Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sound Of Freethinking #14: Alibi

I know it has been a while since I have done one of these segments, but I could not resist doing one over Cindergarden's Alibi. The song was released on their 2008 album The Clandestine Experiment.

I was immediately drawn into the sound of this song when I first heard it. But while I enjoyed the song, the lyrics kept nagging at me. One time I would listen to it and I would pull away one meaning, another time a different one. I wasn't sure if I was just not understanding the lyrics properly or I was trying to create a meaning that I preferred despite what the lyrics actually said.

But the other day, I really took the time to listen to the lyrics coupled with how they were sung. I realized then that part of my problem came from the song being sung from multiple different view points within the same person. Quite possibly while remembering different view points from her life. Once I started thinking in the way, the lyrics started to slip into place.

Before this, the first verse was a bit confusing, but after considering this new possibility, things made perfect sense. The song starts out being sung from the point of view of someone who is critical of science. Someone who sees it as a destructive force that is willing to shred even the most deeply cherished of views in the name of 'progress'.

The second chorus, however, is sung by the same person but as she realizes that those she is criticizing do not need any excuse. "You don't need an alibi, I'm the one that lives a lie." The person knows she is wrong, that her views are based upon faulty thinking. But that doesn't make her clinging to old ways of thinking any easier. They may be wrong, but she don't have to like it.

The progression of choruses continue in this fashion, with each iteration of the 'anti-science' view becoming more accepting of the fact of things, if with a sense of bitterness at first. Lines such as "Confess your sins to a crippled god" show a sense of anger and hopelessness at their views being torn apart around them.

The final two lines of this verse "Lie detector test tube morals, Face the truth compromised" suggests the common view that many hold. The idea espoused by those who see science as cold and without 'human' morals. But that this person already realizes that such views are just looking to reality and hoping for a compromise with their own particular brand of faith.

Again the chorus takes on the resigned tone of someone who knows that they are in the wrong. But with the line "Resistance level fading" they find themselves losing the desire to fight back against reality.

The final 'anti-science' verse seems to me, in light of the previous verse to have one of two possibilities. Either it is more of the angry rhetoric they had previously spread, possibly in a resurgence of faith that many have. Or, as I prefer to think, it is them singing their previously held beliefs in a tongue-in-cheek way. That she has accepted reality for what it is and sees her previous rage at scientific inquiry to be absurd.

Not only this but the wording it essentially accurate. She had hated such ideas for the fact that they did exactly what she thought it did and it horrified her. People actually saw material things a beautiful and worthy of contemplation and 'worship'. Worship because that is what she and others did, they worshiped, they never understood as science requires of us. But this idea no longer revolts her, instead, she find it to be the beautiful truth that she was missing all along and doesn't mind pointing out her previous absurdity in taking such a negative stance.

While the middle of the 'accepting' verses first introduced the line "Where I am to here I come", the final verse reiterates it with a bit more intensity. When it was first used it was the view of a person right on the edge of understanding and seeing where it might take her. With the addition of the word 'from' to this line in the final verse, it reveals that she has moved further ahead. Not just to furthering her understanding, but towards tackling the very views she once held so vehemently. That she now sees the error of her ways and doesn't want anyone else to suffer as she did. Not to mention the idea that others are attacking such a beautiful thing as scientific understanding as she once did in her ignorance and fear.

Am I reading too much into the lyrics? Am I misrepresenting them? Perhaps. But when looked at from this point of view, every line makes sense and it becomes a much more inspiring song. The slightly disturbed and aggressive sound of the music lends itself to this viewpoint as well. From the anger she felt at the start to the increasingly resigned 'accepting' verses. The music progresses just as one might expect for a mind in transition from bitterness and ignorance to one that is ready to take on the misguided masses that she once belonged to. Seen in this light, it becomes akin to Plato's Allegory of the Cave, but done from the personal perspective of a freed mind as it is pulled out of its ignorance.

Unmasked portals
Still connecting
Uncover the ending till it bleeds till it bleeds

You don't need an alibi
I'm the one that lives a lie

Ritualized fictionalize
Confess your sins to our crippled god
Lie detector test tube morals
Face the truth compromised

You don't need an alibi
I'm the one that lives a lie
Resistance levels fading
Who can turn me around now
Chemical defacing
Where I am to here I come

Hypno science
Trapped inside
Worship matter
Praise the whore

You don't need an alibi
I'm the one that lives a lie

Who can turn me around now
Who can turn me around now
From where I am to here I come
Who can turn me around now
From where I am to here I come
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