Rock and roll rhetoric: Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)

“Come up and see me, make me smile

Or do what you want, run on wild.
There’s nothing left, all gone and run away”

Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) (Steve Harley), Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel

Steve Harley is hugely under-rated as a songwriter. Also as a performer: his sneering snarl on this song (if maybe not in the videos) is just delicious.

The rhetoric here is hard to write … it’s all about the pause. The song has a wonderful, very-nearly-but-not-quite-too-long pause at the end of each chorus.

A pause is a powerful device for tweaking tension or letting the import of what’s just been said sink in. In poetry (and, by extension in song-writing, I guess), it’s termed caesura.

I’ve failed to find the correct rhetorical term. Aposiopesis is a special kind of open-ended pause, more of a break-off for emotional effect or threat: “Tidy you room, or else …”

Anyhow, three videos. This first is fairly straight and true to the recording, possibly even mimed (surely not)…

This next is a singalong karaoke version featuring a very dapper Mr Harley pulling at the pauses …

And a third, just cos I found it …


All from the 1975 album, The Best Years of Our Lives.


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