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Rhythm & Views

Faun Fables

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Dawn McCarthy and Nils Frykdahl can't be serious. This all must be a joke, a farcical take on melodramatic songwriting, on musical interludes in pretentious theatrical productions.

How else can one explain the lyrics for "Transit Theme": "I am a transit rider. Goings and comings, at all hours. In the light and in the dark." The song builds into a dark chorus, and McCarthy sings operatically, "The tokens are $1.25." The emphatic emotion combined with the mundane lyrics must be a commentary on our human relation to public transit. And in "Questioning," when both McCarthy and Frykdahl whisper, "Do you want a piece of hard candy?" and then Frykdahl repeats the line with gusto--the repetition of this question simply has to evoke the terror one would feel if someone asked them if they wanted some candy on the subway.

Likewise, McCarthy's faux-orgasmic yipping on "In Speed" is an aural invocation of the brakes on a subway train, and intends to induce nausea. The actual play that was based on some of these songs must also be a satiric glimpse at melodrama, and at the way we make the transit system, especially the New York City subways, into a fetish. McCarthy's authentic rendering of the traditional Anglo-Saxon "House Carpenter," along with her old English tonality and instrumentation on all of her songs, lends even more of an ironic nature to the songs about subways. It simply has to be a joke.

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