Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Modest Mouse - Bukowski, Gravity Rides Everything

Philosophy comes in all shapes and sizes.  While most folk never get into Descartes or spend any time analyzing the ontological argument, they do get their dose of philosophy whenever they listen to music.  As opposed to the logical side of philosophy, art, music, and writing explore the more creative side of exploratory thinking.  Now not all music is steeped in intellectual thought, in fact, only the most skilled can craft viable strains of knowledge into their music.  Modest Mouse has always been epitomized by substance, originality, and of course my favorite quality....strangeness.  The band has a sound all its own.  Twisted melodies juxtaposed against heavy drums and psychedelic riffs, with a funky twang on top of it all.  But its the lyrical intelligence of front man Isaac Brock that really makes me dig these jams.  His struggles with religion and death are integral in his lyrics, and continually inspire me to think about weird shit.

Bukowski is a testament to false hope and misplaced faith.  A look into the despondency and lack of meaning in life.  Inspired by author and poet Charles Bukowski, best known for his dark portrayals of American poverty, the song questions both the state of the world and the belief in an omniscient god.  You gotta take a look at the lyrics to fully appreciate the jam.  I could spout on about what I think the song means but it is more a question of what it means to each individual.  I love the entire jam, the slow and eerie lyrics, the steady banjo picking, and especially the lyrical imagery.  
If God controls the land and disease
Keeps a watchful eye on me
If he's really so damn mighty
My problem is I can't see
Well who'd want to be
Who'd want to be such a control freak?
Ive got no problems with religion (unlike my ma) but I must say the man makes a pretty good point.  It almost seems silly that there could be a higher power controlling every single minute and microscopic detail of life.  And if there was, it is safe to say that that would be the worst job ever.

 Bukowski by MooDawg

While this seems to allude that there is no spiritual order or reason in life, in another song Brock seems to put forth some form of belief.  Gravity Rides Everything takes on a different tone.  The easy rhythm and mystic guitar lend a more uplifting sound.  It has a really beautiful quality for me, reminds me of the sunlight coming through trees, or looking out the window of a car at something nice.  There are a lot of differing opinions on what the song is about, you really just have to look at the lyrics and decide for yourself.  But for me its about a force that pervades all life, but that cannot be seen or defined.  A return to the natural order, something that loosely controls the course of all life.  And regardless of circumstance will bring each and every one of us into our organic and righteous place.  That in death, the one thing that lies in store for all of us, we should find peace regardless of whether or not there is an afterlife.  It seems as though Isaac rejects the idea of traditional western religious belief, but the tone of the song carries this sense of spirituality.  No floating away to heaven, just our life being subjected to the natural forces of life, and within this a great sense of serenity.  Regardless of what awaits us in our death or our life we should be content with the natural order of life.
In the motions and the things that you say
It all will fall, fall right into place
As fruit drops, flesh it sags
Everything will fall right into place
When we die, some sink and some lay
But at least I don't see you float away
And all the spilt milk, sex and weight
It all will fall, fall right into place
   Gravity Rides Everything by MooDawg

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