Lampshade [Version (a)]:
I don't want no crying all upon my sleeve
I just want somebody who got no place to be
You call me up on Tuesday, I'll be stuck on Sunday night
Looking for some good things to make me feel alright
When I snap my fingers, when I walk the line
When I get my money, I'll be killin' time
Time is killin' something, it's just too small to care
Running through the jungle, looking for your hair (hare?)
Someone's talking backwards, looking for a fight
Puttin' on a lampshade 'cause you're shining way too bright
I don't want no crying, I don't want no pain
I don't want no lonesome life on a broken train
"Lampshade" stands easily among all of the fine songs Beck has ever written, one of his early classics. That it remains rare is a bit of a shame, though Beck has performed it live a few times over the years.
Beck's mournful harmonica playing and weary voice make the song, sounding very much like it's 5am and he just woke up, and the previous night still haunts him.
One night Beck introduced the song before playing it live by saying, "when you find those certain evenings where you're going around the bend a little too far, shining a little too bright, you got to put the lampshade on."
Played live 7 times:
Earliest known live version: June 28, 1994
Latest known live version: May 2, 2000
Beck had to decide on some low-key acoustic folk songs to play during his set opening for Bob Dylan on December 16 1997. "Lampshade" was a perfect fit. I have no idea how long it had been since he had played it previously, but surely it'd been an awful long time. Beck's voice, a bit tentative after an illness, nonetheless sounds wonderful. It fits the song. His harmonica playing is also brilliant, and this was one of the highlights of the evening.
Since then, the song has appeared in random acoustic sets and the like.