In Which I Exert a Small Amount of Retribution

Posted in Books, Music on January 1st, 2010 by Tom

edwardIt’s the new year! The first full calendar year since the format change is ahead, and I intend to really go all-out. Wheels fell off towards the second half of the past semester, but as always, I mean to pick myself back up and try again.

This year begins with me a little Pissed Off. I just recently (two nights ago) saw the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, the dogged, beautiful, trudging tale of a father’s love for a son in a world utterly devoid of goodwill and kindness, not to mention people. Not a day or two previous to that, I was listening to a track I’d scraped off of the net by the Editors, titled ‘No Sound But the Wind‘. The chorus mentions “carrying the fire,” and a “road,” both of which served as prominent and important themes throughout the novel. I did a little searching for the lyrics, and low and behold, the song is in fact about the book, and “no sound but the wind” is a line directly from it.

He walked out into the road and stood. The silence. The salitter drying from the earth. The mudstained shapes of floating cities burned to the waterline. At a crossroads a ground set with dolmen stones where the spoken bones of oracles lay moldering. No sound but the wind. What will you say? A living man spoke these lines? He sharpened a quill with his small penknife to scribe these things in sloe or lampblack? At some reckonable and entabled moment? He is coming to steal my eyes. To seal my mouth with dirt.


‘No Sound But The Wind’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

As I read a little further, however, I discovered/remembered an awful thing. The reason I had a copy of this Editors song was because I had heard they would be on the soundtrack for the forthcoming Twilight film, New Moon. They were, but I thought to myself surely this couldn’t be the song. Such an assumption is both right and wrong. Right in the sense that this fantastic song does not appear on the soundrack; wrong in that some perversion thereof does. It appears that they changed a few of the lyrics (below, in red) to make it more of a generic song, though the darkness of it is now more Twilight-y, and it was thrown into the film, just like that.

Original Lyrics Modified New Moon Lyrics
We can never go home, son
We no longer have one
I’ll help you carry the load, son
I’ll carry you on my back
We walk through the ash,
And the charred remains of our country
Keep an eye on my back, son
I’ll keep an eye on the road

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road can’t go on forever

If I say shut your eyes, son
If I say look away
Bury your head in my shoulder
Think of a birthday
The things you put in your head
They wont stay there forever
I’m trying hard to hide your soul, son
From things it’s not meant to see

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road can’t go on forever

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Now help me to carry the fire
This road won’t go on forever

No sound but the wind
No sound but the wind

If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me carry the fire
This road won’t go on forever

We can never go home
We no longer have one
I’ll help you carry the load
I’ll carry you in my arms
The kiss of the snow
The crescent moon above us
Our blood is cold
And we’re alone
But I’m alone with you

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
It will light our way forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say look away
Bury your face in my shoulder
Think of a birthday
The things you put in your head
They will stay here forever
Our blood is cold
And we’re alone, love
But I’m alone with you

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
It will light our way forever

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Now help me to carry the fire
It will light up our way forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
Bury me in surprise
Where I say shut your eyes

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me carry the fire
It will light our way forever

Aside from content, the Twilight version takes what you hear above and strips it down to a boring march on an echo-y piano (you’ll have to go look for it yourself; you’ll find no links here), and also omits the really cool bridge; in other words, it just isn’t as good of a piece of music as it used to be.

So yeah, I’m a little upset that a tribute to a Pulitzer-winning novel about the unending love of a father for his son in spite of their lonely existence in a world marred by cold, cruelty, and death has been pilfered, modified, and degraded to serve as yet another moody element of the moody backdrop for a moody vampire drama marketed at emotionally immature moody teenage girls.

So, Editors, guess what? You were deadlocked for the No. 10 slot on my best albums of 2009, but your asses just got bumped, for no other reason that what you see above. That was a trivial, disgusting thing to do, to take something with so much meaning and beauty and mangle it in such a fashion. It’s also irritating that such a good song couldnt’ve instead found a place on your 2009 album, but whatever. I’ve spoken my peace.

Try and be less of sellouts in the future.

Featuring:

Reading List Update

Posted in Books, Life on July 28th, 2009 by Tom

Just a quick head’s up: this is where my reading stands!

Catch-22 [Heller] (Carryover from Spring Semester)
Mountains Beyond Mountains [Kidder]
Pride and Prejudice [Austen]
The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century [Lomas]
Slaughterhouse Five [Vonnegut]
No Country for Old Men [McCarthy]
Fahrenheit 451 [Bradbury]
Cat’s Cradle [Vonnegut]
The Martian Chronicles [Bradbury]
The Sunset Limited [McCarthy]
The Last Question [Asimov]
The Road [McCarthy]
Breakfast of Champions [Vonnegut]
Neuromancer [Gibson]
Lolita [Nabokov]

I was so ambitious when I first cobbled together the list, but I don’t know if I’m going to make it though! I couldn’t find the Road when I wanted it, so I just started No Country, which proved to be surprisingly dense. My mom sent Martian Chronicles along when she brought me Fahrenheit 451; it’s a really cool collection of stories. It’s a bit hard to approach because there’s no clear, driving narrative, but it’s interesting to see a really “big” story (the colonization of the planet Mars) told in a little piecewise fashion, through vignettes. It’s kinda like the Twilight Zone (a lot, really), but it takes place not in a ‘universe of mind’, but also byond that plain old one of ‘sight and sound’. In truth, somewhere between the two is the best way to describe it.

I read The Sunset Limited in just under two days; it’s a short play with only two people in it. It was well written, and I enjoyed it, but the ending kinda throws you for a loop. I would also love to see it performed; you can almost feel the characters struggling to get off the pages and trying to be more real than a bound stack of pages will allow. I have this weird ambition to stage it, but I don’t know how I’d even manage that, but I think it could be fun.

When school starts it’s really going to burn me that I can’t read as much as I’d like to, but I guess that’s the way it is; at the very least, I’ll have the desire to fight it harder. Gotta get back to learning, though, I suppose.