Saturday, 14 January 2012

Put The Load Right On Me

Do you know what The Weight by The Band is about?

Me neither.

I mean, I know it's about a visit to Nazareth, PA where they make Martin guitars, and I know Robbie Robertson liked this Mexican filmmaker, and all that.  But what's the song really about?

Who is Carmen?  Male?  Female?  Hanging with The Devil?  Really?  How about Chester?  What's that about?  Luke?  Judgement Day?

Is this a religious song?  Apocalypse now (or soon)?  Is it just a trip?  I mean, a trip?  Is it, like so many nonsense songs of the time, about nothing at all?  Is it happy?  Sad?  Defiant?  Uplifting?  Humorous?  All the above?

No idea.

I do know this, though.  When I hear it, when I play it, I'm often (which is to say usually - OK almost always) inexplicably overcome by emotion.  Which emotion?  All of the above.

How can that be?  How can you have a strong reaction to a song when you don't even know what's going on?  When you can't really describe what the reaction is?

The song is 41 years old now, so lord knows how many times I've heard it.  And, since the reaction seems to intensify with age, maybe I've gradually projected thoughts, experiences and feelings onto the song.  A mixed up bundle of them, obviously.

Or maybe it's just magic.  After all, we're talking about music here.

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