Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rush and Shellac

Today after a much frenzied facebook discussion of Rush, spurred only by the fact that I knew they were Canadian, I treated myself to a bit of the Gods of Prog on my way home from school. I totally understand why people don't like them, but I also believe that most of these people have not truly "listened" to Rush. You know, the way you can argue with your significant other without "hearing" them. I cannot imagine a world where someone who likes rock music can put on headphones, turn up the volume as loud as is comfortable, and listen to "Cygnus X-1" with their eyes closed, lying on the floor, and does not walk away having their mind blown down the black hole.

As I drove down Sunset past the dinosaurs of rock n roll days past, windows down and screaming along with Geddy, I felt pumped and turned to the only other band that I could think of that would foster the same feeling, Shellac. I made a playlist and only got through two songs before getting home, but they were:

1. My Black Ass (At Action Park)
This song is simply incredible and probably the best example of who Shellac is. Every single whamp of the drums is a living entity, which explains to me why I can listen to Todd Trainer play a monotonous drum beat for 11 minutes and feel completely inspired and engaged by it.

2. Prayer to God (1000 Hurts)
Not only is this song angry as can be (probably why it is one of their most popular), but it speaks to me for two distinct reasons beyond this. First, it is the most personally engaging song Shellac has ever written, lyrically. Coming from a band who seems to write most of their music as a way to say "Hey, see what we can do? And see how we do it better than anyone else?", this track about infidelity and the anger caused by it is unabashedly frank. Second, for such a harsh, angular and powerful song, it's one of the more vocally diverse of Shellac recordings, with quite a nice melodic quality to the vocals. Of course, really, the idea behind a song praying to God to kill someone is also just kind of fantastic.

To the one true God above:
here is my prayer -
not the first you've heard, but the first I wrote.
(not the first, but the others were a long time ago).
There are two people here, and I want you to kill them.
Her - she can go quietly, by disease or a blow
to the base of her neck,
where her necklaces close,
where her garments come together,
where I used to lay my face...
That's where you oughta kill her,
in that particular place.
Him - just fucking kill him, I don't care if it hurts.
Yes I do, I want it to,
fucking kill him but first
make him cry like a woman,
(no particular woman),
let him hold out hope that someone or other might come
then fucking kill him
Fucking kill him.
Kill him already, kill him.
Fucking kill him, fucking kill him,
Kill him already, kill him.
Fucking kill him, fucking kill him,
Kill him already, kill him.
Just fucking kill him! Fucking kill him,
Fucking kill him already, kill him.
Ah Fucking kill him, fucking kill him,
Kill him already, kill him.
Kill him already, kill him already
Kill him, fucking kill him.
Just fucking kill him, fuckin kill him,
Kill him already, kill him.
Fuckin kill him, kill him,
Fucking kill him already, kill him.

Kill him, fucking kill him,
Kill him, just fucking kill him.
Kill them already, kill them already,
Kill him.
Amen.

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