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Mental Metal: Mordecai

This week let’s take a look at what could possibly be my all-time favorite song, “Mordecai” by Between the Buried and Me.  I am cheating a little bit on this one because the band’s lyricist Tommy Rodgers wrote out the meaning behind the song in the liner notes of The Silent Circus CD.  So, along with posting his explanation, I’ll put my 2 cents in also.

This song is about how selfish and confused everyone are… it seems like one day you can be the happiest person in the world and the next day you hate everything for some odd reason. We take everything we have for granted (trust me, I’m in the same boat)… and no matter how much shit sucks for each one of us…there are always worse off people and we need to always keep that in mind… this song goes out to everyone that I’m friends with and spent quality time with… you make life amazing. The title “Mordecai” is from the bird’s name in “The Royal Tenenbaums”… I chose this name because in the movie, Luke Wilson kept Mordecai around because he loved it… and he finally realized that the bird needed to be on its own in the wild (the idea of freeing yourself).

I get emails all the time about the word “shevanel and plip”… it’s actually a very bizarre story: there is a homeless man in Raleigh, NC named “Shevanel” and he has a pet dog named “Plip”… yeah I know that’s probably the weirdest thing you have ever heard, but it is true. “Shevanel” seemed to always be happy every time I saw him, and it amazed me that someone with so little could be so stoked on life. Life is confusing and horrible at times but doing the things we love can make it the best thing on this planet.

For me this song is about freedom.  Freedom to be you, no matter the cost.  When you are stuck doing something that you don’t like you find yourself unhappy.  The first part (the chaotic part) represents us when we are trapped in a situation where we just can’t seem to get happy or excited about something or our lives.  The line “Tragic day seems too peaceful to most, spoiled ambitions turned my heart to black, black.” pretty much sums up how we feel when we fail at something that could truly make us happy.  But without the darkness, there can be no light, and that is where the song shines.  The next half of the song transitions into a beautiful array of stunning and uplifting music that could crack even the most stone of hearts.

When you are doing something that you wholeheartedly enjoy you experience pure happiness.  For the writer of the song, music is his passion and creating it is his true love.  While he faced many trials in reaching his goal of being able to make a living out of writing music, he succeeded and this part of the song represents his joy, his reaching of balance.  He also states ‘Plip and Shevenel’ which tells us we don’t need everything in the world to be happy, just love really.  When you find it you can be truly at peace with yourself.  And that guitar solo, man each time I hear it I get chills.  One of the most powerful and moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard.  Such freedom and passion in Paul Waggoner’s playing, it’s overwhelming really.

My favorite line from the second part of the song is “From the reciting of the show, from the Plip and the Shevanel, from the grind that annoys, and the sarcasm they all hate.”  Who care what you enjoy doing, just do it.  They don’t like what you’re doing to achieve happiness, F’ ’em.  While this song is from a musician’s point of view, I’m sure you can insert your own context and find peace in it.

What do you all think of the song “Mordecai” and it’s meaning.  Do songs such as this help you through your everyday life?  Does it inspire you to push to become the happiest person ever?  What song inspire you to pursue happiness?  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Music and lyrics after the jump.

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Mental Metal: The Black Dahlia Murder – Blood In The Ink

For a fairly long time, metal has had a strong reputation as a genre that utilizes shock value as part of its publicity stunts, a way for bands to become noticed and toe the line as to what is acceptable in society. A few select bands over the years have tried to push these boundaries further, make people question where their own morals lie and what actually constitutes as “too far”. This next song I want to examine certainly made me do a double-take when I read the lyrics, especially having a bit of context background from the album itself. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the song “Blood In The Ink” by The Black Dahlia Murder.

The song itself and album from which it’s taken (Ritual) marks a musical departure from the band’s previous releases, including more elements of classical music within their melodic death metal frame, making for a release that sounds more mature and sophisticated. Possibly as a side-effect or result of this, Trevor has upped the ante lyrically, and delivered several songs dealing with various ‘rituals’ (grave-robbing, ouija boards, picquerism and Samhain are all covered), but it seems they saved the most potent ’til last. “Blood In The Ink” is a direct address to the listener to indulge in Satanic rituals, worship Belial, kill their parents and harm/kill themselves. However, it’s done in such a clever way that one is not entirely sure if Trevor is playing devil’s advocate as a parody or playing on a genuine manipulation of younger listeners.

Many bands, particularly in the occult black metal scene, have made absolutely no secret of Satanic worship and the calling of a higher evil power through ritual, but TBDM are the first band I’ve come across to actively encourage their listeners to participate. There’s even a ‘contract’ line to sign in the lyric book, which the lyrics say is to be signed in blood. Maybe it’s because it flies in the face of the lyrical censorship battle led by the PMRC et al, or maybe it’s mocking the parents themselves who refer to metal as ‘devil’s music’. I doubt it’s a genuine call from Trevor for TBDM’s listeners to kill themselves, but it certainly remains a lot more thought-provoking.

N.B. An interesting fact, Trevor allegedly locked himself in a dark room and forced himself to watch the most disturbing content the internet has to offer, in preparation for writing Ritual’s lyrics. I can tell you now, it definitely shows. Also, cue shameful plug, if anyone wants to read my review of Ritual, it’s here.

After the jump, the music and lyrics are available for reading.

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