Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lhasa de Sela -- "The Lonely Spider" (2009)

Lonely spider waiting in her web
Hoping she can catch some happiness
Then who should stumble into here but you?

Lhasa de Sela died of breast cancer on this date in 2010.  She was 37 years old.  Last January 1, I observed the first anniversary of her death by writing about her song, "La MarĂ©e Haute."  Here's a link to that post, which includes a brief biography of Lhasa.

I've decided to write about another of Lhasa's songs today, which is the second anniversary of her passing.  

"The Lonely Spider" is from Lhasa's eponymous third (and final) album.  Although Lhasa recorded in Spanish and French as well as English on her previous albums, all the songs on Lhasa are in English.

In 1829, Mary Howitt wrote a poem she titled "The Spider and the Fly."  It began with this famous line:

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly.

This line -- often paraphrased as "Step into my parlor," said the spider to the fly -- has become common parlance for an offer of help that is an fact an attempt to lure someone into a trap.

The spider in Mary Howitt's poem pulls out all the stops in his attempts to attract the fly into his web.  But the fly is too cagey to fall for the spider's invitations until the spider tells the fly that his parlor has a looking-glass in which the fly can see how beautiful she is.  This appeal to the fly's vanity does the trick, and the spider dines well that day.

Here's a reading of the entire Howitt poem:

Howitt's spider is a male, and her fly is a female.  Lhasa updates the story by making her spider a female and her fly a male.  I don't know about you, but I have a funny feeling that things are not going to turn out happily for the fly.

The first verse of the song (which is quoted above) informs us that spider is terribly lonely.  She thinks that the fly can bring her happiness, and promises that he won't be sorry if he gives her a chance.

Lovely lady spider likes you best
Begs you to come live in her own nest
Feeds you, clothes you, gives her heart to you

That all sounds pretty nice.  But the fly's momma has warned him about spiders, so he maintains his distance.

You can just see the pretty pout on the spider's face, and the tear rolling slowly down her cheek as she sings the next verse:

Don't know why you put up such a fight
Make the lady spider cry all night
You never have to be alone again

The last verse repeats the first two lines of the first verse, with a different final line:

Lonely spider waiting in her web
Hoping she can catch some happiness
Oh, when will happiness come by again?

Poor little spider.  Perhaps the fly has misjudged her.  He feels sorry for the spider, and would like to see her happy.

The fly is a typical dumbass male -- to put it another way, the little head is doing the thinking for the big head. 

Maybe you think I'm being too hard on the spider.  Would you feel differently if I told you that she says these two lines under her breath after each verse?

Got you where I want you
Got you where I want you

Wake up and smell the cat food, fly.  Yes, the spider is truly lonely.  Yes, she will feed you, clothe you, and give her heart to you.

And then she will eat you.  

Here's "The Lonely Spider":

Click here if you'd like to buy the song from Amazon:

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