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"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" [LOVE version]

Categories: Beatles songs

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The acid's still peaking, and we're off to meet Lucy in Pepperland, through a brief backward rainshower and a fleeing flock of 'gulls'.

Good stuff this, man!

The twinkling effect on the tinkling intro, gradually speeding up as it fades up, has kaleidoscopes in your ears as well as your eyes. That drum/bass pulsebeat starts to make this a rather more uneasy return to the old Dalinian Wonderland than the tried and tested trip ever was.

Pic-ture you-self on a boat in a ri-ver,
With tan-ger-ine trees and mar-ma-lade skies...


The slight hesitancy in Lennon's opening vocal — more spaced than ever — reinforces the impression that the dreamworld, like the 'real' one, ain't quite what it was forty-odd years ago. Those fluvial waters seem slightly choppier than we remembered them.

Suddenly, someone (Giles Martin, to be precise) kicks things briefly back to more familiar musical terrain, amidst those towering cellophane flowers, and she's gone:

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!!!

The Latter-day Sonic Distortion, however, has only just begun: she's chased up there by Maybe You're a Rich Man squiggle (or a rogue guitar riff) through the refrain, for a start. Then follow her down again on that edgy narrative, curiouser and curiouser — just like Alice — as the soundscape continues to shift round behind her.

The vari-speeding, channel panning and general playing around with of component parts from both the classic version and the Anthology mix (not to mention the insertion of several extraneous soundsnips) all serve to stimulate the inherent sensory fluctuations of the experience.

Pompous Pepperhorns push in alongside the squiggly guitarry thing to punctuate Lucy's final leap into the sky, and she really is gone: off into the ether on an exquisitely extended aaaaaaahhhhhhhh...

However reticently the return-trip had begun, now you don't want to leave any more than she does. The intro returns to serve as a playout and — if those psychedelic seagulls, looping anew, are anything to go by — the riverboat is drawing closer to the ocean...

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