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*4.35-MAY THIS BE LOVE (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix

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Waterfall, nothing can harm me at all.
My worries seem so very small
With my waterfall.

I can see my rainbow calling me
Through the misty breeze
Of my waterfall.

         Some people say day-dreaming's
         For the lazy minded fools
         With nothing else to do.

         So let them laugh, laugh at me,
         So just as long as I have you
         To see me through,

                   I have nothing to lose
                   Long as I have you.

Waterfall, don't ever change your ways.
Fall with me for a million days,
Oh, my waterfall.

[Coda]


May This Be Love begins with the liquid sound of Jimi Hendrix’ guitar imitating a droplet falling in a waterfall as if rushing to splash in a pool. Mitch Mitchell’s drums tumble and roll. A pretty and simple melody follows, one of the few cuts on the Are You Experienced album that indicate Jimi Hendrix had tenderness within his technical range. However, in this instance he breaks off the melody suddenly with a angry, snarling B section that after two verses melts into a bridge lyric that softens back to the A melody. Upon the return to the A section, the vocals are abandoned after a verse and the melody continues to be played as an instrumental with tender dexterity for the last third of the remaining song, before ending in blips that suggest bubbles rising to the surface.

The lyric is a meditation on a waterfall. Whether the waterfall is a metaphor for a woman is unclear, and the “falling” merely suggests the feeling of “falling in love” without making a direct reference to it. The waterfall may also signify the passage the time, the preciousness of a passing life. In this sense, the lyric seems to say that the singer has nothing to lose but his life. The final verse may be a Keats-like bargain confronting his certainty about an early death [See Sleep and Poetry, lines 96-98: O for ten years, that I may overwhelm / Myself in poesy, so I may do the deed / That my own soul has to itself decreed]. The roughly thousand days that Jimi Hendrix actually would have to live after this recording are magnified to the next highest unit, a million, perhaps in order to put an optimistic face on it.

Jimi Hendrix was able to convey accurately and with equal precision two alternate realities from human existence, the above and the below. One was outer space (a fascination he shared with the Byrds and Pink Floyd), and he would continue to perfect the sound of flying saucers and thunder in the heavens. The other was the preferred region of the Beatles, the underwater life that could stand for the subconscious. Underwater was really Hendrix' preferred medium too, and would inspire his most ambitious work (1983: A Merman I Should Turn To Be). LSD put human consciousness at a level somewhere between the starry heavens and the watery depths of the earth.

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