Pet Sounds: James Au

Pet Sounds: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a piece of music or song. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

YesterdayOnceMoreAlbumIt was yesterday, if my memory did not fail me, yes, it was yesterday that I first heard the Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More”. I distinctly remember that by chance, I picked up a dust-covered CD, and unexpectedly, or almost subconsciously, I put it in the CD player.

Every word of the lyrics is as simple as the letters A, B and C, but they form a strange language almost incomprehensible to an eight-year-old boy.

When the refrain was played the second time, my mom came back from the wet market. Surprised by the song, she asked, ‘Why are you listening to this?’

‘I just grabbed a CD from the pile, and played it for no reason,’ I answered childishly.

‘I thought you had developed such a fine taste in music. You know, when your dad was dating me, he gave me this Carpenters’ album. He always played this song in the car, especially when we were together.’

Uninterested in her story, I said nothing.

Yet when I listen to this song again, on YouTube video this time, each musical note, each line of the lyrics strikes my heart more deeply than ever. I wish to loop this song until it takes me back to the old, happy times without sorrow, without regret but only gently shining smiles.

Written on Sunday 25 June 2017


James_AuJames Au was an MALCS (MA in Literary and Comparative Studies) student (2013-2014) at the Department of English. Spending a few years learning Japanese, French and German, he developed his research interest in comparative literature, particularly between East and West. His MA project focused on how European Dada poetry affects Chinese and Japanese poetry.  [Click here to read all entries by James.]

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