Midnight in Aspen/Aspen Reprise

Lyrics

(1)

The fog sticks around
As if he were on
So it goes higher and higher
Till the last

Even chain on jeep is bored
Hyphen
Aspen
Utah (2)

Ice melting over Jehovah

Freedom of self-doubt
6 p.m.
Rising

He aims the highest bestest powered rifle at the stars (3)
Orion  (4)
It bounces off
The satellite
He was lucky this week
Midnight

Aspen Reprise

At the constellation of Orion
It bounces back over, imitating
But wait till next week

Hard tough believers of
Form pure lights spiritual
But as self 
They ascend and hit the mark
Those old Frog 18th Century Revolters (5)
never said anything about this

It bounces back over imitating self
animal jackals
And the gray-red churned up roots
It misses him tonight
But wait till this time next week next midnight...

 

Notes

1. This song, broken into two parts on Fall Heads Roll, is an homage to Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) who lived around Aspen, Colorado, and who committed suicide earlier in the year that the album was released. This is in part an impressionistic story of the bullet with which he shot himself, which bounces off a satellite in the present time of the narration, but it is suggested that it later hits its mark, which is here identified as the constellation Orion, the Hunter (see note 4). In a Pitchfork interview, MES talked about the song a bit:

Pitchfork: What compelled you to reprise "Midnight in Aspen" after "Assume"? [The dreamy "Midnight in Aspen" gives way to the aggressive "Assume," then picks up where it left off with "Midnight Aspen Reprise," as if two records are playing simultaneously, and we are switching between them.]

MES: I think it's a pretty sad tune. Steve wrote it, the bass player. He's quite into that sort of organic, sort of Liverpool sound, actually. But I thought I'd couple it up with, like, Hunter S. Thompson dying, and all that. That's the vague idea. Half the songs, I made the lyrics up on the spot. That's the way I work. I have half the songs prepared, and half were just improvised. What happened in New York is they got there before me, and there was that big snow drift, so they were there for like four days on their own, so they came up with all sorts of shit that was quite good. 

According to Martin:

The "Mixing It" 2006 session performance of this song is mostly faithful (though the order of lines is changed a fair bit) to the studio version, but there are a few additions. We have the line "Even the chain on the jeep's double tyres is bored," and the reference to being "lucky this week" is altered each time to "unlucky this week." Mark E Smith sings "maybe next Saturday" which I thought might be a reference to the day of Hunter S Thompson's death, but it turns out he died on a Sunday. The line continues "maybe next Saturday, when he can shoot and descend into the mall. The frogs never told me this, he said. Neither did the group."

Dan:

In the interview broadcast with the BBC Mixing It session on 10 February 2006, MES says that the song started out with the title "Midnight Cowboy," but that the death of Hunter S Thompson is "maybe somewhere in there" (I paraphrase a bit). He says he never met Thompson.

^

2. Aspen is, of course, in Colorado. It's not clear whether MES doesn't know this, or whether he is throwing the neighboring state of Utah into the mix for some other reason.  

^

3. Thompson was a gun afficianado, and was notorious among his neighbors for firing them at odd hours, usually, it seems, in a state of inebriation.

^

4. Orion is also known as "the hunter," which is also Thompson's name.

^

5. "Frog" is a derogatory name for the French, so this would seem to refer to the French Revolution.  

^

 

Comments (4)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 18/09/2013
"iover mitating self"

Got a bit mangled there... the line is "over imitating self".

Dan
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 07/10/2013
Thanks for catching that.
Martin
  • 3. Martin | 18/09/2015
The "Mixing It" 2006 session performance of this song is mostly faithful (though the order of lines is changed a fair bit) to the studio version, but there are a few additions. We have the line "Even the chain on the jeep's double tyres is bored", and the reference to being "lucky this week" is altered each time to "unlucky this week". Mark E Smith sings "maybe next Saturday" which I thought might be a reference to the day of Hunter S Thompson's death, but it turns out he died on a Sunday. The line continues "maybe next Saturday, when he can shoot and descend into the mall. The frogs never told me this, he said. Neither did the group."
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 23/04/2017
In the interview broadcast with the BBC "Mixing It" session on 10 February 2006, MES says that the song started out with the title "Midnight Cowboy", but that the death of Hunter S Thompson is 'maybe somewhere in there' (I paraphrase a bit). He says he never met Thompson.

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