Terry Walstrom reflects on The Me I Never Knew

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These things are entirely subjective, naturally, but -- I've always had a very special place in my heart for Barry's melody to the Alice's Adventures tune to THE ME I NEVER KNEW in its instrumental form not to mention the Matt Monro vocal.

The construction of the thematic material has some unexpected turns which never fail to elicit a strong response from me. Normally in a song we would have the first line repeated in the second line identically or pivoted up an interval of a fourth. But, Barry -- the second time the phrase "The me I never knew" appears--works a bit of magic and injects a poignant twist to the direction of the theme. It goes up instead of down at an odd interval and--as if that were not enough--elevates the entire mood in a transcendent manner when the phrase "without a word of warning" occurs.

Now -- I'd like to call your attention to what is NORMAL in a song. You introduce a theme or melody line and repeat it. Then you bridge in something of contrast in the middle eight bars. Back to the same original theme with a change in it to top off the feeling of completeness. But -- in THE ME I NEVER KNEW there is no resting place and return until the ENTIRE first and second lines/bridge phrase have spun through to completion. Rather, a transformation process is applied throughout. The emotional core transmutes mood after mood climbing in intensity reframing the "feeling" in greater and greater tensions which cry out for some sort of release. "You smiled and I discovered..." on the word "discovered" a remarkable feeling of interior transformation rushes forward. The discovery is imbedded inside the melody itself. And a wonderful one it is too!

The orchestral version of this song is just a joy. The tension and release is masterful. The conflict is never overpowered by the instrumentation. It is kept personal yet significant. A grandness and nobility is present when the horns and the strings sing full out.

I simply wish there had been an alternate lyric written for this melody which would be more universal; allowing singers an avenue of expression less reflective and more declarative. Nobody sings about interior transformation it seems--unless they are holding a guitar!

The long and the short of it---this may be my favorite Barry melody. Dunno, there are so damned many!!

 

Terry Walstrom.

Read 90214 times Last modified on Friday, 04 December 2020 12:12

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