All Her Favourite Fruit

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Here’s a particularly fine song lyric from Californian 80s indie band Camper Van Beethoven, off of their 1989 disc Key Lime Pie. The song is a folky number in march time with violin, and David Lowery’s singing is exquisitely pained and raw. Following this, they released no new material until 2004.

All Her Favorite Fruit

By David Lowery

I drive alone, home from work
And I always think of her
Well late at night I call her
But I never say a word

And I can see her squeeze the phone
between her chin and shoulder
And I can almost smell her breath
faint with a sweet scent of decay

She serves him mashed potatoes
And she serves him peppered steak, with corn
Pulls her dress up over her head
Lets it fall to the floor

And does she ever whisper in his ear
all her favorite fruit?
And all the most exotic
places they are cultivated?

And I’d like to take her there,
rather than this train
And if I were a civil servant,
I’d have a place in the colonies

We’d play croquet behind white-washed walls
and drink our tea at four
Within interventions
distance of the embassy

The midday air grows thicker with the heat
And drifts towards the line of trees
Where negroes blink their eyes,
they sink into siesta

And we are rotting like a fruit
underneath a rusting roof
We dream our dreams
and sing our songs of love, fecundity

Of life and love
Of life and love
Of life and love

Update 25 April ’08: I really like the way he reverses “sweet with a faint scent” and gets “her breath, faint with a sweet scent of decay”.

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4 thoughts on “All Her Favourite Fruit

  1. While Camper released no new material 89-2004, each individual band member did. David Lowry with Cracker, Jonathan Segel solo and with Hieronymous Firebrain, Victor Krummenacher solo and with Monks of Doom. All worth checking out, as is David Immergluck’s pre-Camper work with The Ophelias. It’s a very prolific band family tree.

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  2. I was a huge CVB fan in high school and was fortunate to see them a few times in concert. The Monks of Doom was by far the greatest product to spin out of CVB – much more so than Cracker in my opinion. Listening to CVB in “New Roman Times” is like getting re-acquainted with an old friend, only to find that thankfully they haven’t changed a bit.

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  3. “And does she ever whisper in his ear
    all her favorite fruit?
    And all the most exotic
    places they are cultivated?

    And I’d like to take her there,
    rather than this train”

    Embarrassingly, the above lyrical image has consistently made me well up in tears since the first time I heard the line years ago.

    The whole song has such a romantic, bittersweet ache, but this line (the narrator imagining his lover’s [obligatory?] intimacies with her husband) just strikes a chord with me.

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  4. It is a good song! Though harassing her every night on the phone is pretty nasty. And I wonder how he gets from his car (verse 1) to a train (verse 5).

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