Breeders, Kim Deal, Pantera, Socialism, The Metal Apologist, West Memphis 3

The Metal Apologist (Part II: Pantera)

{from February 8, 2007}

It seems like I’ll be focusing on understanding the depth of lyrical content in otherwise dismissed bands. And I’m not alone in the case of this song. Before me, Kim Deal of the Breeders covered “Fucking Hostile” by Pantera for a compilation to free the “West Memphis 3” (I’m not an authority on this case but these are the kids who under very dubious circumstances were arrested for a murder and the fact that they listened to metal was an attributing factor in the case). This is one of the underlying endeavors of the Metal Apologist; to highlight the aspects of depth that are glossed over in this music and that is exactly what Kim Deal does doing a straight read of the Pantera tune with clearer vocals.

Almost every day
I see the same face
On broken picture tube
It fits the attitude
If you could see yourself
You put you on a shelf
Your verbal masturbate
Promise to nauseate
Today I’ll play the part of non-parent
Not make a hundred rules
For you to know about yourself
Not lie and make you believe
What’s evil is making love
And making friends
And meeting God your own way
The right way

We stand alone

The truth in right and wrong
The boundaries of the law
You seem to miss the point
Arrested for a joint?
You seem to wonder why
Hundreds of people die
You’re writing tickets man
My mom got jumped — they ran!
Now I’ll play a public servant
To serve and protect
By the law and the state
I’d bust the punks
That rape steal and murder
And leave you be
If you crossed me
I’d shake your hand like a man
Not a god

Come meet your maker, boy
Some things you can’t enjoy
Because of heaven/hell
A fucking wives tale
They put it in your head
Then put you in your bed
He’s watching say your prayers
Cause God is everywhere
Now I’ll play a man learning priesthood
Whos about to take the ultimate test in life
I’d question things because I am human
And call no one my father who’s no closer than a stranger

I wont listen

To see
To bleed
Cannot be taught
In turn
You’re making us
Fucking hostile

So what we have hear is a guy who is trying to thoughtfully reassess the roles of specific authority figures and doing so with remarkably poignant results. Of course, Pantera’s read of this song is propulsive and without respite. As such, it took Kim Deal’s reading to unpack the emotional resonance of these lyrics and reveal that they are as radical and affecting as any great Minor Threat song for their willingness to challenge heirarchical institutions but do so with brilliance and consideration rather than an easily dismissable “youthful” antagony (“Yes, ‘Fuck it!’ That’s your answer for everything!”). Some real gems here for sure: “I’d shake your hand like a man not a god”? Damn! Take that Socialist revivalism! Marxists everywhere reeling at the powers of populist song…

Phil and co. were not embodiments of social revolution that much is true. But the work is the thing and personally, I find this to be a hearty challenge, a toss of a hefty diamond-encrusted gauntlet, to the standard binary of “happy/sad” music. Check your head indeed…

I believe that’s all. Don’t be quick to dismiss or dis; In light of this, you might be amiss…

See you,