View Full Version : SOTW: Sprout And The Bean

arsonist samael
01-08-2011, 04:15 PM
This song, apart from being very catchy (I remember this, alongside Peach Plum Pear being the first one that got stuck in my head), also has a seeming cuteness and tweak to an untrained ear to Joanna's music (I think the official video has much to do with this). A number of my friends who can't really get into her love this song, thinking it's about butterflies, balloons and nice shiny things, however, upon closer inspection, it is deducible that this song has a very dark undercurrent.

How I see it, this song deals with death. It is a recurring topic in Joanna's music (off the top of my head, Cosmia being the best example). However, the narrator in this story, has a different reaction to it than the one in Cosmia. She is struck dumb. She has grown from looking innocently at the world from a point of a child (tadpoles holding that imagery here), to now facing this monstrous event that has shaken her to the core. And after the initial reaction of 'raving' for she understood the unavoidability of death, for she now knows it is a golden ring which cannot be broken, that we're all hurling towards it; (as a young beautiful hopeful sprout our destiny is to become a withered hard bean); she is now severely depressed - she's asking herself as to the point of getting out of bed, venturing outside, even eating. The 'are you interested' part conveys this amazingly well, I think.

This story could very well have to do with somebody dying prematurely, for after acknowledging everyone's journey in life towards death as a golden ring, a full circle, she also uses the imagery of a 'twisted string', something that can be bent, that is unpredictable, that can overlay itself at numerous points in the thread.

In the second verse, she directly talks to somebody who has gone away, that that is the cause of her heart-ache, and the mention of white coats allocated with danger, would suppose that she lost somebody due to illness.

A true Joanna classic which needs to be played live more, with possibly a fresh new arrangement. Now that would be something to see.


folderol and
01-09-2011, 10:07 PM
nice write-up, i had never thought of the lyrics that way before (in fact, i could never really make much of them) but your interpretation makes perfect sense especially since the song has this strange feeling of suspension and drowsiness.

the video introduced me to joanna. lovely, deceptively simple, abstract just like the song. and i agree, arsonist, that a new live arrangement would be something grand.

01-11-2011, 04:09 AM
This was the first Joanna song I heard and it made me love her. She sounded like some fairy-girl/Lisa Simpson and I just couldn't get enough her voice. Great interpretation, arsonist. The "cuteness" and childlike persona she takes on with her voice is really jarring against the darkness that weaves its way throughout the song. This song, I feel, was a precursor to the themes she explored in Ys, both lyrically and harp/composition-wise.

01-19-2011, 02:28 PM
I love that interpretation, arsonist. Thanks for posting the video - I hadn't seen it yet.

I think it's interesting that the video's set in a school classroom. Did anyone else plant bean sprouts in elementary school? We had several sets: one on the windowsill, one in the closet, one received water, one did not. The point was to demonstrate how life takes hold, and why it does or doesn't. Some beans remained dormant beans, while others flourished into little plants we probably destroyed with our clumsy 6 year old hands.

She's tapping into childish memory and point of view, I think, and especially the complex fantasy lands that children construct and regrettably leave upon "growing up." The shifts of perspective between the classroom and the outdoor eden signal this to me - especially since the chorus involves 3 Joannas. Which one is real? Or is that even an applicable question?