There She Goes
February 10, 2005 4:58 PM   Subscribe

There She Goes - the monstrous hit single off the only (self-titled) album The La's ever released, is the only track enigmatic perfectionist songwriter and La's frontman Lee Mavers has ever been happy with. Described as the JD Salinger of Pop, Mavers has had problems with heroin (not everyone seemed to be aware of this) yet rumours of a return to the spotlight seem to continue to surface.
posted by jimmythefish (63 comments total)
 
VU did it better.
posted by keswick at 5:01 PM on February 10, 2005


Now-defunct group Sixpence None the Richer (best known for "Kiss Me") covered this song on their self-titled CD. It's a bonus track only available on later pressings.

Ironically, the group is comprised of professing Christians, and the majority of their songs dealt with Christian themes. So, it's a bit strange that this catchy ode to heroin would be included. To make things more confusing, even if you wanted to assume the "she" was a person, the lead singer of the group is a woman. Oh, and the Sixpence version is now licensed for use in a contraceptive commercial.

Fun song anyway tho. And I love the Sixpence version.
posted by The Deej at 5:16 PM on February 10, 2005


Ah, the La's... lovely song, always thought it was a shame Mavers seemingly self-destructed. Thanks for the update.
posted by scody at 5:19 PM on February 10, 2005


Holy shit. I'm an idiot. As many times as I've heard, sang and played that tune, it never occured to me that it was about heroin until just now. A... little... slow... on the uptake am I. Btw, Madonna's "Like a Prayer" is really about giving head. Good post.
posted by psmealey at 5:22 PM on February 10, 2005


Likewise, I could swear Uncle Kracker's Follow Me is about heroin too...

You don't know how you met me
You don't know why, you can't turn around and say good-bye
All you know is when I'm with you I make you free
And swim through your veins like a fish in the sea
I'm singing....

Follow me
Everything is alright
I'll be the one to tuck you in at night
And if you want to leave
I can guarantee
You won't find nobody else like me

posted by icontemplate at 5:28 PM on February 10, 2005


There are two versions of this song (The La's version, and one by Boo Radleys) on the So I Married an Axe Murderer soundtrack.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:57 PM on February 10, 2005


I played the hell out of my tape copy of their album back in the day. That said, I don't think I need a reunion or comeback a la "Second Coming."
posted by shoepal at 6:15 PM on February 10, 2005


Great record. I recently picked it up used, was amazed at how well it's held up.
posted by Dr. Boom at 6:29 PM on February 10, 2005


The only artist in this thread who's music I could identify would be Madonna. Monstrous single? Never heard of it. The La? Never heard of he/she/them.
posted by Doohickie at 6:44 PM on February 10, 2005


As someone who is an admitted sucker for a pop hook (as some MeFi Swapmates are about to discover) that is one heck of a tune. As always seems to be the case, a good backstory makes it even more interesting.

btw - Someone has been using this song recently for an advert of some type (shampoo?). You'd think they would look into things like this.
posted by krtzmrk at 7:00 PM on February 10, 2005


The only artist in this thread who's music I could identify would be Madonna. Monstrous single? Never heard of it. The La? Never heard of he/she/them.

That's great. Really. Please keep us up-to-date about your knowledge of pop history.
posted by meehawl at 7:13 PM on February 10, 2005


The only artist in this thread who's music I could identify would be Madonna. Monstrous single? Never heard of it. The La? Never heard of he/she/them.

So what's the deal, are you proud of your cluelessness? Sheesh.
posted by JeffL at 7:22 PM on February 10, 2005


When I was a wee punk-rocking lad I took a lot of heat for liking that album as much as I did. Every once and awhile I pull it off the shelve and give it a listen. It does hold up to time. I never thought it was through and through great, but I felt like (at the time) it was a precurser to coming greatness. The record had weak spots and underdeveloped ideas, but it seemed like it was pointed in the right direction. It's a shame they never gave themselves a chance to grow into the pop band I'd imagined them becoming all those years ago.
posted by elwoodwiles at 7:22 PM on February 10, 2005


This is a really good post. I had also never realized it was about heroin (in retrospect - listen to words of songs more carefully!) It's a perfectly done pop song, although I hate the Sixpence None the Richer version with a passion. This could be because I despise their other hit ("you'll wear those shoes and I will wear that dress"? Gag me).
posted by livii at 7:35 PM on February 10, 2005


Always thought the Orthotrycyclin-lo commercial's use of this song was a little werid. I mean, they're basicaly using the song to say "you're periods will come on time" (which is, I think, the point of the low-dose form). I mean "there she is, your period, again!"

Obviously the weird euphamism got it stuck in my head pretty well, though. :P

Do not use the pill if you're nursing, pregnant, or could become pregnant.
posted by delmoi at 7:37 PM on February 10, 2005


Interesting story, maybe the Guardian can try tracking down Right Said Fred and EMF while they're at it (joking, don't bother telling me where they are). Anyway I thought Jandek was widely considered to be "the closest thing the music industry has to J. D. Salinger," not this guy.
posted by bobo123 at 7:57 PM on February 10, 2005


I read the other day that Right Said Fred are doing well in South Africa.

Sorry, Bobo123

EMF can eat me. Do that to a Stones song will ya? WILL YA?
posted by bdave at 8:04 PM on February 10, 2005


bobo123,

thanks for that Jandek link. Guardian's words, not mine. Fortunately there are other reclusive metaphorical types out there that journalists can resort to....
posted by jimmythefish at 8:17 PM on February 10, 2005


I'm going to have to opine that this song is utterly bland both musically and lyrically, and listening to it does not inspire me to care if its creator returns to any kind of spotlight.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:35 PM on February 10, 2005


My memories of my 7 year old daughter and her friends up on stage "performing" this song on Lip Synch Nite are forever besmirched. But in a funny way. Thanks for the post. I never listened closely enough to this song to understand what it was about. I tend not to read too much into a song that's such perfect pop, I'm just grateful for the hook I guess.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:54 PM on February 10, 2005


Hm. I always thought it was a song that used heroin imagery to talk about a girl. Not the other way around.

Though, really, truly, what does the artist's intent mean in this case? I don't thinking reading this to be a love song is particularly inaccurate. Having never been a heroin addict (yet!), it holds an entirely different connotation for me. It was, in fact, the very first "Our Song" I had, way back in the 7th Grade.

While the "official reading" may show it to be about heroin, I don't think there's anything wrong about finding your own meaning in it.

Unless you think it's about, I dunno, The Spanish Inquisition or alligators or something.
posted by StopMakingSense at 11:33 PM on February 10, 2005


VU did it better.

Funny. Despite the fact I am very familiar with the VU playlist, I always thought it was a VU cover--just that I had managed to miss the original. Probably the key and falsetto reminded me of Femme Fatale.

They also remind me of the Jellyfish in that they do a tasteful job of mining a specific 60's sound--though that connection is admittedly tenuous.
posted by sourwookie at 11:56 PM on February 10, 2005


Well, then you know VU has a song by the same name off their eponymous release, right? And the chorus isn't dissimilar to the La's?
posted by keswick at 12:01 AM on February 11, 2005


There She Goes really is a classic single, three minutes of pure pop joy - like a strange sort of modern skiffle track. It's a shame however that the album that followed was so soulless, although not nearly as bad as Mavers would have everyone believe. Steve Lillywhite really did a great job of rescuing the album from Mavers incessant tweaking but I think the songs often lack any real connection with the rest of the human race - I suppose you could put this down to the heroin, but who knows. Anyway, I think they'd lost the vibe long before they even got close to finishing the album.
posted by dodgygeezer at 2:40 AM on February 11, 2005


Stunning single. Mavers was right to be pleased with this one - it really is faultless. It has something in common with all truly great pop music - it is instantly recognisable, and ends too soon, leaving you wanting more.

And a rather nicely structured FPP might I add.
posted by tim_in_oz at 3:09 AM on February 11, 2005


Kill it, kill it with fire.
posted by fullerine at 4:15 AM on February 11, 2005


I always find out last, this was about heroin? On the upside, every song I ever listened to meant something to me that I'm sure the writer(s) weren't trying to convey, which is how music should be heard imho. Perfect day isn't about heroin to me either, and brown eyed girl is not about anything but an actual brown eyed girl, thank god. Rusholme Ruffians happens to be about a few friends in highschool and an idiot I dated at the time. So there. ;)
So, who's this Madonna person?
posted by dabitch at 5:01 AM on February 11, 2005


Likewise, I could swear Uncle Kracker's Follow Me is about heroin too...

It's not?
posted by fshgrl at 5:01 AM on February 11, 2005


Re: "There She Goes" being about heroin: Eh. Not entirely convinced; if someone can pull down a quote that has Mavers admitting so, that's fine, but otherwise it goes into the "'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' was about LSD, man" bin. And being not addicted to smack myself, nor all that interested in drug culture, I prefer to take the lyrics at face value and view it as a mind-blowingly incandescent love song.

I was fortunate enough to see the La's at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago during the tour for The La's album -- every single member of the band looked 12 years old. But they put on a pretty good live show. I remember John Powers (the bassist) taking the mike to sing a couple of times; I was not entirely surprised when he left to form Cast (which is an excellent band).

It's a shame Mavers is off his nut, but if you only get remembered for one thing, "There She Goes" is a good thing to be remembered for.
posted by jscalzi at 5:50 AM on February 11, 2005


I recorded a version for my answering machine (I'm... not.... home.......... I'm not home again .... etc). I let the whole song play before you could leave a message. Man, all my friends were totally pissed.

Seriously, these guys are history. They've got a a well placed spot in our brains right next to the Stone Roses & the Sundays, but that's about it (at least, that's where I file them up there).

I'd like to be optimistic & say that it's great they might get back together, but I imagine that anything they come out with now will just seem overproduced and dated. Think of what Kevin Shields has been doing lately. His new stuff wouldn't have even worked as C+ filler on Loveless.
posted by password at 6:10 AM on February 11, 2005


I'm pretty sure that collectively, the La's were the ugliest band of all time.
posted by ph00dz at 6:23 AM on February 11, 2005


I'm pretty sure that collectively, the La's were the ugliest band of all time.

According to this guy at least, there are few that were uglier. In my opinion however, any band that includes Mick Mars is by default, the ugliest band of all time. And it doesn't matter if he's got with Brad Pitt on bass and Jude Law on drums. /OT
posted by psmealey at 7:22 AM on February 11, 2005


One day the chorus got stuck in my head and I wasn't even sure where I picked it up from. Eventually I had to find the .mp3, discovered it wasn't the VU song I'd assumed it was, found the La's version and the other one, put it on my mp3 player and played it over and over and over.

The next thing I knew I'd lost my job, my girlfriend, my apartment and had sold my guitar to buy a copy of the album.

I'm petebest, and I like "There She Goes". It's been 14 days since I last listened to it.
posted by petebest at 7:32 AM on February 11, 2005


Not a bad pop song, but I just can't give this band too much credit considering the similarities to the VU song of the same name. Even the choppy little stalled out guitar parts right before the verses begin seem to be an intentional homage to the velvets.

Not to mention VU having already covered whole Heroin topic.

blah blah,

It is very funny to hear it in that birth control commercial.
posted by JBennett at 7:51 AM on February 11, 2005


Has Sixpence None the Richer made a career out of taking decent, light pop songs and dumping a shitload of syrup on them ("Don't Dream it's Over", "Dancing Queen", "There She Goes")? Man, that is nice work if you can get it. I guess no one told them the rule that if you're going to cover a pop song, you should at least reinterpret it in different or original way (Dino Jr.'s death metal chorus in the Cure's "Just Like Heaven"), rather than to just do it straight.
posted by psmealey at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2005


jscalzi: [Sir Paul McCartney] added it was "pretty obvious" that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was inspired by LSD, and other songs made "subtle hints" about narcotics.

BBC
posted by nequalsone at 8:30 AM on February 11, 2005


It is very funny to hear it in that birth control commercial.

Lots of great examples of that sort of thing here.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:40 AM on February 11, 2005


That said, I don't think I need a reunion or comeback a la "Second Coming."

I kind of like Second Coming.
posted by fshgrl at 8:46 AM on February 11, 2005


The next thing I knew I'd lost my job, my girlfriend, my apartment and had sold my guitar to buy a copy of the album.

So OK, the album is that good? I've got "There She Goes" on "Poptopia: Power Pop Classics of the '80s" and always marveled at the three-minute perfection - though I never would have guessed the heroin angle. Always thought, "If the album's as good as the single, I gotta pick it up" - but never did.
posted by kgasmart at 8:53 AM on February 11, 2005


I kind of like Second Coming.

I thought "Breaking Into Heaven" and especially "Love Spreads" rocked.
posted by kgasmart at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2005


I just can't give this band too much credit considering the similarities to the VU song of the same name

I hate to nitpick, but for accuracy's sake, the name of the Velvet's song is "There She Goes Again" (big difference, I know). FWIW, this is always in the ear of the beholder, but to me that guitar riff in the La's song just shimmers in a way I don't often associate with the Velvets, but more the Hollies and the Byrds. It really is a perfect pop song.

On preview, kga, yeah the album is that good ("Way Out" and "Timeless Melody" are also excellent songs amonth others). I wouldn't be terribly interested in hearing Mavers's stuff now, as the Shins are the current experts in whatever genre this is.
posted by psmealey at 8:58 AM on February 11, 2005


I kind of like Second Coming.

"Begging You" rules.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:00 AM on February 11, 2005


2:44. That's perfect.
posted by petebest at 9:32 AM on February 11, 2005


Nequalsone:

"Young Julian inspired several Beatles compositions as a child. He made a drawing of a classmate and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds evolved."

Also BBC.

Also, John Lennon himself, from the 1980 Playboy Interview:

"My son Julian came in one day with a picture he painted about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' Simple. The images were from 'Alice in Wonderland.' It was Alice in the boat. She is buying an egg and it turns into Humpty Dumpty. The woman serving in the shop turns into a sheep and the next minute they are rowing in a rowing boat somewhere and I was visualizing that. There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me... a 'girl with kaleidoscope eyes' who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn't met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be 'Yoko in the Sky with Diamonds.' It was purely unconscious that it came out to be LSD. Until somebody pointed it out, I never even thought it, I mean, who would ever bother to look at initials of a title? It's NOT an acid song."

Figure Lennon might know, seeing he wrote it and all.
posted by jscalzi at 9:39 AM on February 11, 2005


Doohickie: Listen to the mp3 in the first link. I, like you, had no idea who The La's were, but upon listening to the song, it's clearly one of those songs that you have probably heard in commercials, on TV shows, etc., and never knew (or cared) who played it.

So what is brown eyed girl about?
posted by Bugbread at 10:23 AM on February 11, 2005


jscalzi: uh huh. and alice in wonderland was only inspired by a little girl named alice, not caroll's opium use. as far as i know, he denied that the title of the song was consciously meant to refer to LSD, but no more than that. i'll take john's word at face value that it was unconscious, but that's often how these things work, isn't it? its not like he had to sit down and say "let me write a song about LSD. i'll make the initials of the title spell LSD. good. OK. next. now let's think of some trippy images. pumpkin butter in the sky? no, no marmelade skies!"
posted by nequalsone at 10:52 AM on February 11, 2005


So what is brown eyed girl about?
posted by bugbread at 10:23 AM PST on February 11


Don't ask!
posted by nequalsone at 10:53 AM on February 11, 2005


Now I'm doubly curious: I've reread the lyrics to Brown Eyed Girl and Rusholme Ruffians, and I can't find any secondary meanings. Someone please explain, 'cause I'd hate for this to be my first AskMe question, but googling is failing me and the question is burning me up.
posted by Bugbread at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2005


"as far as i know, he denied that the title of the song was consciously meant to refer to LSD, but no more than that."

Yeah, I guess the part where Lennon says "It's NOT an acid song" isn't particularly relevant.

Look, if we're saying the dude wouldn't have written it without some drug use in his history, that's one thing; it's pretty clearly from someone who's been in an altered state. It's quite another to say it's specifically about drug use (and even more specifically, about LSD).

Bugbread: Entertain the notion it's about a brown-eyed girl. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
posted by jscalzi at 12:23 PM on February 11, 2005


Jscalzi: Agreed on the LSD issue. It seems like it was clearly, and heavily, influenced by LSD, but it is not about LSD, and the name is coincidental. I suspect that if Terrence McKenna just tried to draw a simple picture of two puppies, they would probably end up having rainbow beams instead of hair and be ridden by aliens. It wouldn't be a painting about or even consciously inspired by hallucinogens, but unconciously, I don't think the two could be divorced. But nobody can know that for sure, as none of us are Terrence, and for Terrence it would be unconscious and unintended. So it is with Lennon. And if the name of the painting was "Dalmation Meets Terrier", and Terrence said, "It's because I had a Terrier, and then I bought a Dalmation, and this is when they met", I'd believe him, even if the acronym happened to be DMT.

And I've tried picturing "brown eyed girl" as an anus (oh, c'mon, you know if the words "brown" and "eye" go together it's the obvious choice), but the lyrics don't work. That's why I'm curious: neither drugs nor anal sex have offered any good leads.
posted by Bugbread at 12:50 PM on February 11, 2005


I agree.
posted by breezeway at 1:13 PM on February 11, 2005


I was just kidding about Brown-Eyed Girl. I did hear that it was originally "Brown-Skinned Girl," but considered too "racy."

I like the way bugbread put it because a lot of art has meaning on multiple levels, not all of them intentional. I don't think John Lennon saying "its not an acid song" necessarily means its not an acid song. Its not a song overtly about LSD, but its a song about a trip to a magical land ("Where rocking horse people eat marshmellow pies") inspired by Alice in Wonderland, which is a book about drug-induced altered perceptions, dreams, trips... Obviously, Alice is about other things too, like language and rabbits.
posted by nequalsone at 2:04 PM on February 11, 2005


Heroin, huh? Wow.

I'd only heard the Sixpence None the Richer version before, and they brought a nice pop sensibility to it. I'm glad I've heard the original now.
posted by alumshubby at 5:51 PM on February 11, 2005


According to some huge lyrics site (as far as I can tell, these are the actual lyrics):

There she goes again
Racing thru' my brain
And I just can't contain
This feelin' that remains
There she blows
There she blows again
Pulsing thru' my vein
And I just can't contain
This feelin' that remains
There she goes, there she goes again
She calls my name, pulls my train
No-one else could heal my pain
And I just can't contain
This feelin' that remains
There she goes
There she goes again
Chasing down my lane
And I just can't contain
This feelin' that remains


Sure, it could just be about a girl, but it sure sounds like a metaphor for smack to me. That would be keeping with a long musical tradition.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:23 PM on February 11, 2005


Oh, the lyrics were in the first link ...
posted by krinklyfig at 7:28 PM on February 11, 2005


Thanks for the post as I never made that heroin connection either. Then again, I never realized the Beatles "Got To Get You Into My Life" was about marijuana until Paul pointed it out. It's a totally different song to me now.

Although Paul now saying that Blackbird was actually about Rosa Parks seems a bit of a stretch. .
posted by gfrobe at 2:13 AM on February 12, 2005


I've also heard that Brown Eyed Girl was originally Brown Skinned Girl. Can't verify that though. Bugbread- If it's a good anal sex song your looking for, may I recommend Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey".
posted by reidfleming at 12:06 PM on February 12, 2005


Did he keep the copyright?
posted by IndigoJones at 12:20 PM on February 12, 2005


It's a bonus track only available on later pressings.

The 6pntr version was released as a single in the UK on the back of 'Kiss Me' and did reasonable business, with all the heroin rumours intact in the snarky papers. It was actually fairly monotone, but had a good acoustic version their earlier track as a b-side.

Not to be confused with REM's There She Goes Again from 'Dead Letter Office'
posted by feelinglistless at 5:39 AM on February 13, 2005


wait, aren't the Las and the VU songs entirely different songs?
posted by nequalsone at 6:59 AM on February 14, 2005


They sure are.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2005


Who's version is the original? The La's or the Boo Radley's? Love that song...
posted by SilverTab at 4:38 PM on February 26, 2005


The Las' version is the original. The Boo Radleys' one is pretty good, though.
posted by litlnemo at 6:46 PM on February 26, 2005


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