mercredi 2 octobre 2013

Literary psychoanalysis of Carly Bryant's song "on & on & on" (updated 26.02.2016)

See the text of the song at the end.

Photography by Peter Williams

Carly Bryant ( -, an awesome English singer songwriter living in Paris, seems interested in psychology and psychoanalysis; several of her songs describe various psychological characters and she right away talked of the "divan" in her first version of H.E.L.P. ( - Now, "on & on & on" (CD "a pocketful or rye") seems a genuine provocation to literary psychoanalysis.

Indeed, the song describes a whole collection of psychopathological symptoms: repetition ("it just goes on & on & on", "it's the same old thing"; we find it again in the song "circles": "I'm turning, spinning, rotating, in circles I walk."), addiction ("craving for another drink"), "taboo", hallucination ("there's an elephant in the room"), depression ("I just can't get up today"), guilt ("what am i doing wrong", "what will the neighbours say") and even, in the end, what could be a direct allusion to the method of psychoanalysis ("looking back, i think we know the reasons why this has to go").

Her hallucinated phobic object: an "elephant", is the most obvious symbol of the phallus that obsesses our young militant homophile up to persecution:

"there's an elephant in the room,
make him be gone".

This phallus (him rather than it) may be either that of man (likely the father, symbolizing society, law and order, or the clitoris (her own, her mother's, her "partner" 's, still with the same symbolism?).

Teaching that, on the emotional ground, children always do what their parents "ask" them, Françoise Dolto gave a shrewd explanation of homophilia: parents who would have liked a boy rather than a girl (Carly and her sister Jody have no brother) unconsciously breed her in such a way that she becomes a homophile.

Indeed, Carly's gallery of images ( shows that the issue of identity (first name and name) is essential to her; she seems eager to include all Bryants and Carlys into her family, as if hers was not enough. Indeed, the whole mankind is, or should be, a family and her becoming a star is going to realize this dream. Carly is not aware of the fact that the identity in stake is not the civilian or social one; her real issue is sexual identity.

But Dolto seems having neglected a strong factor for homophilia: repression of autosexuality. Then, precisely, Carly alludes to it:

"it's not me and it's not you
it's some kind of taboo".

Then, the common despise of autosexuality seems to be the rule in the Bryant family; Jody, Carly's sister, once used the term "wanker" as an insult on Carly's private FB page. Someone protested, Carly unfriended and blocked the supporter of autosexuality! It must be said that phobia of autosexuality is still unhealthier than homophobia. Indeed, the repression of the very lightly said infantile sexuality is the real responsible for both homophilia and homophobia.

So, "on & on & on" makes us think of the following hypothesis: after having endured repression of her autosexuality of infant, Carly likely met strong (paternal?) opposition to her homophilia, the whole thing having provoked neurosis (taboo, guilt, repetition), psychosis (hallucination, depression, persecution) and perversion (homophilia, and addiction that is also alluded to in H.E.L.P.).

Paranoia clearly appears in H.E.L.P.

"I get scared of people,
I get scared of money."

And unconscious hate is the consequence; she does not say "rotating" but very distinctly: "rota-HA-ting" (Circles)

Our wishes for Carly:

"looking back, i hope you'll find
the reasons why this has to stop."

"There's a clitoris in the room
Make it be YOURS ("gone" would be sexual mutilation!)"
And the same for the rest of your sexual parts...

So that, FOREVER, you can kill and bury not the "elephant" (poor elephant) but the "craving for another drink".

I hope this grain of rye (my two pence) will have answered the unformulated request of "on & on & on": calling for some psychoanalyst to interpret the song.

It remains that your rota-hating of "Circles" is perfectly justified; you are very right to hate a civilisation that imposes upon us aggressive commercial advertisements in our places of living.


on & on & on
wake in the morning, it's the same old thing,
kinda gets me, kinda gets me thinking
what's going on, what i'm doing wrong,
how do we move on from this.
shake off the craving for another drink
kinda gets me, kinda, kinda gets me thinking
what's going on, what am i doing wrong,
how do we move on.
but it just goes on and on and on,
yeah, it just goes on and on and on
yeah, it just goes on and on and on, and on,

it's not me and it's not you
it's some kind of taboo
there's an elephant in the room,
make him be gone.
i just can't get up today
oh, what will the neighbours say
can we go on this way, it just goes on and on.
it just goes on and on and on
it just goes on and on and on.
looking back, i think we know
the reasons why this has to go.

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