As we're wrapping up PHILOSOPHY WEEK!!! with the whimper that usually accompanies the modern philosopher as he or she strives for greatness, relevancy or anything at all really, we're going to take a little bit of a deeper look at a certain song's lyrics.
I was listening to a CD the other day and a certain lyric jumped right out at me: "I'd rather die than live like you." Clearly audible...in all of it's screamed, modern hardcore glory.
The song is called "I.C. You Are Feeling Drake" by the band American Nightmare. Great song btw. Fantastic album too, Background Music is great PUMP UP music.
Listen for it at 1:42: "I'd rather die than live like you."
I've been listening to punk and hardcore for years now, and I'm sure there are other songs with that exact same lyric, if not just that exact same sentiment. Think about it for a second though. What is the singer really saying?
"I'd rather die...
...than live like you."
Most likely the song is about some dudebro he thinks he hates. From the lyrics, it's probably somebody who he thinks gave up their hardcore or punk rock lifestyle - sold out, man. Maybe it's a former straightedger who opted to have a drink and chill. Maybe a true till deather that got so high he managed to take bong rips hard as shit from a crack pipe. Oh god or maybe it was a former vegan breaking "vedge" by demolishing a fatty, marbled ribeye in the presence of a bunch of other emaciated losers.
One rumor floating around the 'net back in the early aughts (shortly after the song was written) was that the song was about Karl from Earth Crisis taking prescription drugs (OMG) to combat the wonky look he always has on his face. Hard to be edge when you're takin' the 'scrips, do! (fyi, "do" is short for "dude" and I'll think you'll be seeing more of it)
I also heard at a show one time that it was about the rampant androgyny & gay haircuts starting to sweep the metalcore scene.
Or more likely, maybe a former bandmate who quit the band, went to college, got a job in his chosen profession, had a family and has no more time for a full time touring band that doesn't pay the bills.
Who knows, maybe the object of the song is a total douchebag, just some corporate office lackey, worried more about his next cup of coffee from the 'bucks than anything of real (non-coffee) substance. But let's examine what he's saying for a second. Like, it's one thing to declare that you don't want to live like person A. I get it, you think that particular lifestyle sucks. Fair enough.
Maybe the best way to offer your advice, influence, support or help, or to get your point across to said wayward friend would be with a simple telephone call, rather than in the form of a ripping hardcore tune. Though for the record, I prefer the ripping hardcore tune. Great song.
But to choose death over a life the dude is probably oblivious to is kinda crazy. I mean, if the singer walked up to the dude, told him that he'd rather die than live like him, there's a very high chance the dude is just gonna say, "whatever, man, you're still bummed about me quitting the band, eh."
I bet a good 75% of the band's fanbase is in the same boat - selling out the edge, the core, the scene the whatever. They probably just realized that acting like you're 18 only works until you're 18, maybe 21, tops.
The thing is, the signer is a thirty-something, fairly accomplished lyricist and writer, who you'd think would be smarter than that. Maybe he is. Or at least he should maybe have the foresight to see that the subject of the song, while said well, is kind of tacky. Maybe once a decade or so he looks back through his old lyrics and just cringes.
More personally, would he rather die than live like me? Than be unemployed and handsome and awesome? Really? He doesn't even know me, and he's screaming about how he'd rather die than live like me. OK, maybe he knows about our three-legged cat that's always pooping on the floor. And pissing on my stuff.
I don't know if he knows that my wife is a doctor - surely he has no idea how awesome it is to tell people that your wife is a doctor. I wouldn't rather die than tell people my wife is awesome.
At the end of the day, there is somebody out there that he hates so much, where he'd rather die than live like him. Unless that much-hated person is Hitler or something, like, that's kind of trivial, dude.
FYI Wes, nobody is forcing you to live like anybody. You're over 30 by now, you can stay angry as much as you want, just don't be too bummed when some of us get a laugh out of it.