Flood: An Anthem Album For Our Times?

Flood: An Anthem Album For Our Times? February 7, 2017

As I was falling asleep late last night, trying to win back space on the bed from 3 gravity-heavy cats, a strange idea filtered into my head.  In that space between waking and dreaming, it made so much sense.  Then it proceeded to permeate my dreams all the way until morning – as me working on the blog post in each dream. (Alas it was not already on my computer when I awoke.)

When I got up this morning, the idea was looming over my consciousness like a storm cloud, yet my brain hamsters had had enough of it.  I posted on facebook about my strange idea, as in a “ha, look at the funny stuff my brain does!”  Then several friends commented that yesterday, they too had entertained similar thoughts.  Too weird.

Why? Because the idea centers around an album released in 1990: “Flood” by They Might Be Giants. While it is indeed one of my all-time favorite albums (I believe it falls into the “perfect album” category), there had been nothing on my feed or in my daily life that would have brought it specifically to mind at 1am.  But hey, I’m an artist and a Witch – weird stuff popping into my head isn’t that unusual.  But it sure is a heck of a lot weirder when several other friends across the country all have the same idea.  The Muses are being slutty for a reason.

So let’s see if I can conjure up what the Muses were pointing at, because they probably do indeed have a point.  (And this will possibly be the weirdest pop-culture post on this blog I have made so far, even surpassing this one….but bear with me..)

Now there are *19* songs on this album, so I will try not to make this the longest post ever.

First, there’s track one, “The Theme From Flood” which starts off with these lyrics to introduce the album:
Why is the world in love again? Why are we marching hand in hand? Why are the ocean levels rising up?
So…relevant to now? Maybe the world isn’t in love precisely, but we’re seeing a new awareness and a call for compassion, from the people.  And marching to show it.  Oh and climate change, because no really, the ocean levels are still rising up, whether you believe it or not.

Track two is “Birdhouse In Your Soul” 
Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
(and while you’re at it
Keep the nightlight on inside the
Birdhouse in your soul)
It was hard not to post all of the lyrics to this one.  I would say this is a song about hope, about creating room for others in your heart.  Brain hamsters from last night would also like to add  – “blue canary in the outlet by the light switch” certainly also could describe a cell phone being charged (and they do sing)…and symbolize the electronic connection between us all that the internet provides. (Which is pretty oracle-like considering  that while the internet and mobile phones did exist in 1990 – it would be another decade before they would start to look anything like they do now.)
Track three: “Lucky Ball & Chain”
I could shake my tiny fist
and swear I wasn’t wrong
But what’s the sense in arguing
when you’re all alone?
Sure as you can’t steer a train
you can’t change your fate
Well, the tiny fist part here nails it for me for a certain figure in public office. But mainly this song talks about being in denial and not listening to the reality right in front of you.

Track four“Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”
This is probably one of TMBG’s most well-known songs.
Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way
So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Once the past is done, it’s done.  You have to move on to the future, you have to let change happen. Hindsight is often 20-20 regarding the past, and it rarely was as great as memory likes to make it seem.

Track five: “Dead”
Now it’s over I’m dead and I haven’t done anything that I want (now it’s over)
Or, I’m still alive and there’s nothing I want to do
I could have probably posted all of the lyrics for this one. It actually would bring tears to my eyes back in high school for reasons I still can’t quite fathom or express.  But for our anthem set, I would sum it up as: stop wasting time, do something.

Track six: “Your Racist Friend”
Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding
This is where the party ends
I can’t stand here listening to you
And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend
Do I really need to explain why this song is relevant?  I didn’t think so.

Track seven: “Particle Man”
Particle man, particle man
Doing the things a particle can
What’s he like? It’s not important
Most folks also know this song because it’s incredibly catchy.  I have a few different theories on this one, but I’d mainly sum it up as needless in-fighting, identity politics, and lack of valuing life.

Track eight: “Twisting”
She’s not your satellite
She doesn’t miss you
So turn off your smoke machine
And Marshall stack
She is so over your abusive shit and gas-lighting. Your days are numbered dude.

Track nine: “We Want A Rock”
Throw the crib door wide
Let the people crawl inside
Someone in this town
Is trying to burn the playhouse down
They want to stop the ones who want
Prosthetic foreheads on their heads
But everybody wants prosthetic
Foreheads on their real heads
Trying to save the community and the dangers of fake news and alternative facts – watch out for herd/tribe mentality.

Track ten: “Someone Keeps Moving My Chair”
We’re not done with you yet Mr. Horrible
You have to try on these pants so the Ugliness Men
Can decide if they’re just as embarrassing as we think
We have to be sure about this
Scapegoating, playing games with the lives of others because they’re different from you, when all they want to do is live life. 

Track eleven: “Hearing Aid”
I’ve turned off my hearing aid
Don’t say the electric chair’s not good enough
For king-lazy-bones like myself
If you’re tuning out completely, you lose your chance to have a say. Things get decided by those who pay attention and show up.

Track twelve : “Minimum Wage”
Minimum Wage! Yah!
Do you really think corporations and rich people care that you are making enough money to live?  Watch what they do, not what they say.

Track thirteen: “Letterbox”
I’ll never know what you’ll find when you open up your letter box tomorrow
Dear representatives of the people in Congress, you haven’t heard the last of our opinions in your voice mail, inbox, and post box.

Track fourteen: “Whistling In The Dark”
A woman came up to me and said
“I’d like to poison your mind
With wrong ideas that appeal to you
Though I am not unkind”
I think this sums up most current Cabinet nominations.

Track fifteen: “Hot Cha”
Hot Cha, where are you?
Everybody’s eyes are closed
I can’t see why I miss you so
So Hot Cha, where are you?
This one I can see having several different applications, but let’s put it as people basically not paying attention, romancing a far past, or demonizing the recent past – then realize the future is a lot scarier.  Sorry, you may need to change your idea of “suffering.”

Track sixteen: “Women & Men”
(Women & Men) Bringing with them messages of love
And every where they go love will grow (love will grow)
(Women & Men) When you see the faces of the women
And the men, you too will know (you will know)
And we return to a message of hope, of working together, of love and compassion, and the best parts of human nature.

Track seventeen: “Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love”
Done someone wrong
And I fear that it was me
Living with consequences – that when we seek to hurt others, we often hurt ourselves.

Track eighteen: “They Might Be Giants”
They might be big, big, fake, fake lies
Tabloid footprints in your hair
Tabloid footprints everywhere
We can’t be silent
‘Cause they might be giants
And what are we going to do unless they are
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.  Just because someone seems rich and powerful, doesn’t mean we are powerless in their wake.

Track nineteen: “Road Movie To Berlin”
We were once so close to heaven

Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned
So…A road movie is a part of a film genre, based on the idea of the epic journey that causes the characters to be exposed to a new perspective.  And Berlin was essentially the heart of Nazi Germany….

And now (if you made it down this far), you may be wondering what any of this has to do with witchcraft.  Well, besides the bizarre correlation and slutty muses/spirits phenomenon….when we’re looking at Modern Witchcraft, we not only at the myths of old, but the myths of now.  The bardic structure has long been used to explain and describe our human experiences – and music inspires us.  So it doesn’t hurt to have some modern bardic workings to get the spirit and blood flowing.

You can listen to the whole album here and then buy it here because buying music is the right thing to do – or better yet, support your local music shop if you can:




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