I’ve brought up MewithoutYou before, and the new album has yet to be released, but I couldn’t help but reflect a little on one of the new songs: Bullet to Binary part 2. One of Aaron Weiss’ favorite thematic elements is the vegetation metaphor (perhaps its the perishable, evanescent quality of fruits and vegetables that attracts him), and Bullet to Binary goes out in full allegorical force.
The scene is a garden where the lettuce, eggplant and potato are all engaged in Girardian mimetic rivalry (the potato admits concerning the eggplant: “reason being/I must confess/I adore her shining purple dress”). But the self-reflexive anxiety of the characters only reproduces itself endlessly (“the apple threw our half baked fears/like a wooden shoe in the windmill gear/the turning stopped and we clearly saw/the flaws in that which finds the flaw”). All the actors can do is anxiously wait (my favorite line: “the strawberry said to the tangerine
/my face is red but our hats are green”).
Back to the rivalry between the potato and the eggplant: the narrator accuses the potato of psychoanalytic projection (“does the rain that sent each spring anew/to fall on her not fall on you?/you project on her your inward scene/she’s a blank external movie screen”). This second verse concludes with a vague allusion to Elie Wiesel’s identification of Christ being present in the suffering of a child in the Holocaust (“but the One who looks out from your eyes/looks through hers and looks through mine.”)
In a deft rhetorical maneuver, Weiss turns the bridge into a lament of “we all well know/we’re gonna reap what we sow.” This lament quickly becomes an accusatory mantra (“from each time you disrespect your parents/you better hope we don’t hear it/we who know/you’re gonna reap what you sow”). No longer is the lamentation one of solidarity (in the first person plural); it is one of accusation (second person). In contrast to this objectifying move (this sound like the Religious Right to anyone?), Weiss concedes: “but grace, we all know/can take the place of all we owe/so why not/let’s forgive everyone, everywhere, everything/all the time, everyone, everywhere, everything.” It is simultaneously a lamentation, a theology of the cross, and a movement toward intersubjective solidarity in the midst of human suffering. Beautiful.