What I’m Listening To (Hey Mister, that’s me up on the Jukebox)

“Hey Mister that’s me up on the juke box” is on James Taylor’s third album, “Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon”. I have always thought it is the best track on the album. James has a reputation as a soft rock crooner (You’ve Got a Friend) but his earlier stuff , like this one, could have an edge to it, e.g ….”I need your golden gated cities like a hole in the head”…..or these lines …”Let the doctor and the lawyer do as much as they can / let the springtime begin/ let the boy become a man”.

The musical structure of the song also has an unsettling quality to it. It starts with the chorus , followed by a verse , followed by another chorus , then a second verse . But the second verse has a completely different rhyme scheme and chord structure to the first, and it’s followed by a bridge, then the chorus then a coda to end the song. So the song has five distinct lyrical and musical sections.

Chorus (A), Verse 1 (B), Chorus, Verse 2 (C), Bridge (D), Chorus, Coda (E).

Combined with the elusive, conversational tone of the lyric this makes the song one to return to, again and again….there’s more to James than that aw shucks persona!

(It’s also an example of metasongwriting in the songwriter acknowledges that he’s in a song).

2 thoughts on “What I’m Listening To (Hey Mister, that’s me up on the Jukebox)

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