Posts from 20th September 2003

Sep 03

DORIS DAY – “Secret Love”

Popular18 comments • 3,790 views

#18, 16th April 1954

A gay reading of “Secret Love” is fairly hard for a current listener to avoid. But to suggest that any credibility that lends the song is undeserved would be wrong: it adds some extra depth to a record that was powerful already. The ingredients of “Secret Love” are fifties cupboard staples: a sweet-voiced singer who can belt it out when she needs to, and a lush and trebly arrangement. But this time the mix is just right – the trills and washes underlying Day’s wandering verse are fairytale pretty, and when she lets rip on “Now I shout it from the highest hills” I can’t help feeling her triumph. Even the awful daffodils rhyme can’t kill the joy.

Crucial to the song’s success is that there’s no suggestion of why the love had to be secret, and certainly no hint of shame – the very nature of love is that you can’t keep it hidden; it must and will come out. Other songs and later singers would find thrills in the secrecy, or invert “Secret Love”‘s innocent bliss to produce fate-haunted epics like “Dark End Of The Street”. But for these three and a half minutes that bliss is the strongest and most natural thing in the world.


Popular46 comments • 6,600 views

#17, 12th March 1954

They don’t make ’em like this any more, thank Christ. A 1954 British comedy record: either jokes were still rationed or they hadn’t been invented yet, so standing in we have musical pratfalls, on-purpose bad singing and noxious comedy accents. (“Just like The Darkness/The Libertines/Blur!” you might say and that piss-poor gag would be a thousand times funnier than this track.) Even this comic armoury can’t sustain the record for more than a minute so the Stargazers just do the whole thing again, but louder.

This record is genuinely excruciating. As a thought experiment I was trying to work out some kind of defense for it and the closest I can get is invoking/insulting Spike Jones but it won’t wash. The part where the female vocalist keeps starting her verse at the wrong time is particularly unspeakable but “I See The Moon” is irritating and embarrassing from start to finish. I had to wait until Isabel was out of the house before I dared give it a second play, and if it gets a third in this lifetime it will be a dark dark day.