My favourite verse from The Magnetic Fields’ ‘Queen of the Savages’

It’s the third one.kilma-queen-of-the-jungle-movie-poster-1975-1020465149


Verse 1.

My girl is the queen of the savages
She don’t know the modern world
and its ravages
Instead of money she’s
got yams and cabbages
She lives in a dome
I don’t care if I never get home

This verse is okay, but I’m not wild about the reference to savages, and I feel like the word ‘ dome’ doesn’t really describe a hut properly. It sounds more futuristic.

Verse 2.

My girl is the queen of the jungle folk
You should see the things
we see when we smoke
We think all of life is a funny joke
She’s sharp as a tack
I don’t care if I never get back

This is the worst verse, for me. Jungle folk? Folk is such a shit word. Although the reference to marijuana is pretty hilarious, does the qualifier for ‘joke’ really have to be ‘funny’? Talk about tautology! (Maybe it’s because they’re high.) I do, however, like the way the singer says ‘never get back’, which to me kind of implies a time distance rather than a spacial distance, and makes me think he’s been stranded wherever he is by a broken/malfunctioning time machine. I don’t have any real evidence for this, apart from the mental/verbal opposition between back/forward and here/there. Of course, if modern day New York is ‘back’, in this case it seems he’s gone forward in time, only to discover savages and raw jungle. At first glance this may look anachronistic, but let’s not forget the lessons we learnt from Planet of the Apes. (This would also explain the use of the word ‘dome’ in verse 1.) I also like the fact that the singer emphasises his girl’s intelligence as a positive attribute.

Verse 3.

My girl is the queen of ten villages
We live on the fruits
of her pillages
She eats other queens,
she’s very religious
She doesn’t use a fork
I don’t think I’ll go back to New York

This is the best verse. I really like the last couplet, it’s almost like there’s a semicolon between the lines, and the direct causal relationship between her not using a fork and him not returning to the first world really makes me laugh. Also, you think the girl eating other queens is a horrifying thing, but then it turns out that it’s for religious reasons, and she’s going to gain their power or whatever, which is fantastic. Finally, I really enjoy the fact that there’s a woman pillaging here. That’s traditionally such a male domain.

Author: ProjectJennifer

Project Jennifer was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.6 billion in 2012 dollars).

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