When music is combined with lyrics to provide a definite song a person has the opportunity to feel a great range of emotions which are evoked with the help of music, and the song can touch the heart with the help of words. Nevertheless, the lyrics for songs can differ greatly from the usual pieces of poetry, especially when it is an example of the psychedelic lyrics. “That’s It for the Other One” was written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir and first performed in 1968.
It was the period of the development of the psychedelic culture and hippie movement when the authors concentrated on their personal and specific vision of life and reality. That is why the content of “That’s It for the Other One” is rather difficult to present in the form of a certain plot. It is more significant to accentuate the vivid imagery and the philosophical meaning of the poem characteristic for the psychedelic songs.
“That’s It for the Other One” is divided into four parts which are titled as “Cryptical Envelopment”, “Quadlibet For Tender Feet”, “The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get”, and “We Leave the Castle”. In spite of the strict division of the poem in parts and providing definite titles for each part, it is possible to say that the titles do not reflect the meaning of the parts, but only accentuate the other points which are interesting for the authors.
They are the hooks which can attract the readers’ attention because of their independent idea, but they do not explain the content of the poem. The main title of the poem also does not explain the theme of the poem, but gives the certain message with determining the audience for the poem. Thus, it can be “the other one” or everybody.
The division of the poem into parts and the fact that it is the song influence the form of “That’s It for the Other One”. Thus, the form depends on the rhythm of the music according to which the lines and rhymes in them are organized. The rhythmic structure of the poem also bases on the repetitions of definite words which provide the assonance effects.
Therefore, the rhythm of the first part is based on the repetition of the phrase “he had to die” and the combination of such words as “learnin’”, “burnin’”, and “turnin’” (“That’s It for the Other One”). The rhythm of the second and third parts is organized with the help of the word “round” and its combination with the other words, “Comin’, comin’, comin’ around, comin’ around, in a circle” (“That’s It for the Other One”).
To analyze the meaning of “That’s It for the Other One”, it is necessary to pay more attention to the word choice in the poem. Thus, the first part draws the readers’ attention with the repetition of the phrase “he had to die”.
In this case the word “die” has a symbolic meaning and can emphasize the death of something old and its transformation in something newer and better. The lines “All the children learnin’, from books that they were burnin’, / Every leaf was turnin’, to watch him die, you know he had to die” accentuate the necessity and significance of such metamorphosis (“That’s It for the Other One”).
It is important to let the personality die in order to become clearer and more spiritually developed in the future. The psychedelic visions of the 1960-1970s depend on the religious aspects and concentrate on the notion of the universal unity. Every person can have a strong connection with the Universe that is why even “The summer sun looked down on him” (“That’s It for the Other One”).
The elements of the nature are given in the poem symbolically and allegorically, as living creatures. Thus, it is the sun and the sky which “was dark and faded” in the first part and the rose with “rainbow spirals round and round” in the third part (“That’s It for the Other One”). The symbol of a rainbow with its light nature and vivid colors is opposite to the images of the dark sky and “a cloudy day” (“That’s It for the Other One”).
This opposition has the spiritual character and meaningful for every individual. The feelings of hopes in this poem are controversial to the feelings of the personal failure. Thus, the rose as the symbol of life “left a smoking crater of my mind” and “I like to blow away” (“That’s It for the Other One”). Moreover, “escapin’ through the lily fields”, the narrator wants to use the bus to the “never-ever land” (“That’s It for the Other One”).
The forth part of the poem is organized in three lines where the readers has the opportunity to concentrate on the basic symbols of the poem which are the rainbow, the personal mind with its metamorphoses, and the necessity to “die”. The last line repeats the idea of the first part with emphasizing its metaphorical significance for the authors, “He had to die, oh, you know he had to die” (“That’s It for the Other One”).
“That’s It for the Other One” by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir is the symbolic picture of the authors’ vision of life and its meaning with references to such important ideas as the light and darkness, the escape, the power of mind, and the opportunity of “dying” and “coming around”.
That’s It for the Other One (The Annotated)1998. Web. <http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/other1.html>