Wednesday, August 3, 2011

With Eyes Closed: Andy Williams: "Almost There"

The sudden upsurge in all things 'retro' in the mid-to-late 90s was due to many things; one, I'm guessing, is sheer nostalgia for what once was and could never be again, a kind of relaxed gentility that evokes cocktails, shag rugs, people using 'swell' as an adjective and lots of sleek furniture and witty repartee. A more innocent time? If you were maybe four and remember it as such, well then yes. But there is hardly an innocent character in I'd Rather Be Rich and while it may be a remake of It Started With Eve, it really reminds me of A Room With A View, with Maurice Chevalier as the wise man who tells Sandra Dee she must decide and face up to her real love.

The song comes in just as Williams and Dee are thinking they are going to get away with it - he with marrying her, she with her whole scheme (involving Andy's rival, Robert Goulet). As such he is like a Zeus figure, carrying her away towards Heavenly Haven; her face betrays a sense of unease, though, even as she sincerely likes Andy and wants him to be she happy?

This is yet another song of waiting, anticipation, Williams' voice smooth and calming as if there can be no other way of living but this - swooping down and scooping up a pretty blonde as part of his genteel, but not innocent, life. I can imagine many a housewife settling down and gliding off to this with or without chemical enhancement - Williams' singing is an audible teddy bear here, urging the listeners to close their eyes and wait, not for too long, because what is going to happen will be soon, and will be better than even this. It is this spaced-out reassurance that many obviously needed, and the tenderness of it distracts the audience from the fact that next door, all hell is breaking loose. That hell will be in the next entry...

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