No. 44 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72
By Barry, Maurice & Robin Gibb
Lead Vocals: Barry & Robin
Album: Horizontal 1968
“This is the start of the end”
Horizontal isn’t an entirely enjoyable listen for me. I can never quite relax into it. It slightly disturbs me. Maybe it’s something about the melodic shifts or Barry’s wail on that descending ‘Goodbyyyye’. Maurice’s mellotron is never more ghostly. The whole song has an air of finitude about it, something fatalistic, haunted. I don’t want to get too close.
So much of Horizontal (the album) is about endings. This is the final track and it’s yet another ending, the final one: ‘This is the start of the end’ … Horizontal has that deathly quality.
The one thing I do know about ‘Horizontal’ is that I dislike the line ‘And feeling moments of swimming in cream’. I had always heard this as ‘feeling moments of swimming upstream’ which seemed to make more sense if related to (trying to resist) the end of life. ‘Swimming in cream’ gives me nothing at all.
As a song, I respect its atmosphere of discomfort. But I haven’t yet learned to make friends with ‘Horizontal’.