Angelene

Album: Is This Desire? (1998)

Songfacts®:

  • Like the album's lead single, "A Perfect Day Elise," the opening track, "Angelene," takes inspiration from a short story by American author J.D. Salinger. "Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes" is about a lawyer named Arthur who discovers his wife has been unfaithful. Harvey's song, about a prostitute who longs for real love, is a much different story, but the two tales are connected by a bit of verse. Angelene introduces herself as "the prettiest mess you've ever seen," adding

    Rose is my color, and white
    Pretty mouth and green my eyes


    The lyric is taken from a poem Arthur wrote about his wife. In the 1951 short story, he tells his friend:

    "I start thinking about this goddam poem I sent her when we first started goin' around together. 'Rose my color is and white, Pretty mouth and green my eyes.' Christ, it's embarrassing – it used to remind me of her."
  • This was used in the 1998 movie Playing By Heart, starring Angelina Jolie and Dennis Quaid.
  • Harvey's longtime photographer/director Maria Mochnacz helmed the music video, which unfolded through a collection of photographs. Mochnacz explained to The Guardian: "The images were supposed to resemble passport photos, as though the machine had gone wrong. So the pictures were stained to distress the Polaroids. I sprinkled some with bleach or put them through in the washing machine. The video is just a series of slow dissolves through the images with only one small portion of real movement at the end with Polly mouthing the last line of the song."

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