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Desert Island Disc Day 3J: The Land of Rape and Honey

Day 3J: The Land of Rape and Honey, Round 3

Did You Know(TM)?: “Rape” is actually a plant. Its most notable subspecies, in America, is canola; in parts of the world where people understand that words can have different meanings, canola oil is called rape oil or rapeseed oil.

Day 3J Start

How we got here:
Day 2I, East/Midwest Subdivisions
Day 2I, West/South Subdivisions

No idea where my head was yesterday, but making up for it today.

The East subdivision opens with…

#1 Ministry, “You Know What You Are”
vs.
#12 Fire * Ice, “Corpus Christi”

“Don’t try to reason
No words, no words
I’ve seen it all before
Don’t cry ’cause it’s too late
We make some people think
That’s all they need to get home
Don’t look into my eyes
I’ve seen the light”

vs….

“And yn that bede ther lythe a knyght
His wowndes bledyngnoth day and nyght
Lu lai lulley, lulley lullay
The faulcon hath borne my mak away
And by that bedes side ther kneleth a may
She wepeth there both nyght and day
Lu lai lulley, lulley lullay
The faulcon hath borne my mak away”

What are the chances that Ministry could possibly be upset here after their complete dominance in the first two rounds? Exactly the chance that they would run into a song that was originally written in 1504 and that a modern band is actually still singing in the medieval (though they modernized a few of the pronunciations and threw in an extra word here and there—nothing one would not have found in 1504 of course—to make it scan better). Fire * Ice have always been one of the competition’s tanks, but they really came through here thanks to those tweaks being done just right, and they advance to the hopper.


Live in Toronto, 1988.

#3 Murderous Vision, “A Whisper Becomes a Shiver”
vs.
#7 Tia Knight, “Raindance”

[at least one song is an instrumental, so no lyric-to-lyric matchup possible.]

photo credit: existest.org

Somehow, this drum machine is still going strong.

This may be the shortest Round Three description of all. It’s another light vs. dark matchup, and as happened a few times earlier in the day I’m writing this, dark won by a pretty comfortable margin just based on my mood—and thus Murderous Vision take a relatively easy trip into the hopper. Ask me tomorrow, that answer might change.

In the Midwest subdivision, we have:

#1 The Orphan, the Poet, “Black and White Photography”
vs.
#13 Bile, “Lowest Form”

“Baby boy, baby boy, won’t you grow up so tall?
Baby boy, baby boy, won’t you grow up so strong?
Pick you up on my shoulders and walk down the hall
Show you pictures in a frame of myself when I was small”

vs….

“You are my life, my phantom god
You are all that I desire
You’re not me, that’s the strongest point of you
Abnormal lust infects my blood
You are all that I admire
I am the lowest form of you.”

Once again we find ourselves with a battle of opposites, and while the outcome was pretty much pre-ordained (as they have done throughout, The Orphan, the Poet simply rolled over their competition), it ended up being a more interesting one than it seemed at first gloss; there’s a lot of parallels to be drawn between these two songs and the way they look at continuation, TOTP through a child, Bile through a dominatrix. No, I’m not kidding you, mull on the lyrics to both songs and it becomes clear. And really, if you had asked me about this matchup before October 2011, when my son was born (a little less than five months after TOTP released Translating), I probably would have gone the other way with it. Now, there’s no question: Bile head for the showers.

#14 Jonathan Coulton, “Re: Your Brains”
vs.
#2 Fields of the Nephilim, “Shiva”

“I don’t want to nitpick, Tom, but is this really your plan—
Spend your whole life locked inside a mall?
Maybe that’s okay for now,
But someday you’ll be out of food and guns,
Then you’ll have to make the call.
I’m not surprised to see you haven’t thought it through enough,
You never had the head for all that bigger-picture stuff.
But Tom, that’s what I do,
And I plan on eating you. Slowly.”

vs….

“Open your eyes now darling, yes
Let the weather rise my darling, yes
Come closer…”

I’ve mentioned earlier in the competition that “Shiva”’s lyrics have always felt less like they were part of the original plan for the song than they were Carl McCoy extemporizing during the recording; there’s no feel of intent here whatever, which gives Coulton’s skewering of business weasel-speak a distinct edge in this race—and sends it to the hopper, while the Nephilim head for the showers to plan another reunion tour.

The West subdivision brings forth…

#8 Nine Inch Nails, “Last”
vs.
#4 The Gathering, “Shortest Day”

“Still feel it all slipping away bit it doesn’t matter any more
Everybody’s still chipping away but it doesn’t matter any more
Look through these blackened eyes
You’ll see ten thousand lies
My lips may promise, but my heart is a whore”

vs….

“He lets his blood boil, always in turmoil
Blasting his every way through the shortest day
Forever dangerous and never serious
Swimming against the stream
and steal all of your dreams
Aggravation is appreciated
He’ll use you like a tool
Association is overrated
Friends are for fools”

You know, now that I’m looking at them, neither of these songs have lyrics that are all that accomplished. Trying to decide if I should be cutting The Gathering some slack because English isn’t their first language or sending NIN through because the lyrics are standard, but otherwise correct; I think NIN gets the call here in a surprisingly lackluster third-round battle.


Live 2006.

#11 KMFDM, “Brute”
vs.
#15 Pigface, “Tonight’s the Night”

“Between the bullet, my lip,
And the lies you let slip
Between the dirt of this soul
And your heart that’s a hole
Between this place where you hit
And this face where you spit
From your sweet breath comes the dawn of my death”

vs….

“It’s there appeared in seconds only slipping murder web
Sleeping under glass decisions there the only light ways crack
How many little sisters bleed in force field unity?
Genetic arms unfold, braving night for lunacy
They grow, I know
I just cracked the dawn in circles in the flow”

photo credit: deutschemusikland.com

KMFDM back when En Esch was still in the fold.

I think I may have mentioned before that I want to read Chris Connelly’s autobiography to find out what the fuck he was smoking, drinking, snorting, shooting, or otherwise ingesting when he wrote the completely incoherent, and yet still completely catchy and singalongish, lyrics to “Little Sisters” (which was remixed into “Tonight’s the Night”). They make not one goddamn bit of sense and I love them immensely for it. And looking at KMFDM’s entry, and perhaps cross-referencing it with Bile’s entry a bit back, you might think I’m kind of obsessed with submissive themes in industrial metal. You know what’s funny? I never actually noticed that before, and it’s kind of senseless given how opposed I am to the whole power-games thing in actual real-life relationships…which is part of the reason I busted Bile earlier, and is part of the reason I’m busting KMFDM now. Pigface head into the hopper.


Live in Hamburg 1995.

Finally, the South subdivision:

#16 The Kitchen Cynics, “Me Forgetting You Forgetting Me”
vs.
#13 Slowdive, “Alison”

“You and me, we watched us wax and wane
We tried to stay awake, but we got too tired
So we tried to dream instead
You and me, we put the day to bed
I’ve forgiven you, my love
Won’t you let me see?
Have you forgiven too, my love,
Me forgetting you forgetting me?”

vs….

“’Alison’, I said, ‘we’re sinking
there’s nothing here, but that’s okay
outside your room, your sister’s spinning
but she laughs and tells me she’s just fine
I guess she’s out there somewhere’”

Bloody hell, I knew as soon as I saw this one it was going to be a killer. Slowdive’s track is a monster, and it’s got a little extra heft in this competition given that my wife is named Allison. But oh man, Kitchen Cynics. You’ve probably never heard Kitchen Cynics, and that’s a crime. And every time I use the term “neofolk” to describe his music I kind of wince, because while Alan Davidson’s music does indeed spring from the same places as the stuff that drives DIJ and Fire * Ice and Sieben and that lot, Kitchen Cynics has a lot more in common with balladeers like Saltfishsorty, for the most part, than he does with the old World Serpent crowd. (I have been saying for a few years that one of my bucket list items is, when I finally do get round to visiting Orkney, to book a show in a little pub somewhere with SFF and KC co-headlining, because I need to see both of these acts live.) Both of them have that tinge of psychedelia without plunging headlong into it like, say, Indian Jewelry, and it adds a wonderful sheen to both tracks. Man, how do I separate these? Both are elegant, wonderful little pieces. The only place I can see to slip a dagger between these two is that the Kitchen Cynics track (which always kind of reminded me of the first episode of one of my favorite Britcoms, As Time Goes By) seems a little more upbeat, lyrically, less dreampoppy and more optimistic. And so by the thinnest of edges, I will be sending The Kitchen Cynics on to Round Four.

#6 NON, “A World on Fire”
vs.
#2 Broken Gadget, “Downtown Rat Waster”

[at least one song is an instrumental, so no lyric-to-lyric matchup possible.]

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and yes, I’m breaking that rule about not using the same reason twice yet again: “A World on Fire” is as close as any band, in my experience, has ever come to writing a statement of belief that perfectly aligns with my own (you’ll also meet another track like this later that, spoiler alert!, will be similarly going on). Perhaps even more impressive, I first heard this track right after the album came out, in 1992—I bought it day of release—and twenty-one years later I am almost completely a different person and many of my beliefs have changed, but “A World on Fire” is still right there at the core of things. I still decry the godawful recording quality, and I do wish Boyd would re-record it on another album (hey, it’s not like “Total War” hasn’t shown up on, what, four NON releases now?), but what’s here is enough for me. My apologies to Tim Wilson, but he ran into one of the competition’s titans here.

And thus eight more songs get fed into the hopper:
Jonathan Coulton, “Re: Your Brains”
Fire * Ice, “Corpus Christi”
Kitchen Cynics, “Me Forgetting You Forgetting Me”
Murderous Vision, “A Whisper Becomes a Shiver”
Nine Inch Nails, “Last”
NON, “A World on Fire”
The Orphan, the Poet, “Black and White Photography”
Pigface, “Tonight’s the Night”

Previous: Day 3I
Next: Day 3K

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Desert Island Disc Day 3K: Somewhere in Europe | Popcorn for Breakfast

  2. Pingback: Desert Island Disc Day 3L: North of the 37th Parallel | Popcorn for Breakfast

  3. Pingback: Desert Island Disc Day 3I: Africa Addio | Popcorn for Breakfast

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