10. There is a bass throb just slightly slower than the shallow breaths of “Precious Things” and a guitar that sounds more like one tinny note being rapidly pitch-shifted than anything being humanly manipulated. First we are reminded of just what a gun is… to America, and (forebodingly) to John Lennon.
As a child i was never sure of what i was supposed to think of “Happiness is a Warm Gun” … it seems to be directed at a woman, but it is about one at the same time. Is she happiness, or does she have her hands on the weapon? Tori deconstructs this Beatles classic as she moves through the composition… substituting her own chords and changes as she trips backwards and then forwards through the lyrics, and just as suddenly launching back into the McCartney/Lennon arrangement verbatim. Lennon’s nonsense suddenly turns into a too-personal carnal kind of knowlege of this girl, who is impossibly well-acquainted because she hardly misses a thing.
The rearrangement here is probably the strongest on the album, and if you can get past the narration by Tori’s father, the George Bushes, and the radio announcing Lennon’s death, you might be able to enjoy the song; it is “Datura”-like in length and scope, but immediately more coherent because Tori keeps herself separate from the background so that it can really just be scenery instead of pulling focus. And, as Tori departs from the script on keys and vocally the guitar starts quoting the White Album lick until she is back in the saddle. She doesn’t even approach the waltzing “i need a fix” bridge to the song until nearly the end, and in this order it makes more sense… although the fix could be a fix on guns or just a fix for the narrator. She draws this familiar piece out across the trancey backgrounds and solid beats from Chamberlain until she finally launches back into the “mother superior” phrases that eventually lead the song to its end.
So, if happiness is a warm gun, have we already fired?