Papillon is an indie rock song by Rilo Kiley, composed by Blake Sennett and Jenny Lewis. It was first released as track 1 on the Sandbox Sessions 05/02/98 demo in 1998, but a more properly produced version was included on the Rilo Kiley demo album in 1999. It's track 4 on the first pressing and track 2 on the second and track 2 on The Initial Friend EP. Despite being on every one of their early albums, this song was rarely played live. The song, a duet between Jenny and Blake, is named after the 1973 Steve McQueen film Papillon, and the lyrics are framed by references to the movie. The bulk of the song is about Blake's frustrating relationship with Morgan Nagler.
I've never been able to find a contribution breakdown for this song, but Jenny and Blake both sing vocals, Blake most likely plays guitar, Dave Rock most likely played drums, and Pierre de Reeder probably played bass. Keyboards were probably played by Jenny or Pierre.
I heard this song shortly after becoming a fan of the band in the early 2000s, either from finding it on Kazaa or given to me by a friend, and it quickly became a favorite. I like the song's lo-fi synthesizer intro with the muted giggling. Jenny's vocals have a wonderful childlike quality to them which is fitting for a youth relationship. I really relate to the lyrics having had a few girlfriends like how Morgan is described, e.g., "You're the most exhausting girl I ever knew," and, "I'll let you get back to your phone," yet still being infatuated. Although, my favorite line from the song is, "Oh yeah / Okay / Okay wait / Oh my God, Blake! / That's what she said / in bed."
Papillon busted free Though it took him 'til he was sixty-three And nobody cared about the God-damned inquiry And Daga stayed on the farm Though he found no cause for alarm It was a hell of a swim, but he still had two good arms Gorillas are for eating Don't you know it's true I fell in love with you And don't you think it's sad 'Cause here we both stand 'Midst the wreckage of our past And I'll spend the day with you We'll meet at your house after two You're the most exhausting girl I ever knew And when you let me leave I'll go I'll let you get back to your phone You mean well, Mel, but you're all talk and no show Pick you lips 'til they're bleeding Don't you know I fell The lair of the queer devil Is deeper than you thought The computer's still on And the Web page is alt.com And I hope you'll come back soon And I feel like a million buck today, a million bucks today 'Cause I know it can only go up from here 'Cause she says it's so much better after all After all we been through I can't get my mind off of you It's a hell of a way to spend the whole day through And you left your name on the bar You hopped your little brown car You moved in with Gramps and you got yourself a job And the room is slowly sinking But I can play guitar And Morgan you're so far Away from me tonight And I'll try to make it right By putting you in this here song Oh yeah Okay Okay wait Oh my God, Blake! That's what she said In bed Papillon busted free We watched him at 4:53 And I'm glad you chose to spend the night with me
- youtube.com/watch?v=BgpvQnxaAdM - Album version.
- youtube.com/watch?v=e4msU1coiVs - Sandbox Sessions version.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Initial_Friend - Wikipedia page for the Rilo Kiley demo.