Friday, March 03, 2006

Harburg Lyric of the Day: "I Don't Think I'll End It All Today"

The next Yip Harburg lyric is another song from Jamaica, and one of the strangest songs ever written: "I Don't ThinK I'll End It All Today" is a happy song about gruesome methods of suicide. The idea of the song is the old one that it's the little things that make life worth living (in the context of Harburg's original conception of the show, it's the idea that natural and traditional things are what last after the commercial culture has been swept away by a storm), but it largely concentrates on the ways you could do away with yourself if life weren't worth living. Combined with one of Harold Arlen's catchiest, most upbeat tunes -- simpler and more easily hummable than usual for Arlen -- it's a strange, funny song that somehow finds a way to make the listener feel happy and queasy at the same time.


When I see the world and its wonders, what is there to say?
I don't think, oh no, I don't think I'll end it all today.
Fish in sea and sun in the heaven, sailboat in the bay,
I don't think, oh no, I don't think I'll end it all today.
So many sweet things still on my list,
So many sweet lips still to be kissed,
So many sweet dreams still to unfold,
So many sweet lies still to be told.
When I see the world and its wonders, what is there to say?
There's no time for the reaper to call,
So I don't think I'll end it all today.
Away with the river,
Away with the razor,
Away with the pearly gates,
Away with barbituates,
Away with the seconal,
The fall from the building tall,
No, I don't think I'll end it all today.

When I see your smile with its sunshine, what is there to say?
I don't think, oh no, I don't think I'll end it all today.
Tell the coroner and the mourners please to stay away,
I don't think, oh no, I don't think I'll hang myself today.
So many hilltops still to be climbed,
So many good words still to be rhymed,
So many sweet songs still to be sung,
So many slim hips still to be swung.
When I see your smile with its sunshine, what is there to say?
Let me quote from a ditty we wrote:
Oh, I don't think I'll cut my throat today.
Away with the bump-off,
Away with the rub-out,
Away with monoxide,
Away with the one-way ride,
Away with beyond recall,
St. Peter can tell St. Paul
That I don't think I'll end it all today.

So many small hands still to be squeezed,
So many bless-you's still to be sneezed,
So many smart deals still to be clinched,
So many soft spots still to be pinched.
Tell the crocodiles in the river please to swim away,
I don't think, oh no, I don't think,
Don't think I'll drown myself,
Don't think I'll cut my throat,
Don't think I'll commit hari-keri,
Don't think I'll jump from the ferry,
Oh, I don't think I'll end it all today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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