No. 45 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72
By Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocals: Barry & Robin
Album: Odessa 1969
“I’ll pull out your plug till you’re small”
If Odessa has a concept perhaps it’s the break-up of the Bee Gees. This could not have been the unifying idea the brothers had in mind when they began work on their magnum opus back in 1968. Characteristically, the theme is not confronted head-on but permeates a fair proportion of the album – the opening three tracks comprising Side One, Lamplight, Never Say Never, First of May and, arguably, even Seven Seas Symphony.
I Laugh in Your Face works best heard within the context of the album. I’m guessing that Barry is the main writer as ‘I Laugh in Your Face’ shares the resoluteness of his You’ll Never See My Face Again. There is scorn in the title and much of the song can be heard as a putdown. Barry’s accusations – ‘you lie just like the rest’ are, however, tempered by the knowledge that ‘you’re only one race’, ‘nobody’s best’ and that his laughter is followed by tears.
The second verse (‘I’ll pull out your plug till you’re small…’) is the most effective part of the song, adding an odd vein of humour to the generally dismissive air. Barry seems to be observing the situation with an almost enjoyable sense of detachment. The melody’s slightly limping rhythm emphasises the strangeness of what unfolds by slowing the lyrics right down and creating a sense of amused anticipation in the listener (‘On the steps of St Peter’s, you all look the same’).
A slightly queasy sense of amusement is also present in the string ‘slurs’ which close the song.