Monday, September 05, 2005:

more Screaming Blue Messiahs

The Screaming Blue Messiahs -- You're Gonna Change (Gun-Shy)
The Screaming Blue Messiahs -- Someone to Talk to (Gun-Shy)
The Screaming Blue Messiahs -- Wall of Shame (Totally Religious)
The Screaming Blue Messiahs -- Big Big Sky (Totally Religious)

"You're Gonna Change" has a dirty electric guitar groove, dirty and smoking, laid over a backbeat; the lyrics are all about a relationship gone wrong and going wronger still: "You're gonna change the way you're living, change the things you do / Stop doing all the things you oughtn't do." Particularly good: "You're gonna change and I don't mean pleeeeaaaaaaase," the vocals with some high-pitched heavenly delivery in stark contrast to the message. Like getting a note, calligraphied, gold-embossed, asking you to please choke on your own vomit.

"Someone to Talk to" won me over with its rumbling drums, lazy funky bassline, and casual in-your-face attitude ("If I die in a combat zone / box me up and ship me home"). Raspy vocal delivery here, the guitars alternating between beefy/distorted and light/piercing.

I find "Wall of Shame" more intriguing than illuminating, which is the case with a lot of The Screaming Blue Messiahs' work. The lyrics here are about a fall from grace and a man who doesn't want his name on the wall of shame--is there one? Where is it? Can I go read the names? (Am I on it yet?) Erm. It's probably just a metaphor, unless the author's twisting an existing wall to new purposes. What is clear is that there's an id/superego conflict here, though it's not at all clear why: "I used to be the killer on the lost highway / I used to be the dark just before the day / But I'd sooner have a hole in my head / Than to do what I want to do." Huh. All right, I can feel it. Not sure I understand it, but that's okay.

"Big Big Sky" seems to be a statement of existential crisis. I'd be inclined to take it as a statement of agnosticism if not for the calls to prayer ("Sister, you'd better be praying; time is winding up." But then the rest of the song doesn't exactly fit with Christian beliefs, does it? "All I do is live and die underneath the big big sky / I live and die and I don't know why." As with most of the Messiahs' work, this one's sporting a solid rocking groove. I like that funky instrumentation going on in the left speaker in the quieter parts, though I'll be damned if I can place what it is. Sounds a bit like a didgeridoo but bouncy.

The Gun-Shy tracks are digitized from LP; the Totally Religious tracks are ripped from CD. All of The Screaming Blue Messiahs' work is out of print, though some rereleases, or even a greatest hits comp, would do them right.


Sorry for the posting schedule; I've been busy with various "real world" obligations and when I've got a minute to sit I've been captivated, disgusted, and enraged with what's going on in New Orleans. A piss-poor showing on every level.

Of all the amazing crap that's been spouted on TV, the one bit that strikes me as true (unintentionally true, and revealing) is Bush's claim "we couldn't have predicted the levee break"--I think Bush could not predict it, in much the same way that an unbuckled two-year old couldn't predict what might happen if his father slammed on the brakes. Anyone who had done his homework, however, could have, and would have, and did. But far be it from Bush and his group to bother with homework; all they look for in filling positions is someone who shares their fundamentalist and thoroughly un-Christ-like ideology--experience and relevant knowledge are optional. I'm amazed that when they filled Rehnquist's slot that somehow they refrained from putting forward the first person they could find who's never even heard of the Constitution.

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