Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Friday Song: Goodnight Moon

Sometimes, there are songs that simply catch me off-guard with the oddness in their melody. Perhaps, a ballad garners consideration merely by its unexpected presence in other media. Of course, after a re-listen, given my proclivity for the crime genre of late, if I discover a noirish quality within, it tends to get further attention. I believe Naomi, of The Drowning Machine blog, covered it best last month with her tribute to our good friend Corey Wilde and his penchant for such things in her Revisiting noir lyrics post:

“I got to reading some of Corey’s old posts here, and among my favorites are his selections of what he called “noir lyrics.” Songs that may not have been noir but that had a line or two that spoke to him as such.”

In my opinion, Goodnight Moon by the group Shivaree qualifies. The song came to my scrutiny byway of Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL films. The 1999 track played during the end credits of 2004’s KB: Vol. 2 and in the director’s original vision of the film as one grand epic (which I happily caught when it played here in L.A. some weeks ago) – Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair. That the number shares the same title with the classic children’s bedtime story (one I read to my kids when they were young) stands as a wonderfully stark counterpoint.

The-First-RuleWhat recently brought the tune back to me was not just the film, but a re-read of another book. Author Robert Crais, the creator of my preferred crime/mystery series, in his Joe Pike novel from last year (The First Rule), uses the title itself as a closing stroke to end a midpoint chapter. It comes out of nowhere and brings a smile to the reader who is familiar with one or both sources. Whether he intended it as reference to the noirish song (and Ambrosia Parsley’s accompanying smokey vocal) or the children’s story, I think its use by the novelist remains one splendid poetic topper. I hope you enjoy.

There’s a nail in the door
And there’s glass on the lawn
Tacks on the floor
And the TV is on
And I always sleep with my guns
When you’re gone

There’s a blade by the bed
And a phone in my hand
A dog on the floor
And some cash on the nightstand
When I’m all alone the dreaming stops
And I just can’t stand

What should I do I’m just a little baby
What if the lights go out and maybe
And then the wind just starts to moan
Outside the door he followed me home

Well goodnight moon
I want the sun
If it’s not here soon
I might be done
No it won’t be too soon ’til I say
Goodnight moon

There’s a shark in the pool
And a witch in the tree
A crazy old neighbour and he’s been watching me
And there’s footsteps loud and strong coming down the hall
Something’s under the bed
Now it’s out in the hedge
There’s a big black crow sitting on my window ledge
And I hear something scratching through the wall

Oh what should I do I’m just a little baby
What if the lights go out and maybe
I just hate to be all alone
Outside the door he followed me home
Now goodnight moon
I want the sun
If it’s not here soon
I might be done
No it won’t be too soon ’til I say
Goodnight moon

Well you’re up so high
How can you save me
When the dark comes here
Tonight to take me up
To my front walk
And into bed where it kisses my face
And eats my head

Oh what should I do I’m just a little baby
What if the lights go out and maybe
And then the wind just starts to moan
Outside the door he followed me home
Now goodnight moon
I want the sun
If it’s not here soon
I might be done
No it won’t be too soon ’til I say
Goodnight moon
No it won’t be too soon ’til I say
Goodnight moon

9 Responses to “Friday Song: Goodnight Moon”

  1. Naomi Johnson

    Wow! I never heard this song before, and the lyrics are — wow! So I thank you for that.

    I remember Crais using the ‘goodnight moon’ line and wondering about it. Now I need to go back and read that chapter again with new eyes, now that you’ve introduced me to the song.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Jeff

    Great post! For reasons not worth going into, I’ve been shamefully behind on my Crais. I just finished “The First Rule,” and am now into “The Sentry.” I’ve been formulating in my mind a post about the two books, and this will help. So, thank you!

    Like

    Reply

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