The plucked acoustic strings throughout the song serve as metaphor for his own heavy heartstrings. He turns down the possibilities of love as he's haunted by his visions, unable to move beyond them. When he does awake, it's hopeless. "Then again you'll disappear/my morning put to shame." Singing in a haze, or in the tone of a lullaby, he fears everyday will be unfulfilling, just as the last. Meanwhile, his lament for the object of his desire consumes him.
It's no surprise this feel-bad theme is repeated in the appropriately-titled "Melancholia" (a bonus track from the album's reissue). The imagery couldn't be clearer or more succinct when Daltrey and Townshend deliver a call-and-response vocal of one line in particular. Townshend taunts Daltrey in a sing-song voice posing as life itself, singing, "The sun is shining". Daltrey, the embodiment of depression, screams out in response his tortured realization, "but not for me!"
If MacDonald was critical of Townshend's acid phase for not producing hits, he should have listened to some of these deeper cuts for content. Unfortunately not every album had the ability to emerge from Tommy's shadow, but the Who's sound and focus always remained intact.
Fri/1, 7:30pm, $37.50–$123.25 Oracle Arena 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl.