Thursday, January 19, 2012

Youth Worshipper

In the past few years the church (now all lower case) has had a few new official histories written about them: No Certainty Attached-biography and Marty's liner notes for the early period 30th anniversary reissues. It's interesting how Youth Worshipper is mentioned in both in almost same way: "...a fairly topical commentary on those who use cosmetics and other means in order to prolong their fading youth..." and "...Steve commenting on plastic surgery...dealt with less abstract subjects...". Both tomes say that the lyrics are easy to understand and that they are a clear statement. I'm sorry but SK sucks big time when he tries to make a simple and easy to understand lyrics. That is a good thing, as the lyrics are still intriguing even though I have read them many times. Despite those other interpretations I still see the character Youth Worshipper as a dirty old man (or could be a puma woman these days) looking for aphrodisiac from young people in seedy environments at the fringe of the movie dream laa-laa land (...steal your scenes) where the dreams turned to nightmares in ruins. How exactly the hooves and horns relate to plastic surgery doesn't open up to me. There is a demonic undertone in the song and the character feels more like a serial killer or a pervert than recovering plastic surgery patient looking to bounce back to big time.

Heyday is often seen as having too much extreme orchestration especially in the end of the album. Night Of Light and then Youth Worshipper after that use all the bells and whistles they wanted. These songs are like companion pieces to each other in my mind with the same kind of arrangements. As Night Of Light was the lighter side this is the darker side. I think that in Youth Worshipper the strings are necessary or even the driving force of the song.This is a song that would be impossible to play live with just the basic guitar/bass/drums-setup. The strings carry the riff behind the chorus in a menacing way. A bit hammy Polanski horror movie extravaganza going on there. Youth Worshipper is not a jangle pop song with added strings and stuff. This is more like chamber jangle pop. The orchestrations are essential to the widescreen touch of the song in Youth Worshipper than any other song in Heyday.

Youth Worshipper is a good Kilbey/Jansson collaboration even though it's mostly forgotten. The duo went on to do another little pop ditty for the next album of the band and it has turned out to be quite popular later on. Still I have listened Youth Worshipper almost as much as that other number, Under The Milky Way, and there isn't much to complain when I blast it from the heavenly 30th Anniversary Edition.


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Anonymous said...

Were the strings on Youth Worshipper not Steve's deliberate nod towards Visconti's string arrangements for T-Rex?