Geddy Lee’s Parapraxis

When Frank Sinatra recorded “Ol’ Mac Donald” for his Swingin’ Session!!! album in 1960, he made a small transposition of the “e” and the “o” in the last refrain. Instead of singing “e-i-E-i-o,” he sang “e-i-O-i-o.” (Yes, that Ol’ Mac Donald.)

it was a studio recording, so you’d think he might have recorded the line over, but maybe he just liked the way it sounded. Semantically, they’re both the same. You can hardly make a case that he messed up the meaning of “e-i-e-i-o” by singing “e-i-o-i-o” if even Ol’ Mac Donald’s farm animals couldn’t tell you what “e-i-e-i-o” is supposed to mean.

Frank’s slip of the tongue probably isn’t a parapraxis. That’s when a slip is more than just a slip. It’s a Freudian slip.

And maybe that’s what we have when Geddy sings “evelate” at the end of “Vital Signs” instead of “elevate.” (“Everybody got to elevate from the norm”) In this case, we at least know what the intended line was supposed to mean. Neil in an interview says the piece touches on our ambiguous relationship with technology (“Everybody got mixed feelings / About the function and the form”), and he asks whether we impose our form on our machines or whether the form of our machines is subject to the same unknowable laws that we ourselves our. That is, we have no more control over the form of the machines we create than we have over the creation of our own form.

'Evelating' from the norm?

That sounds pretty heavy, but I think Geddy was just tired when he sang the piece. It was the last piece written and recorded for Moving Pictures, after all, and was purposely written spontaneously.

And, in any case, doesn’t Geddy sing just a few lines earlier that “a tired mind is a shape-shifter?”

Sounds like as good an explanation as one could ask for.

What do you think ‘evelate’ means?


More This and That: an evolving collection of Rush randomness

~ by rvkeeper on March 3, 2011.

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