Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Joss Whedon is a badass"

Sorry for the break, the end of the semester is nigh.  I have been feeling the pressures of grading, administrative tasks, and getting  smacked onto my ass by a virus.  But the next Weather in the WtNV sequence is fascinating.  "Winifred" by Seth Boyer is about a character from Joss Whedon's TV series, Angel.  The song is sung from the perspective of Wesley, her on-and-off-again lover.  He is lamenting her death at the hands of a demon who created a hole in the world (hence the motto of the song).  This is a fascinating re-appropriation of filking within a supposedly separate science fiction setting.  Do people from Night Vale regard Winifred as a TV character, or as a real life scientist who got zapped by Illyria (All Hail Illyria!)?  The episode of WtNV is "The Whispering Forest," released exactly a year ago.  It mentions nothing about demons or physicists or vampires, so the Weather has a less direct connection. 

The lyrics have an inconsistent POV.  The verses are sung about Winifred in the third person, as Wesley tells someone else (who?) first about her character, and then about the actions being taken by Angel and Spike to save her.  The chorus and the bridge address Winifred directly, and occur after she has died.  All the sections share the same key, though the chorus emphasizes the major mode much more, whereas the verse starts with a circle of fifths on the minor sixth chord and destabilizes the final tonic chord with added sixths that make the cadence slightly deceptive.  The bridge features secondary dominants that also create a curious whimsy to the lyrics, "Oh, you silly Winifred, getting yourself cursed like that!" [Paraphrased.]  Is Wesley in denial about Winifred's death?  When he himself dies, he asks Illyria to pretend to be Winifred, so this could be possible.  (I haven't watched the whole series, I'm not an expert on this by any means.) 

There are also interesting instrumental connectors between the sections.  Each verse ends before the musical phrase itself completes, as if the singer gets lost in thought.  The guitar continues on to transition to the chorus.  Each verse also starts with an introduction, establishing the chord progression for the verse.  Are the verses flashbacks?  That would explain the shifts in POV.  the instrumental breaks are the musical equivalent of the wavy lines:

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