Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Day After the Revolution

At the very end of This Is Hardcore, the band makes an abrupt turn from matters of debauchery and depression to socio-political concerns. It’s so sudden, this change of tact, that a casual listener could easily neglect it. But it’s there, and the soured, world-weary but wiser tone that closes the album only gives it more depth. Like many left-leaning Brit musicians of the time, Jarvis quickly lost hope in Tony Blair’s “New Labour” brand; “The Day After the Revolution” takes solace in the belief that the most significant paradigm shifts will occur in secret, unbeknownst to the masses. Similarly, you can hear the track – despite its hard-charging, echoing guitars and drums – signify the band’s retreat back to the fringes, away from celebrity and all its bummer after-effects. It’s the anti-“Mis-Shapes” in a way.

Now all the breakdowns and nightmares look small
Now we decided not to die after all
Because the meek shall inherit absolutely nothing at all
If you stopped being so feeble, you could have so much more

“Yeah we made it,” Jarvis exclaims at the end, and the relief is palpable, especially given the nightmare scenarios of the previous songs. He then launches into a monologue (“Sheffield is over/ The Fear is over/ Guilt is over…”) that echoes John Lennon’s “I don’t believe in…” litany in “God.” On the UK version of TIH, the song then concludes with nearly ten minutes of a single synth note, punctuated by a single “bye-bye” from Jarvis near the end. It may have been a stunt instituted by La Monte Young fan Mark Webber. If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have the U.S. version, the song fades out before all that. Instead we get a top-notch bonus track, “Like a Friend” – although for the purposes of this blog, we won’t be treating that as a track from this album.

(Note: I’m moving this month, so my time and/or internet will be limited. So Music From a Bachelor’s Den will be on a lighter publishing schedule for April. I fully expect things to go back to normal once May rolls around.)


Ian said...

Love this song, and while I knew "Like a Friend" was a North American bonus, I had no idea about the ten minute synth note - sounds kind of neat, in a perverse way!

Hurry back once you're done moving, the blog is great.

Mike said...

The ten-minute drone is indeed neat/perverse, but I'm also happy to have a version of the song without it. Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Things should be back to normal here soon enough!