Song of the Day #1,524: ‘Statue Song’ – Stew

Stew (stage name of Mark Stewart) is another of those oddball artists who don’t really fit well into any of my musical genome categories.

Both as a solo artist and with his band The Negro Problem, Stew has explored jazz, punk, avant garde and cabaret. He has written a couple of musicals, one of which (Passing Strange) became both a Tony-winning Broadway play and a Spike Lee movie. He’s really unlike anybody else I listen to.

If I had to shoe-horn him into this project, it would be in the ‘Pure Pop’ category, but even that would be a reach. He has also dabbled in the ‘Melancholy’ but only in the way pretty much every artist has.

Rather than muddy the waters by including him on either of those lists, though, I’m going to slide him alongside Talking Heads as my second example of an artist who sounds unlike everything else I like.

Today’s track is a favorite of mine (and an example of melancholy Stew). He was challenged to write a song from the perspective of an inanimate object and delivered this track, which adopts the POV of a statue, quite poignantly.

i’m tired of holding this goddamn sword
i’m tired of standing still
i’m tired of looking dignified
against my will
i’m tired of looking at tourists
with their stupid pig-faced grins
i just long for a night
if you think it’s alright
to be indoors again
to be indoors again

i remember the warmth of a distant embrace
but i do not recall the name
i know we had a falling out
but i can’t say who was to blame
i remember the father’s burning rage
and the mother’s cold refrain
i once threw pebbles at that window
to get indoors again
to get indoors again

now the father’s become a friend of mine
and the rain’s my mistress fair
her snow and i see eye to eye
but the wind won’t mess up my hair
and the pigeon shit ain’t as bad
as you might think it would be friend
i just long for a night
if you think it’s alright
to be indoors again
to be indoors again

well i hooked up with this hotel maid
she was somewhat startled at first
but we started talking then after a while
she quenched my lethal thirst
she said you’re no different than most men
i’ve been out with dear friend
and then she asked me how it felt right now
to be indoors again
to be indoors again

tonight i’ll dream of being a pigeon
on rooftops in the sun
tonight i’ll dream of reading newspapers
the left and right wing ones
and i will dream of seeing a movie
jerry lewis meets bergman
and i will dream of a scoop of ice cream
and being indoors again
just being indoors again
just being indoors again

well i had to wake up sometime from
this dream of being real
they put me here exposed to the world
and expect me not to feel
so if you think your life’s not going anywhere
please consider me dear friend
out here in the fog with the tourists and the dogs
while you’re indoors again
while you’re indoors again

so when you think your life’s not going anywhere
so when you think your life’s not going anywhere

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,524: ‘Statue Song’ – Stew

  1. Dana says:

    I’m not sure what to make of your oddball category. I think in some ways it’s a cop out to the genome analysis and at some point you need to give further consideration as to why you like Stew and other “oddballs.”

    I still think it comes down to what Amy said: you appreciate great songwriting and craftsmanship regardless of musical classification, while I am admittedly less interested in hearing genres I don’t like, even when they are critically deemed well done or even when they are roads travelled by an otherwise favorite artist like Costello or Lovett.

    Incidentally, I like some of what I have heard from Stew, and today’s song is quite nice. At times, though, his style becomes too theatrical for my.taste.

  2. Clay says:

    That’s because “theatrical” is not in your musical genome. 🙂 I’m not sure what you mean by theatrical, though. The sort of thing you’d hear on Broadway?

    I think there will always be exceptions, and these “oddball” artists are mine. But if I list my 35 favorite artists and only two or three fall outside of my main genome categories, that seems to me to be pretty strong evidence that the genome is real.

    I do think a deeper analysis might be in order for the oddballs, though. Do I like everything these artists record? If not, which songs do I like most and which do I reject? Perhaps they’ll wind up fitting into the genome after all.

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