Album: Moss Elixir
. . .
Moss Elixir came out on Warner Bros, which was the second major label to take a chance that somehow Robyn Hitchcock’s considerable songwriting talent and cult following could somehow translate into a breakthrough, even though the alt-rock “revolution” that had “dominated” the first half of the decade was clearly waning.
And so I do wonder how Warner Bros thought they could market a song like the shimmering, psychedelic “Beautiful Queen,” which rode in on a skipping drum beat and backwards guitars and the following opening verse:
Give me your mascara and your phosphorus
You and I are higher than the loft
Gliding through the snowdrifts in a miniskirt
Glistening and olive, yeah, but soft
Obviously, psychedelia had been part of Robyn’s makeup all along, but not since “Airscape” had he been so explicit, so “Beautiful Queen” was an ever-changing kaleidoscope, especially on the chorus.
With your beautiful gene
I love the way the guitars shine around the chorus, and then after the first chorus, the whole song stops, and we get a burst of trumpets as Robyn sings:
I’m not afraid to be the only person on the planet
I’m not afraid to be the only person in the world with you
And after the second chorus, it not only goes into the stop-time part, but follows that up with waltz-time part where Robyn asks “won’t you thrill me again?” after which “Beautiful Queen” launches into orbit once more, eventually fading out on a choir of “ahhhhhhhhhhhh”.
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