marlena, like all of chanan mattison’s work, is really a musical poem, evoking images that are almost photographic. here he conjures up the diva, flying into san fran like the great white cranes in the park… its a fantasy, a pleasant one involving what seems to be marlena dietrich, or is it someone else?
“there is an amalgam somewhat in this song too, because it seems to be someone i know, and of course i was too young to have known marlena dietrich. having said that, i believe that lyrics have license, why not? the song started in a supposition that perhaps it was joni mitchell flying into san fran, just as my past girlfriend trish, on which much of the album is based, used to fly in there on her usual routes for united airlines. so that nails it right there as an amalgam.”
blonde on blue has alot of ‘fantasy and diva’ to it and hopefully something can be learned in how the lyrics, to be honest, describe the inevitable failure of such a “distant” relationship to succeed. “in our world, any relationship is hard to succeed, let alone those appearing as ‘divas’ and distant beauties or beauty queens.” yet there is some serious fun in them as well, so much so that their beguiling siren-like qualities initially seem as far as can be from any shipwrecks ahead. therein lies the lesson. Are you prepared to “pay the price” in terms of a broken heart? many many people are, it seems…
marlena, copyright 2004, u.s. library of congress