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Type: Journal article
Title: 'Loneliness is Such a Drag': Existential Psychedelia and Jimi Hendrix's 'The Burning of the Midnight Lamp'
Author: Carroll, M.
Citation: Musicology Australia, 2010; 32(2):161-183
Publisher: Musicological Society of Australia
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0814-5857
Statement of
Mark Carroll
Abstract: Jimi Hendrix's 'The Burning of the Midnight Lamp' is one of his lesser known and certainly more enigmatic songs. Its melancholic disposition stands in stark contrast to the otherwise unbridled optimism of 1967's so-called 'Summer of Love', during which time it was released. The current study argues that in its style and idea the song offers itself as an exemplar of existential psychedelia: that its preoccupation with the existential dilemma is best seen as a product of Hendrix's struggle to come to terms with the expectations placed upon him by the mid-1960s UK counterculture. After detailing the genesis of the song, the study highlights the ways in which the music accentuates the angst conveyed in the lyrics. It then situates the song within a more nuanced reading of psychedelia, its attendant values and preoccupations.
Rights: © 2010 Musicological Society of Australia
DOI: 10.1080/08145857.2010.518352
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