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by Hal David, 1957
In 1957, Hal David wrote the lyrics to a novelty love song, "Magic Moments." Sung by Perry Como, the single went #4 in the United States and #1 on the Billboards.
It was another swingy pop song in the tide of another cliché “golden oldies.”
A 2003 reviewer wrote,
"Combined with the quizzical bassoon, the whistling, and the ghastly white shadings of the Ray Charles Singers, these distant recollections must seem like occurrences on another planet to later generations."1
...But is this song a "distant" memory for the Gen-X and Millennial generation? Magic Moments still hold to this day and has been covered by a slew of avant-garde acts, including Amanda Learn and Erasure.
It was the Erasure cover that was featured for a bit in Clive Barker's 1995 film, Lord of Illusions, as background music for a harmless magician convention. It implies Magic Moments is a song about innocence and a family-friendly, if not, “suburban living” to Christian views of reality. While this may sound corny, the song and lyrics reveal more than the normative face value.
The song isn't so much about a picture-perfect romance, but about memory itself. The opposite of any memorable event is a tragic one. “Post-traumatic stress disorder” could be described as “a mental and behavioral disorder that can develop because of exposure to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, child abuse, domestic violence, or other threats on a person's life.” PTSD is in contrast to a memorable, healthy event, where the individual finds bliss in life and complete purpose, drawing a path forward. We can contrast PTSD with “magic moments” as opposites. Experiencing “magic moments” is about embracing the good aspects of immature (and often overlooked) experiences, or as some popular critics like to call it, "the coming-to-age story." (Honestly, this is quite a corny definition, considering a majority of people never "grow up" or find self-actualization).
Imagine every part of the story that Hal David writes in the lyrics:
“I'll never forget the moment we kissed, The night of the hay ride.”
This is the first time or best time, both kissed on the hay ride. I have been on a hay ride before, and the intimacy is powerful. It seems so innocent, but also, there is an awakening to something greater, or the concept of early arousal. Ideologically speaking, this awakening is related to self-discovery, and the critical thinking developed by a student understanding the world.
“The way that we hugged to try to keep warm While takin' a sleigh ride.”
Here, they are cuddling to keep warm during a supposed cold sleigh ride. Of course, being open about “we cuddled on the sleigh ride” would be too honest. Instead, it is hidden under the text. “We cuddled because it was cold out, and we had to generate warmth.” What else did they do when they cuddled? Made out? It is implied through logic, and hidden behind the surface.
“Time can't erase the memory of, These magic moments filled with love.”
Time is destiny. No one can erase the memory between two people. Even if Jean Baudrillard argues that "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place," the relationship between two bodies, in person and letters, happened. Girls who don’t like geeky boys who try to pursue them, argue, “Because I didn’t like him, our relationship is not validated.” However, that geeky boy’s love is validated as a real, justifiable passion. She might not see it, but the geeky boy attempts to persuade her otherwise as tangible evidence of that magic moment. Baudrillard realized that the mainstream media can create a twisted reality of what is happening, and can create “war” out of outrage porn, character assassination, and by having a monopoly over film. Whatever happens through destiny, truth is subjective to each partner, and cannot erase the objective reality of time. Every moment is filled with love, not “creeper” or “stalking” behavior out of “rejection.” There is no such thing as a rejection between two people, as relationships happen against “consent.”
This is what love is.
“The telephone call that tied up the line, For hours and hours.”
It’s the basic principle that humans love talking to one another. Two humans together can talk about their life, what happened in the day, political and philosophical issues, art in general, other people, and the compare and contrast nature of knowing the other side than of the self.
Furthermore, talk turns to action,
“The Saturday dance I got up the nerve, To send you some flowers.”
We can assume the context of Magic Moments is written from the perspective of a high school-aged person, as prom is a very important aspect of growth and romance. I remember in 2007, in high school, I sent flowers to Sophia, a Chinese girl who was attending an American school for English. She never responded, but what was important was my nerve to send her flowers. I see it as a personal “magic moment.”
“The way that we cheered whenever our team, Was scoring a touchdown.”
I remember when I went to my high school football match, I met a Mexican-Jewish girl, named Daniel. She talked to me that entire night and asked what were my plans during the weekend. Later, we started dating. At a time in America, the communal high school was responsible for a majority of relationships. I got to experience it before everyone got stuck on a computer.
A series of magic moments bounce further,
“The time that the floor fell out of my car When I put the clutch down.”
This might be a personal l story Hal David experienced, but describes an intimate and personal experience between two people. No one else knows about it but them.
“The penny arcade, the games that we played, The fun and the prizes…”
All of it. Everything is taken for granted.
“The Halloween hop when everyone came, In funny disguises…”
And here, at a “party,” everyone is wearing a mask. The self projects itself through an avatar and hides sincerity behind it. This line is likely an ode to Yukio Mishima’s Confession of a Mask, where sexuality is hidden in a society that cannot understand it. The Halloween disguises can help children project an adult avatar or desire they wish to become. This is likely why transhumanism, dressing up as a fashionable subculture, is popular among certain sects of American liberalism.
Recalling back to the chorus,
“Magic moments, when two hearts are carin', Magic moments, memories we've been sharing.”
And ending with,
“Magic moments filled with love.”
It doesn’t matter if it was bad. It’s still something that makes up a person’s desire for another.
We know this as a relationship. But how do with know exactly that this a relationship between a boy and a girl?
Keep in mind, that the song was covered by Amanda Lear and Erasure, where both singers admit to having interests in LGBTQ causes. Magic Moments is a nostalgic Baby Boomer trip for them and could be read in a different light about "the good days" of falling in love, and discovering one's unique sexuality.
The English variant of the song by Ronnie Hilton added extra lyrics to the song to make sure it’s about a heterosexual relationship:
"We walk in the park
Held hands in the dark
The love and the kisses,
That wonderful time
you said you’ll be mine
I like your misses.”
Interestingly enough, Hilton adds a little drama about another woman, "Mabel," which is clearly, a negative event between a couple.
“The terrible night we had such a fight, When you ask about Mabel…”
Still, with much irony, he translates this AS a "magic moment." Even if the man is fighting with his girlfriend over another mistress, it’s okay, because it’s about a devoted, heterosexual relationship. Hilton is breaking the rules here, and his revision is deliberately avoiding the theme of desire and love. It is the power of Hal David’s original lyrics that normative people cannot fathom. It MUST be heterosexual! It MUST appeal to high school jocks and their high school sweethearts out in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania!
The significant theme here is that Magic Moments cannot be written today. No one understands the charm of desire. Of course, at the same time, we are bombarded with unrealistic, fantasy-driven pop songs. Along with advertisements about finding “the one” on smartphone dating websites, about going to college for the “experience,” and feeling “accepted” at a corrupted workplace. Magic Moments, however, relates to an entire culture hanging on to the nostalgia of “the good life,” and finding the innocence which is projected through a perfect romance narrative, and in that narrative that they are experiencing as individuals.
Again, this concept isn't exclusive to the heterosexual relationship.
Quite possibly, Erasure singer Andy Bell loved this song in part because they, too, had a "magic moment" growing up with a boy he liked. Bell must have experienced the same little stories that Hal David is writing about. I would only further argue that these magic moments would develop into an identity politic, where these desires become so strong, that Bell wants to go back and experience each moment again in the present. With this newfound intellectualism, we can better understand the passions that awaken our desires towards the other person, and project into our creativity.
We are so connected to our upbringings, that we only want a Marcel-Proustian sip of the morning coffee, and to return to that innocent moment in time, so we can openly acknowledge and save the entire relationship. We are entering a time machine, In Search of Lost Time.
Life IS good, because of these magic moments we share with a lover. Like Jesus or any muse we adore, we dedicate a huge proportion of our life to mimesis. We are animals after all, and our biological behavior is rooted in mimicking other humans. But it is solely within the magic moments that we can dedicate love to someone or something, and create art around the muse. The institutions downplay the muse, simply because it would turn the public into enlightened, paternal intellects. The elites want a dumb, philistine class of hedonistic slaves. But a proper muse is against the whims of liberal consent. “It means something to me.”
The core of the LGBTQ cause should be about magic moments, orbiting about romance and classical Platonism. Any talk of liberalism or transhumanism as the center is an American attempt at brainwashing. Nobody is “gay” simply because they are ideologically liberal or transhumanist. Yet, so much of the American state assumes that any kind of queer sexuality MUST be about liberalism or transhumanism, AS the forefront kink. As the blue barkeeper elf in Alexandra Rushfield’s Santa Inc. would say to Mrs. Claus, “You rejecting me to reclaim your autonomy is so fucking hot!” …Isn’t that a cucked position?
The liberal elite have forgotten the meaning behind Magic Moments. If a 2003 critic is willing to call the work “distant,” that’s enough evidence to know that the later generations ignore desire.
Magic Moments presents the early Freudian development of "falling upon the yellow dandelion," which transforms us into an inward, kind, paternal being. We feel confused about life because we are told NOT to question those subconscious events. We only wanted our muse to love us back. It rings the same passion found in Mitski’s “Bury Me At Makeout Creek.”
Magic Moments is an anthem about queer identity. It celebrates a true, sincere love, taken for granted. It is only till we are older, do we realize that magic moments motivate us, as adults, to create art and purpose within it. It is the real, little moments with someone, no matter how legitimate it was, that define us with a unique personality, and with a strong sense of empathy and kindness.
We only want to return to those magic moments again. Hopefully, this time, create more of them as we linger towards death.