't go away
         But I know what it always has been.
         It always has been…

A transparent dream
Beneath an occasional sigh.
Most of the time
I just let it go by.
Now I wish
It hadn't begun.
I saw you, yes I saw you
Coming back to me.

Strolling the hills
Overlooking the shore
I realize
I've been here before.
The shadow in the mist
Could have been anyone.
I saw you, I saw you
Coming back to me.

Small things like reasons
Are put in a jar.
Whatever happened to wishes
Wished on a star?
Was it just something
That I made up for fun?
I saw you, I saw you
Coming back to me.

[Coda]


Comin’ Back to Me is yet another Marty Balin song of romance, again in the second person “you” so that the identity of the person addressed is concealed. I throw up my hands trying to identify this song with a hallucinogenic experience when I look through its collection of mild poetic imagery, but according to Balin himself it was recorded in a marijuana haze. The shadow in the mist could have been anyone suggests dreamy longing but not a vision. There’s a lack of continuity in metaphors which seem all related to yearning, but lack juxtaposition among them—the poetic turns can hardly be considered surrealistic. The rain upon the trees that kisses on the run is more like a romantic personification of nature than a fresh insight.

Like Today, this song features a quiet sparse instrumentation that suggests a great deal of “space”. However, Comin’ Back to Me is even more dramatic in that it features only one acoustic guitar, Balin’s voice and a recorder. In Comin’ Back to Me the woodwind, which would begin to feature ever more prominently in popular music that was to follow (with such groups as Traffic and Jethro Tull), makes its second appearance as a recorder (after the Rolling Stones’ Ruby Tuesday) in this history of psychedelic music.

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