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Friday Music – Hell Yeah

Apologies for the puerile nature of this one, but I like to tie my Friday Music into the kind of atheistic/religious discourse that I find compelling, and this just happened to be the first song that popped into my head when I sat down to honour this noblest tradition of our blog.

Embedded below is a song called Hell Yeah from The Bloodhound Gang, from their album called <sigh>, Hooray for Boobies. Which sets the tone nicely.

Did I mention that the lyrics are funny?

But would I be a good messiah with my low self-esteem?
If I don’t believe in myself would that be blasphemy?


Friday Music – Roy Zimmerman

This guy does the best unexpected rhymes that I’ve come accross in ages. Who would think of rhyming “survival of the fittest” with “bull shit test”?  Should raise a smile among all rationalists.

Friday Music – Little Fluffy Clouds

Absolute classic from The Orb that’s been playing in my head all morning so I thought I’d share. The video is a bit naff but for sheer put your feet upism this is hard to beat. Enjoy!

Friday Music – Atheist Rap

This Friday music, I’m finally getting around to posting about Greydon Square – an atheistic rapper who has been featured on popular sceptical podcasts such as Skepticality and Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. Rather than regurgitating what I learnt about him from the aforelinked, I’ll let you look into it yourself if you’re interested (Skepticality spend a bit more time with him).

The song I’ve embedded below is called ‘Squared, and it’s from his album, ‘The Compton Effect’. I downloaded this album over the summer, and found it generally enjoyable for sheer novelty value alone, as it’s quite satisfying to hear rational lyrics accompanying some funky hip-hop beats. That said, I don’t think I’d be doing my job as a sceptic if I didn’t highlight some negative aspects before slapping a hearty seal of approval on it, so bear with me for a bit.

After a few listens, the lyrics begin to cause some dissonance – I’m aware that rap is generally predicated on exaggerated metaphors and healthy narcissism, but it’s still hard to take a self-professed sceptic seriously when he uses a line like “What makes Republicans and Democrats any different than Bloods and Crips? / Absolutely positively nothing” (from the song Pandora’s Box)

Due to the constraints of the medium, Greydon either over-simplifies his topics or interrupts the flow to get his points across, which is hopefully a shortcoming that will be addressed in the next album, (which I intend on downloading over the next few days).

For the low low price of $3.99 from Soundclick, you can get 19 very varied tracks of atheistic-infused hip-hop, DRM free (and at a bitrate of 320kbps) – which is an absolute bargain. Even if you don’t like hip-hop, you should support this artist, just to hear some bitesize atheistic rhetoric – for less than €3(!) what have you got to lose?

Please to enjoy:

Greydon Square on MySpace

Friday Music – Tim Minchin

Since he was featured as one of the New Humanist Advent podcast guests and was mentioned on Pharyngula I have been listening to/watching a lot of Tim Minchin and liking him more and more.

Below is a song that seems particulally apt for this blog. There’s lots more on YouTube but I like to keep things PG around here and most of it is NSFW so I’ll let you search for it yourselves.

Friday Music – Rodrigo y Gabriela

Good morning happy people! Since it’s technically Friday (I’m posting at 4:50am) welcome to another edition of Friday Music.

Today our feature is an acoustic guitar duo who originally hail from Mexico City, but now call Ireland, more specifically, Dublin, their home.

Rodrigo y Gabriela really stole my heart when I first heard them play, because I was just beginning to learn how to play guitar, and all of a sudden I was introduced to a world of flying fingers and quickly strumming hands and it completely blew my mind. Now that I’m a dab hand at the ole guitar myself, it still blows my mind! I managed to see them live on two occasions, once in Dolans in Limerick and once in Vicar St. in Dublin. They were both completely unforgettable experiences!

So, this is a song called “Diablo Rojo” from their latest album “Rodrigo y Gabriela”. If you ever get the chance to see these amazing musicians live, take it! You will not regret it!

(Still Technically) Friday Music – NOFX

Phew! Just made it!

Unlike my esteemed blogging-colleagues, I like to tease the readers by making them wade through a bit of waffle before getting to the good stuff – and the video embedded below is the kind of thing that needs a preface.

I used to be a big fan of punk rockers NOFX, even if their songs all sound the same, they have the decency to repackage them with worthwhile lyrics. I decided to post this song based on the few lines I could remember, as I thought it features some nice commentary on how cavalier we as a species are with respect to our world. Of course, after just listening to the song, I’m now aware that the ‘We’ that is being referred to in the song is the denizens of the USA, but let’s just use some manipulative interpretation to convince ourselves that ‘We’ is in reference to the human race.

I’m not 100% sure about the others, but I know that the singer, Fat Mike, is a humanist – quite openly so (I’ve heard him tease theistic musicians in interviews), and this song’s lament at the lack of willingness as a species to self-correct our behaviour certainly reflects these beliefs.

Please to enjoy – ‘Wolves in Wolves Clothing’ from NOFX’s [“No Eff Ex”] ‘The War on Errorism’

[I know that NOFX openly express their hatred for Bush, but the person who made this video seems to think that they attribute all of the woes of the world to Georgie boy, which annoys me, so I’d like to divorce myself from majority of the visual-content in this video!]

Friday’s music

Great song from a great band.  Enjoy the lyrics…


Friday Music – Rat Race by The Specials

For no reason I can think of this song has been in my head all week.

Friday Music – Jesus Christ

How do you feel about religious allusion in your music? I’m certainly a fan of the technique when it’s used as a cultural reference, but any overtly religious songs revolving around themes of devotion, (or worse, submission) have grated on me since I was a child being forced to sing about being unworthy whilst begging for mercy.

Since it’s Music Friday, I thought I’d share a band that causes me a bit of cognitive dissonance in this regard, hopefully opening the comments to some discussion.

The band I’m about to play are called Brand New, and I initially got into them because I like their style of self-indulgently long and tense buildups, dark imagery, and clever metaphors. After a while, it became clear that those clever lyrics that I was hearing weren’t actually what they were singing, such as the line in ‘Okay I believe you but my Tommy-gun don’t’:

We were contenders, now throwing the fight

which I heard as:

We were pretenders, now bona fide

In that one instance, what I was hearing was diametrically opposed to the original sentiment, which is surely a reflection of me hearing what I want to hear: a bit of optimism in an otherwise bleak song.

The song that I’ve embedded below is called Jesus Christ, and it was the first song I heard off their latest album, the Devil and God are Raging Inside Me.

At the time leading up to the album’s release, I was living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and they were set to play the song on the Conan O’Brien show. Just as the band were being introduced, a friend of mine who had heard the song before warned me that it was deeply religious, and I’d surely hate it. Before I had a chance to say anything in response, the opening notes started:

The song ended, and I spun to my friend who was now peering at me and sniped:

“Deeply religious?” Are you crazy? “We all have wood and nails?” They’re going to crucify the fucker! They’re taunting him!

Despite the shamefully condescending nature of my initial comment, I’m quite aware from the small pockets of discussion I’ve come across that believers point to this song as a mature example of faith in action, depicting a downtrodden, bitter soul who is lashing out at everything whilst still relying on the support of his martyred messiah.

Of course, when I listen to the lyrics, I’m inclined to think that the entire affair is dripping with irony, and by invoking the Jesus Christ character, the author is attempting to frame his hardships with a Biblical analogue.

For example, when I hear the line “So what did you do those three days you were dead”, it sounds insincere, making light of the perceived sacrifice that Christians tend to harp on about. Even the first line, “Jesus Christ, that’s a pretty face” strikes me as an exclamation of blasphemy, coupled with an odd phrase establishing that the words we hear are taking place inside someone’s head.

The line “Do I get the gold chariot? Do I float through the ceiling?” again seems quite insincere, quickly poking fun at the absurd notions of an afterlife that have existed throughout the aeons.

Anyhow – I won’t bore you any further with of my attempts to wrangle the interpretation I want out of the lyrics to a song I enjoy. I should just confess that it’s been two years since I first heard the song, and all that time I’ve deliberately avoided reading any interviews with the band, lest they confirm my fears that my interpretation relies on a heinous manipulation of the facts to worm my way out of an uncomfortable truth.

Deliberately avoiding potential dissonance-causing information is something that nobody should be proud of, but it’s one that I’m sure we’re all guilty of on some level. Then again, can you really begrudge me in this instance when the stakes are so low?

What songs do you have to reinterpret to enjoy? Are there songs you refuse to listen to based on lyrical content alone?