Just like that. Mac Arthur Park: the song written in 1968 by Jimmy Webb has been defined the worst song ever written. It was first recorded by Richard Harris the same year. Although critics and some of my colleagues have tried to read high metaphors in the text, the truth is that there was nothing implied or misunderstood to see.

No metaphor

Love, in this song, is described by Webb as a cake left out of the window in the rain. This is clearly a lost and unrequited love. Even the floral metaphors, not really innovative, among the critics were not very successful. But the author, with a sort of purity, declared that he himself had no intention of astonishing or giving a hidden psychedelic meaning. The cake, the flowers were what he saw in the park, and then the one he had decrypted.

The Park

But let us understand the history of the place that inspired Webb. MacArthur is a park dating back to the late 19th century in the Westlake district of Los Angeles, California. At the beginning of the 1940s, it was renamed after General Douglas MacArthur and later credited as the historical cultural monument of Los Angeles’s No. 100. Despite the romanticism in the song Mac Arthur Park, in fact since the mid-1980s the park is more famous, unfortunately, for drug trafficking, prostitution and settlement gives some gangs. Drownings, killings and 30 murders in 1990 alone.

Myth in the music

If, therefore, the place itself has been a victim of degradation. But  we still have an excellent method to save it, at least in our imagination: music.  So the song was interpreted by many artists but there is no doubt that the version of Donna Summer is the one that brought him to the pinnacle of his glory.

The composition

If lyrics may sound a bit trivial, its musical structure is worthy of interest. It takes place in 4 precise time frames. An introduction and half-time opening section called “In the Park” is built around the piano and harpsichord, with the addition of horns and orchestra. This arrangement accompanies the main verses and choirs of the song.

Followed by a slow rhythm and a quiet section, called “After the Loves of My Life”.
Then a quick cheerful, called drum and percussion drums, punctuated by horn riffs.

A mid-time resumption of the first section ends with the final choirs and climax.

Nearly a script for a movie