Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Heavy Metal" - from the CD Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah CD cover
Funny, how sometimes a song isn't about what you thought it would be about at all.

Take the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah song, "Heavy Metal." All this time I thought it was about, you know, heavy metal.

Umlauts, turn it up to 11, naive Tolkien references, women who part their legs with little provocation, that sort of thing.

Turns out instead, it's a much more serious lament about old age, and how you lose your armor, and your sadness at the tattered flag you flew.

Now all the secrets of old age
They tell us we should really stop
They implore us oh
They should adore us oh

It's been a year and now we find
We're lost behind enemy lines
They're gunning for us oh
But they never even met us oh

What happened to our heavy metal?
What happened to our coat of arms?
We find that we're stuck in the middle
Picking up the pieces of our hearts

And there will be no comfort
For all that we have lost
The actors seemed so happy
But somehow ended all washed up

What happened to our heavy metal?
What happened to our coat of arms?
We find that we're stuck in the middle
Picking up the pieces of our hearts

What an amazing and exultant fuzz bass, like a fucking rave it
is, all delirious and chemicaled up from that red punch with the
X swimming in it. And the sunny harmonica propelling the tune
happily forward, like a biplane with a smiley face on the wings
doing loop-de-loops over and over in the clear blue sky, a whoop
that cries out, everything's OK, everything's gonna be alright.

But that's what they call 'contrapuntality,' because even as the music appears to be telling you one thing, the words below suggest another. The joyous music registers on one channel, but so do the darker words below, and they do their separate work upon your lobes, and "Heavy Metal" ends up being either the saddest song you've ever exuberantly danced to, or the happiest song you've ever felt ambivalent about.

Sure I've misplaced the armor that I wore so well when I was Alec Ounsworth's age, and the banners that I waved.

These things are understandable, if not necessarily welcome news.

But right now as the secrets of old age reveal themselves, as another yeah and another year show themselves in my spyglass, what's got me sad, what's got me angry, what's got me ambivalent even in the face of this song's beautiful whomping fuzz bass, is the no comfort part of it, no comfort at all for all that we have lost.

 

for Alex Martinez, and those who knew him


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - 8 - Heavy Metal.mp3


192 kbps mp3, up for 6 weeks (or more, depending) (Right click and save as target)


File under: Picking Up the Pieces of Our Hearts

1 comment:

Debi said...

you have a way with words