Holy shit. I was just in the store buying a bottle of dish washing liquid and a housewarming gift for some friends I’m visiting later (pot holder / oven mitt / dish towel set – so cute!) and they were playing Donna Summer’s extended disco dance mix of “MacArthur Park.” I almost lost my shit right in there the store, because that song is just insane. You know, it’s Donna’s version that goes on for, like, 20 minutes and just takes off on its own little journey? Hot damn, what a great fucking song.
When I was a kid, listening to Richard Harris’s overwrought, melodramatic version of this arguably enigmatic song, I thought the lyrics were meant to be taken literally, and I could not comprehend why the fuck someone would leave a fucking cake out in the rain. I mean, what the hell? It used to just kill me; wondering why the person singing had left what must have obviously been a very delicious cake (hence the degree of upset this act caused) out in the rain? And why would they “never have that recipe again”? What did it all mean, and why did it feel liek th world was ending every time he sang that line? Even back then, I was a big fan of cake, so this song never failed to cause me no small amount of emotional distress. Because anyone can see that cake left out in the rain is bad news.
Of course, now that I’ve lived life for a few decades and had the opportunity to have my heart stomped on and ground into tiny pieces of detritus, I understand that the lyrics to “MacArthur Park” are a metaphor for tragically lost love. It’s a sad song, for sure. And, you know what? I would still rather have the cake.