Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday Rock Show (NSFC - Not Safe For Christians)

I consider Tool to be one of the best dark heavy metal bands around. In fact, I think they are one of the most literate, musical bands ever to emerge, period. I think Maynard James Keenan is the best lyricist. Far too intelligent to be limited to any category, he manages to capture profound ideas simply, or just paint weird, outlandish pictures in a way unparalleled. I have joked in the past that I would name him Poet Laureate of the US had I the power, but the more I think of it, the less of a joke it becomes.

This song, "Eulogy", off Aenima, concerns the futility of self-sacrifice, and the false humility too often displayed by those who proclaim themselves martyrs to one cause or another. Like many of their songs, there is a rage against hypocrisy and the lies of self-appointed leaders towards those foolish enough to follow them. Yet, there is more going on here, too. The references to Jesus - "he had a lot to say/he had a lot of nothing to say/get off your fucking cross", etc. - are deliberate. I do not think Maynard thinks all that much of Christians; I think he takes on the Jesus-myth directly here not just to shock (although I'm quite sure that's part of it), but also to make the point that, from many perspectives, Jesus was an abject failure, and his followers have certainly not exactly taken the path he blazed.

I am sure there are some who will be offended by this song. There are others who just won't get it. I like it, though, so there.

Virtual Tin Cup

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