Johnny & Mary

January 1, 2009


MP3: Johnny & Mary – The Remodels

“Johnny & Mary,” despite the video, is a great single from Robert Palmer’s 1980 album Clues.

Robert Palmer…. le sigh. He was always an adventurous, sophisticated songwriter and musician who changed his look every time he changed his sound. Because he was so debonair and such a musical shape shifter, it feels like he never got the serious respect that he didn’t require from us. His sudden death in 2003 was a genuine shock, and a tragic end because he left too soon.

The song is a dialogue by 3 people: Johnny, his wife Mary, and a narrator in the chorus. Johnny is red, frantic and high strung. Mary is sardonic, resigned and blue.

Robert Palmer used incessant confinement as the key to his tale, and the Gary Numan-esque (it was the heart of the new wave era) electronic tone underscored the emotional detachment. But there was a sad humanity in the story needing to be pulled out.

The song is energetically colorful, like a Kandinsky painting: Johnny red, Mary blue, narrator green. Here’s what we put onto a new canvas:

One Response to “Johnny & Mary”

  1. what about looking at it from a womans angle

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