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Harry

Caos (Demo) - Harry, 1986

The best song of the 1980s. No one agrees with me, of course, but my
opinion has not changed in twenty years - and I've been so often
assaulted by memories of parts of this song that I kept saying to
myself, "one day I will have to write soemthing about this"... so
here's what I wrote in a friday, 2007oct19, in a straight
transcription from the manuscript, with no corrections at all, not
even in the places where my memories went against the facts.



With a mood between dream, nightmare, and drug haze, this monochordic
song speaks about love and madness with an intensity that - I think -
only teenagers are entitled to have: everything is at stake, and they
haven't yet been silenced by MacJobs and swallowed anger. The lyrics -
in Portuguese and sung in a very strange way; several of my friends on
listening to it have asked: "which language is that?" - have very
clear rough edges at points; for me this only adds to the poingnancy,
the urgency and truth of the song. After a very short call in the
beginning (a call to the Muse?) the guitar enters a wall-of-sound loop
that it will keep until until the end; the drums, muffled and often
"soloing" in a very simple way to add some variation (and life) to the
music, are as steady as an army of elephants marching over a city;
nothing will stop what is going on - and then comes Denise Tesluki's
voice -

  Apesar da chuva que cai            In spite of the rain that falls
  arder em você                      and burns on your skin
  tento estar mais perto             I try to be closer
  imaginando entender                imagining that I understand
  o seu universo em caos             your universe in chaos
  quem sabe                          who knows, maybe
  compreender                        comprehend it

  Agora a chave de abrir este som    Now the key for opening this sound
  caiu da sua mão                    has fallen from your hand
  acreditar na razão de dizer        believe(ing) in the reasons for speaking out
  sua alucinação                     your hallucinations

(it's impossible to give a precise translation; the lyrics are full of
ambiguous verb tenses, and strange constructions) -

The intentions behind the song are unfathomable, unclear. Compare it
with "Just Like Honey", by The Jesus and Mary Chain, for example. In
"Just Like Honey" the message is clear: harshness, sweetness - there's
so much noise that any punk would have their ears and brains shattered
away before being able to attack J&MC's exploration of melancholy,
fragility, and softer sides. But one thing that is torturingly weird
about this version of "Chaos" (and only this one, because later Harry
recorded a totally different studio version that sounds like a
technicality when compared with this one) is that the listeners don't
matter so much as they did for Jesus and Mary Chain; there's no posing
here, no "I'm this", "I'm not that"; they're playing for themselves
(damn, what drugs are they using here? Benzodiazepines? Flurazepam?),
for some reasons stronger than those of someone who is playing a
requiem for a close friend -

The song closes with a solo, played by a syntesizer (?), on a very few
notes. Again, I don't know where they got this from. It's incredibly
eveocative, and after listening to this song for many years (I'm
lying, actually; as I only had it on vynil I spent years with just the
memory of the song in my mind - only after that I transferred it to
CD) the images got clearer and clearer. The song ends with them in or
close to their car, after a hazy night, watching the sun rise at dawn
in an empty beach close to the industrial/portuary city where they
lived (Santos). The Jesus and Mary Chain could expect to be
understood, and to provoke reactions, from many people around them;
but for Harry, even though their city would have more than 200000
people, it should have felt like a grey desert.

My friend Marta used to say about this song that "it sounds like
death". I have always felt that she was right - in the world of this
song it seems so natural that people would fade away, and then either
become unreachable or disappear... this was more the rule than the
exception, and there can't be a taboo about talking about that - it's
a painful fact.

Later I learned that at least two or three people, among band members
and very close friends, had died. But I don't remember the details.