New Morning

This, the title song of the album, is superficially joyous throughout, but contains – apparently unknown to the narrator – indications that happiness is temporary.

The narrator’s exultation comes across in a series of positive images – both natural and artificial. These include the sounds of the rooster and the car, the rabbit, water under a bridge, the sun, the groundhog, the woman’s smile and the blue sky. It’s perhaps significant that all but the last involve activity of some sort. The rooster is crowing, the car is approaching, the sun’s shining, the rabbit running, the water flowing, and so on.

However each of these joyous images contains within it the seeds of unhappiness. The rooster’s crowing can be associated with betrayal, the rabbit running across the road is in danger from the car. The sky and the bridge are both introduced with the word ‘underneath’ which draws attention to a contrast: the water is in darkness whereas only the sky is bright – ‘blue’. Flowing water would have positive connotations, but we’re told the water ‘flowed’; from the past tense of the verb it seems that it has dried up.  The groundghog in America traditionally symbolises a long winter. Neither blue skies nor smiles tend to last for long. The car is coming into fashion (‘style’) but fashions are short-lived. The title itself, while referring to a time of renewal, implies that there has been a time of unhappiness.

The narrator does seem dimly aware of the unreality of what he’s taking the sights and sounds to represent when he refers to his ‘dreams’ coming true. And in ‘the night passed away so quickly/It always does when you’re with me’ the ‘passed away’ and the ‘when’ of  ‘when you’re with me’ can be taken as hints of the impermanence of their togetherness. It seems ironic when the narrator declares that he’s ‘So happy just to be alive’ because his happiness in fact seems to depend on more than just being alive; it seems to depend on the woman’s presence.

Even though the narrator declares his happiness, there is some doubt whether that happiness is shared by the woman. Three verses begin with a question ‘Can’t you hear…?’ whereas one might have expected ‘Listen to…’  The doubt implicit in the questions leads one to suspect that the woman, more realistic, is not as overwhelmed with joy as the narrator.

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