The Prostitute

The Prostitute

Preface

I have a synesthesia-I see sound. This is an attempt to describe my visual field while listening to this song in a darkened room on a very, very pretentious set of headphones and 100% sober. The metaphors and similes may change if I re-write this in the future, but the actual visuals will not. I highly recommend listening to the song (linked after its title on both YouTube and Spotify) prior to and during your reading of this post.

Beirut - My Night With The Prostitute from Marseille

YouTube, Spotify

0:00-0:15

The synth sounds immediately bubble into existence, taking the form of some melancholic will-o-the-wisps in Ethereal Blue behind my closed eyelids. Each will-o-the-wisp is chased by a much more cheerful Ineffable Red dot-being that latches on to its leader’s non-existent tail.

These beauties capitulate around my field of vision, primarily rushing from their origin at the far edges of my vision to the center stage and promptly evaporate into mere ephemera. Each of the playful orbs has a slight difference to them, roughly corresponding to the notes from where they originate, but the difference is too slight to really describe, but it adds a lovely organic variation to the entire scene.

The apparitions edge’s wobble ever so slightly when the notes become deeper, like the wiggle of a sine wave or a bit of nystagmus, and this wobble becomes more severe as the bass notes kick through the scene from the outside in, and make everything shake in a uniform manner that is surprisingly calming.

0:15-0:45

and we believed her that night

and we believed her that night

and we believed her that night

and we believed her that night

His voice starts with a pained whisper in and a sharp, emotive expelling of emotional ejaculate, pejorative yet filled with verity, hardly annunciating several of the words. His words take the form of a series of clouds viewed from the vantage point of a 747 far overhead, that semi-chaotic-yet-completely-alive type fractal pattern that shows up all around life, the universe, and everything else - each of the undulations in his voice (and there nary a few) is the trough of the cloud, sharp, dark, and lending an air of gravity to both his mood and the visuals.

By this point, the drum machine has started to spew its little beat into the mix, adding a quick 4/4 bonbon right into the bottom of my vision, which the will-o-the-wisps narrowly escape as they blink into existence  The cymbal noises appear off to my left as diminutive metallic snakes, glistening with a cool reflective light not unlike the way the sun playfully reflects off of a pair of steel earrings as you lean in to surprise a neck with a kiss. The snakes hover around the orbs and tickle the tops of his clouds.

0:45 - 1:24

and now, outside

you see the waves in her eyes

and I

I won’t mind

what you decide to swear by

and now, outside

you see the waves in her eyes

and I

I won’t mind

what you decide to swear by

His voice grows more pained yet keeps a clinically distance. The transitions from cloud to cloud have become deeper and deeper, and the orbs fall off a bit in their visibility to give way to the organ-pipe sounds that shoot up as turgid columns of Ineffable White, Ineffable Blue, and Ineffable Green.

1:25 - 1:45

With a momentary pensee, the song moves forward, full steam ahead, and my eyelids are now filled with all of the aforementioned bits - dancing orbs, layers of deep cirrus clouds, turgid columns of light, bonbons, and happy, mercurial dancing snakes. We have the addition of some highly distorted backing vocals, many octaves deeper than the rest, that add the same nystagmus to the clouds that the bass tones add to the orbs.

and now, outside

I see your eyes meet the sky

and I

I don’t mind

what you decide to swear by

and now, outside

I see your eyes meet the sky and I

I won’t lie I kept you here tonight

The cataclysm continues.

1:46 - 2:30

The drum machine dies out, leaving me with the most intimate expression of the song yet. All is bare on his breath, and the clouds stand out and the ever-growing crevasses have now turned into caverns as he sings the last several lines, and the backing vocals are luminous, like tears jumping from a cheek illuminated by a full moon’s light.

and I believed her that night

and I believed her that night

and I believed her that night

and I believed her that night