I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Round 2




  • The last song peters out just as Jack is seeing himself in the mirror, which leads to the invention of Lloyd.
  • On the first beat of the new track, Jack is starting to imagine more than just his own reflection. He’s starting to imagine what he wants, which is sex, booze, and someone to tell him everything he wants to hear.
  • “I want you” – On “want” we get the first image below. And on “you” we get the second. This is one of my favourite instances of synchronicities, because it just feels like we’ve passed through a revolving door: Wendy becomes Hallorann, Jack becomes Lloyd. The tonal shift in these songs helps this effect a lot, but just the mirrorform on its own has that feeling. (And the film itself is about to put us through three different looking glasses: Jack is talking to a ghost like he’s always known him, Hallorann is about to receive a massive shine from thousands of kilometres away, and another ghost is about to reveal a power we didn’t know Overlook ghosts have: the ability to wound.)
  • Also, when Hallorann appears, there’s a bottle of Jack Daniels in his minibar to the right, beneath his radio, and when Lloyd appears, there’s all kinds of booze.
  • In light of my theory that the hotel always wanted to kill Hallorann the most, this triangle of desire is also neat. Lloyd wants Hallorann, Jack wants booze (and Lloyd to reflect him), and Hallorann wants to save the Torrances from the hotel.
  • Also, Hallorann is failing here to connect with anyone about the shine he received. I think this sequence mirrors well over Jack talking to Lloyd because it helps underscore a) just how much Jack really isn’t connecting with Lloyd the way he’d like to imagine he is, and b) Lloyd’s appearance here acts like a buffer against Hallorann’s attempt at connection. And by blocking Hallorann, he’s forcing him to have to come himself. Because he wants Hallorann. So bad.
  • Pretty much every beat and tone shift in this section is pure synchronistic glory, but I especially love how, on this high-hat crash, Jack is spinning the 237 key fob through the air. Round 1 and 3 cut to a different shot on this sound, round 1 being backward Wendy stuck in the bathroom window, and round 3 cutting to a storeroom-trapped Jack who’s about to say “Wendy? You’re not going anywhere!” So in all three instances there’s a sense of someone being trapped.
  • Also, all the “I want you so bad” refrains go so sweetly with this image of mirror Jack being drawn inexorably into 237, to pursue his decaying lady love. Same with Jack’s “White man’s burden” refrain, with its obvious link to conquest. Not to mention how this song relates to famine.
  • As discussed in round one, Lennon wrote this for Yoko, and said that a later moment in the song was an expression of feeling like he was drowning in Ono’s awesome love. The end of the song gets rather tempestuous, and I’ve likened its quality to that of a flood scene. Well, here, Jack is getting that drink he sold his soul for. And in a moment, he’ll be dealing with a rather wet woman from the wet bath.
  • I’ll spare you unnecessary visions of the 237 ghost’s rotting form, but I have to say that this sequence is hysterically funny (possibly only true if you’re a crazy person who’s been staring at the same movie for nine months on constant repeat). The slow zoom outs on mirror Danny’s drooling, shaking shining face are another highlight.
  • Also, we’ve got more “I want you”s here, just as Jack is saying, “I like you, Lloyd. I’ve always liked you.”
  • On another high-hat clang Jack takes his first drink, and gets really into corpse ghost.
  • “She’s so…heavy!” – This line starts immediately after the last shot, and this shot is for “heavy”. So the ghost transforms into her younger self in the pregnant pause between lyrics. And you’ll recall that the last time (round 1) we heard this was when backward Danny was finishing writing out REDRUM, so we’ve got the RUM-Jack Daniels connection there.
  • But also, you could read this drink as the hotel murdering a part of Jack. In my Julius Caesar crossover analysis, I liken this moment to the assassination of Caesar. And murder, like redrum, is heavy, man.
  • There’s that lull in the music, which picks back up into a smoother, more chilled out sequence, which coincides with Jack tapping his glass for more bourbon. The lull corresponded to Lloyd asking Jack how things are going to which Jack replies, “Things could be better, Lloyd. Things could be a whole lot better.” Lloyd: I hope it’s nothing serious.” Jack: “No.” Taps glass. “Nothing serious.” The pick up in the music seems to signal Jack’s post-drink perk up which lasts for much of the remainder, where he really opens up. This extended instrumental plays over a lot of Jack’s hot nonsense, which makes me wonder if that’s the comment. Like, lyrically, the song bears a resemblance to the All Work pages. It’s the same two phrases over and over. It’s masturbatory, like Jack’s (self-exonerating) interpretation of his own major character flaws. And it also (as many of the song’s fans have observed) conveys a powerful sense of obsession, just as Jack feels for the hotel and his “work”. Round 1 backward Danny will spend much of this track saying and writing REDRUM. Round 3 Hallorann will be droning on about the larder’s contents.
  • “She’s so…heavy!” – This is for the “she’s so” and the “heavy” follows the ghost back into the tub.
  • A refrain of “she’s so heavy!” occurs here, and Jack is saying of Wendy, “That bitch! As long as I live, she’ll never let me forget what happened!”
  • Lennon’s “YEEEEEAAAAAHHH”, which he said was like drowning in Yoko’s love, happens here, for about half of the door pushing moment. The last instance of this (round 1) paired with a poster commemorating the 1912 Denver flood, and here Jack is making a “no big deal” analysis of breaking his two-year-old son’s arm. “A few extra foot pounds of energy, per second, per second.” But there are a few apocalyptic/flood images in this room that we’ve just passed. First there’s a painting of a kingfisher in the lesson key, and kingfishers are famous for having their nests in burrows alongside rivers, resulting in flooding river waters killing a good deal of the infants. There’s also a likely Vesuvius painting in the room, which famously blew lava and heat waves all over the few thousand people in the region, wiping them all out. And then there’s the corpse ghost, soaking from her tub-based existence.
  • Right on the final “She’s so” Wendy appears with the bat. But there’s no “heavy” here.
  • In keeping with the intense flood imagery from the first round, this time we’ve got a sense of prophecy (Jack says “Which room was it?” and through the mirrorform the image of 237 appears during a Danny-shine), we’ve got Hallorann’s shine-receiver face, playing over the Channel 10 Miami Newswatch report which opens with a bevy of nautical imagery, and finally, while Glenn Rinker is detailing the awesome winter storms that are shutting down civilization by his description, we’ve got that graphic in the background of a trident (Neptune) coming out of a rainbow (Noah’s Ark) above a hurricane (a hurricane). I don’t know, maybe that graphic was typical of the era, but that weird sideways rainbow/hurricane just jumps out at me. Oh, also, Hallorann’s lamps have fish engravings on them. So that seems like a thing. And the painting Danny is seeing inside 237 here is Dog, Boy, and St. John River, a piece concerned with an ominous body of water.
  • It’s hard to say if this is incidental, but it’s worth pointing out: being the centre of the film, and only 1:50 long, Hallorann’s bedroom sequence may be the only location in the film to only feature one Abbey Road song playing overtop, being this one. This would seem especially apt given that Danny is making a distress call to him, and given that the antagonist wanted Hallorann dead the most.
  • This scene also features the most easily identifiable album cover in the film (out of 2), being Steeleye Span’s Commoners Crown.
  • Also, as elsewhere discussed, there’s some suggestion in this middle moment, this hinge upon which the mirrorform inverts, that this is something of an alternative starting place for understanding the story. What Redrum Road does is give you a context through which to watch the entire mirrorform, and understand both sides, both directions, as independent halves. But if we look at Abbey Road through the context of this “middle-beginning/middle-end”, the song that utterly dominates this sequence is I Want You (She’s So Heavy). The last time John used the Beatles as a conduit to express the love that would destroy the family. Several of the songs on Abbey Road feel tailor made for The Shining–the madcap, referential murder-ballad of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, the longing for home (and sleep) in Golden Slumbers, the eternal judgment of Carry That Weight–but perhaps none is more relative to Kubrick’s interpretation of King’s masterpiece than I Want You (She’s So Heavy). A song of annihilation, a song of drowning in a flood, a song of vanity, and a song of pure, simplistic obsession. Kubrick couldn’t have controlled where the middle moment was on Abbey Road, but perhaps he understood that this was also a fine place to start in order to understand the album.
  • One last thing on that: this is somewhat similar to the way the film’s soundtrack features no overlap of songs in the mirrorform. The closest thing to that happening is that two different Penderecki tracks play over each other, and only during the one short passage (Danny’s pre-Overlook bathroom chat with Tony). But if you lay out all the film’s music, all the 1930s music, the heartbeat sound, and the majority of the Penderecki (which is a lot) occurs in the second half. Dies Irae, Rocky Mountains, Lontano, and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta are all strictly in the first half.
  • Having passed the midpoint, we’re going to start seeing some familiar images for a little while, starting with this one, where we get another high hat crash, seeing the 237 fob. It’s moments like these that make me think I’ve nailed the positioning of the songs.

Click here to continue on to Redrum Road: Here Comes the Sun – Round 2