Critical Analysis of Modern Music and the Persistence of Antiquated Notions Of God

 

At a live performance Sarah once explained what this song’s meaning was about. She said, “basically…..that we all have insecurities to hide and we often do that by putting on a façade. Unfortunately, if we just be who we are, that’s usually the more attractive and beautiful thing.”

In the first stanza she uses the theme “dark side” using the metaphor “vampires”, suggesting people have a tendency to hide the “freakish in us”.  She expresses it with theses words:

“You come out at night
That’s when the energy comes
And the dark side’s light
And the vampires roam….”

The beginning of the first stanza is interesting since “light” and “darkness” have been associated with “good” and “evil.” It sets forth the tone suggesting her religious belief and implies that she may share a similar view with the teachers of the Testimony of Truth, radical teachers in antiquity who asked the question:

“What is the light? And what is the darkness? And who is the one who created the world? And who is God? And who are the angles?….And what is the governance (of the world)? And why are some lame, and some blind, and some rich, and some poor?”

Additionally in the first stanza she expresses the social implications of religious belief systems, using the Rastafarians as an example. The Rastafarians were not only a religion but a social movement that defied traditional values of the times. The Rastafarian movement invented by Maces Garvey, “encouraged blacks to overcome their feelings of inferiority and build upon their own unique and evolving culture, and ultimately return to Africa to redeem their homeland and to build a future.” This parallel can make it seem like she is comparing some individuals to this same movement, suggesting that they have not truly discovered themselves yet, else they’d wouldn’t be hiding and pretending they’re something other than who or what they are. For example, some groups like LBGT may be stuck in an “in between” or “not ready to disclose” feelings on their identity, or some may be in denial about who it is they truly are, suggesting Sarah’s view that individuals should defy traditional social values and break free from “the box”.

“You strut your Rasta (Rastafarian) wear
And your suicide poem
And a cross from a faith that died
Before Jesus came
You’re building a mystery”

Her views on religion speak volumes on the truth behind many individuals independent search for enlightenment and “god”, comparing religious statues, relics or symbols as “voodoo dolls”; items that are connected to witches magic and false gods. This implies that she may not fully endorse ritualistic religious beliefs. She also talks about paranormal experiences, otherwise known to the medical community as psychological hallucinations, “And you wont’ give up the search for the ghosts in the halls.” Or perhaps those ghosts are metaphors for the human failing of vices that ensnare so many in their grips. She also suggests that perhaps religious study implants a state of overly conscious people who fear being themselves in public when she writes, “Can you look out the window without your shadow getting in the way?” If you implant fears in people through religion, making people fear the punishment of a “god”, how can a society be expected to create independent minded thinkers, thinking for themselves instead of being blinded by doctrines that serve to confusion and confound? This can set up a perverse state of confusion in people already plagued with differences and issues.

“You live in a church
Where you sleep with voodoo dolls
And you won’t give up the search
For the ghosts in the halls
You wear sandals in the snow
And a smile that wont’ wash away
Can you look out the window
Without your shadow getting in the way?”

The next stanza suggests the workings of a deceiver, not only someone very impress and good looking but one full of charm and very careful not to fully disclose their entire identity.

“You’re so beautiful
With an edge and charm
But so careful
When I’m in your arms…..”

Again, the teachers of the Testimony of Truth were radicals who “recognizing that god is actually the villain, and the serpent the holy one.” They suggested to their followers at the time that it was “god” who wanted to keep the world blind to the truth which could be discovered if everyone found true knowledge. The Catholic church, on the other hand, shuns homosexuality and bisexuality by declaring it “wrong” or against “god’s law” thereby making it a sin and imposing feelings of inferiority on to the individual. Is this really true? Is the Catholic church right? Is homosexuality really wrong? Or is it just one person’s perspective on matters? The teachers of the Testimony of Truth encouraged free-minded thinking and encouraged people to question the establishment.

“You woke up screaming aloud
A prayer from your secret god
You feed off our fears
And hold back your tears, oh
Give us a tantrum
And a know it all grin
Just when we need one
When the evening’s thin…”
Her final words in the song suggest that we as society are in conflict with one another, which is no real secret if you study the human archive. In fact, the notion of “devil” and “god” are simple metaphors for the mirroring of individual and social relationships we have with one another. Likewise, literary tragedies share the same implications. These stories are nothing more than the mirroring of human relationships!

The final stanza expresses a need of “letting go” of these old ideas and notions, the “Us vs. Them” mentality. Not only are these ideas antiquated but they no longer serve modern day society in a functional way. Every psychologist knows that when we hold on to old notions, ideas, or feelings, like the need for segregation of blacks, or that all Jews deserve death, we are no longer free to grow and change as individuals or even to function as a productive society.

“You’re a beautiful
A beautiful fucked up man
You’re setting up your
Razor wire shrine

‘Cause you’re working
Building a mystery
Holding on and Holding it in
Yeah you’re working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

Oh you’re working,
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you’re working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully
Yeah, you’re working,
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in,
Oh yeah you’re working,
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

You’re building a mystery.”

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