366 Songs 320: Don’t Fence Me In

When in doubt of which version of a particular song is “definitive,” it’s always worth remembering that Bing beats most everyone, especially when backed by the Andrews Sisters.

Cole Porter, who wrote “Don’t Fence Me In,” is of course widely-recognized as a genius, and this song – while slight – is a fine example of that; there’s just such an ease to it, such a humor and relaxation to the lyrics and melody that it becomes irresistible surprisingly quickly.

It’s a wonderfully playful song, whether in the rhymes (“I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences/Gaze at the moon until I lose my senses/I can’t look at hovels and I can’t stand fences”) or the tune, which practically defines the term “jaunty.” It something that so clearly evokes a particular mood, but in such a way that doesn’t feel invasive or manipulative. Instead, you just feel yourself echoing the sentiment expressed, and feeling as if such freedom is a wonderful thing.

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