Mysterious monkeys are making more appearances in music. Are they merely metaphorical? The latest monkey allusion comes in the great opening track of the Low album The Great Destroyer — titled, simply enough, “Monkey.” The somewhat ominous chorus proclaims, “Tonight, you will be mine. Tonight, the monkey dies.”
So is someone about to commit primate sacrifice in order to achieve a romantic conquest? Poor monkey. Who knows what these guys from Duluth, Minnesota, are up to, but they seem like a pretty wholesome bunch, so let’s assume this tale of monkey death isn’t based on personal experience.
The Low song follows Gillian Welch’s “One Monkey,” from the 2003 Soul Journey album, in which she engimatically declared, “One monkey don’t stop the show…” (No, I suppose not.) “…so get on board.” This particular monkey has something to do with a freight train.
Of course, Peter Gabriel had a hit with “Shock the Monkey,” though I’m not sure that song’s in the same spirit as these. (And I prefer the novelty of the song’s German version, “Shock den Affen.”)
More appropriate is the Beatles’ “Everything’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” No one seems to be hiding their monkeys these days, though.