Song of the Day #1,940: ‘Jonathan David’ – Belle & Sebastian

jonathan_davidI feel about Belle & Sebastian the way Pulp Fiction‘s Vincent Vega feels about Europe — they’re similar to other alternative bands but just a little bit different.

It has something to do with the makeup of the band, I’m sure. Seven members, several of whom trade off lead vocals, playing traditional rock band instruments as well as cellos, violins and plenty of woodwinds. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have a unique sound given that lineup.

Much credit also must go to band leader Stuart Murdoch, whose gentle vocals and prodigious songwriting talent have shaped the band from its inception. The septet has done a marvelous job of bringing his unique vision to life.

Today’s song, “Jonathan David,’ is sung not by Murdoch but by guitarist Stevie Jackson, who also plays the starring role in the song’s video. The track is sung from the perspective of the third wheel in a love triangle (excuse the mixed metaphors), and draws a parallel to the Biblical story of Jonathan and David.

Interestingly, that tale is about the two men’s love for each other (which some scholars have argued had a homosexual nature) rather than their shared love for a woman. Whether or not this song should be read that way is up for discussion.

I know you like her
Well, I like her too
I know she likes you
It’s not as if I’m being sent off to war
There are worse things in this world

There’s still room in my wooden horse for two
I was Jonathan to your David
You’re still king

Well I thought about her
I dreamed she’d come
I’d make my escape
I thought she liked me but somehow I was wrong
I know you don’t want it this way
But it’s OK

It’s not like we’ll be parted
It’s not like we’ll never know love
And she’ll smile for you
She’ll hold your hand
You’ll be in love
There’s no other way
And I will make it someday

Well I know you like her
Well I like her too
I know she likes you
It’s not as if I’m being sent off to war
There are worse things in this world

There’s still room in my wooden horse for two
I was Jonathan to your David
You’re still king

Visions of love recollected
Have we ever been true
I know that I have
It’s time for you to go
It’s all in the stones that you throw

I want you to know
It’s not like we’ll be parted
It’s not like we’ll never know love

And she’ll smile for you
She’ll hold your hand
You’ll be in love
There’s no other way

People say that
We’ll never change
We’ll never change
But I have

You and her in the local newspaper
You will be married and you’ll be gone
Married and you’ll be gone

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,940: ‘Jonathan David’ – Belle & Sebastian

  1. Dana says:

    I suppose the lyrics could be interpreted as having homosexual overtones, but the video seems to suggest otherwise.

  2. Amy says:

    I think it’s clearly written from the perspective of a gay (or bi?) couple – into their relationship and home comes a woman – and both find themselves attracted to her. Everything initially seems secure -” It’s not like we’ll be parted/ It’s not like we’ll never know love” until one of the partners chooses to do more than simply act on the sexual urge and actually goes so far as to give in to societal pressure and MARRY her. Well, that sort of ruins everything, doesn’t it? 🙂

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    I think Amy is correct.

Leave a Reply to Dana Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.