Song Analysis

Humpty Dumpty

Sunday 7 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

"Humpty Dumpty" is a traditional nursery rhyme Tori covered. But she added her own witty lyrics to the mix, turning the silly tune into an humorous tale of a woman (Betty Louise) seducing the king and plotting to make him fall from the top of a wall to become queen and replace him. The way she plays the piano – wild and jazzy – goes pretty well with the over-the-top aspect of the vocals and lyrics.

In the original version, the main character is often pictured as an egg. The earliest known version of the nursery rhyme is in a manuscript addition to a copy of Mother Goose’s Melody published in 1803 according to Wikipedia. Theoricians Katherine Ewles Thomas and Robert Kipley advanced that the song refered to King Richard III of England, who was humpbacked, but that’s only one of many theories. Humpty Dumpty also appears in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872), the sequel of Alice in Wonderland (Tori’s favourite fairytale), where he tries to teach semantics to Alice. Like Tori’s version of the character, he is shown as very narcissist: he sees himself as a master and talks about glory. The character and the nursery rhyme are actually referenced in a lot of different works. Among them is Robert Penn Warren’s political novel All the King’s Men (1946), the story of the rise and fall of a populist politician to the position of governor.