My Facebook & Twitter friend Julie requested that I consider the lyrics to this modern rock/industrial opus by the Los Angeles band Black Lodge. Here’s the song:
and here are the lyrics as I dictated, since it doesn’t appear to be published anywhere.
You know I think you’re beautiful
You know I think you’re strange
You know I tear my world apart
Just to rearrange it for you
You’re everything I wanted
You’re everything I need
You’re everything I wish for
And that’s just what scares me
Be afraid of what I’ll do to you
I’ll tear apart your hopes and dreams
The way I always do
I’ll consume you
Until you’re hollowed out inside
I’ll throw away your empty cell
They fade away into the night
I gave up all my anger
I gave up all my pride
I will give up everything
Just to feel you deep inside
I wanna be your chaos
I wanna be your fear
I wanna be the animal that makes you scream
As I feel you coursing through my veins
I am more alive
Still this hollow feeling haunts me
That I can’t deny
Julie and I chatted a bit about the value of this song, and she compared it to the kind of darkness found in Nine Inch Nails — which I think is an apt reference here.
Bu really, what’s the value of listening to a song that seems to represent a voice of darkness? In regards to this particular song, I can think of a couple.
First, many of us have darkness inside — not just repressed anger (which isn’t a great thing to hang on to) but something more sinister. Our imagination is not limited to squeaky clean realms, there are pieces of us that are drawn to what is normally considered dark and evil. Let’s be honest here — it’s engaging to to dwell in amoral realm, where you are truly free — not just to defy but to destroy. But, since reality is a realm where rightfully we should bind ourselves to ethics and morality, art and imagination is the safe place in which we can truly be anything you want to be — and that includes being our big, bad self. Have you ever seen a boy who’s more fascinated by villains than heroes? I have — my son. We should be grateful for the smart people who first pursued the freedom of art and expression, for this reason.
Second, I think there is a feeling of freedom and exhilaration that comes from the sense of surrender expressed in this song. If you view the lyrics conventionally, being robbed of all hopes and dreams and left hollow may sound like highway robbery — but shift your point of view a little here, and that could be seen as cleansing, detox kind of thing. It’s a burden to hang on to our hopes and dreams, to protect ourselves from the bad guys. When you let that all go and let this force consume you (even if it claims to be an evil one) I see an element of relief in that. In a round-about way, that makes me feel less afraid. Mock fear created by art is refreshing and invigorating this way — I imagine this is how fans view good horror films.
Besides, Black Lodge may be identifying itself with a dark persona, but there is so much forward momentum and heroism in this music, that it’s impossible to perceive this music as despicable and evil. There is a lot of life here. And that tension between evil and life is part of why such music can come across as thrilling. It’s not for everyone, sure, but there is value in arts that explore the dark side, and Black Lodge is doing that very well.
Finally — Julie, you are a loyal fan of these indie acts, and on behalf of all the artists you support, I want to thank you for your dedication and appreciation. You uplift us and give us the reason to do what we do. So thank you!