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The Divine Comedy “A Woman Of The World”

04/06/2011

“A Woman Of The World” is apparently based on Breakfast At Tiffany’s, one of thousands of movies I haven’t seen. This is entirely plausible, as the album it’s from is based on Histoire de ma vie, the autobiography of Giacomo Casanova. I haven’t read that either, but it’s on my list for when I’m old and immobile. Anyway, The Divine Comedy‘s Casanova is one of the only albums where I’ll shamelessly call every song a masterpiece. The story traces the rise, fall and desperate hope for redemption of a hollow playboy, cynically toying with every soul he encounters or observes until he faces his demons and then tries to calm his fears with some vapid clichés about the long sleep.

“A Woman Of The World” is the last stab at a high point for this character, watching a young girl from the sticks climb the social ladder in a big city and lusting after her in an almost obligatory way. Like every song on the album, the lyrics are sharp, Neil Hannon’s delivery makes them sparkle, the music is impeccably played and the arrangements are filled with pomp, yet perfectly economical. I’m partial to the opening chords that remind me of the theme from The Young And The Restless, which my mom watched when I was young. A bit of whistling in the intro and a great overblown climax are other pieces that make this song my favorite musical selection from this peerless pop album.

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