Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Few Notes Re: THIS IS A SONG ABOUT GOOGLE, NOT NIKOLAI GOGOL

I am posting about my favorite piece of music/text once again. Ryan P. Call, newly knighted associate editor of NOÖ Journal, posted about it a couple days ago. We admired Ryan Downey's song via gchat and engaged in a long-distance telecommunicatory listening experience. And listening to the song is never a once-and-done experience. I require multiple listenings per session. I am going to say some words about this text/song. But, seriously, listen to the song.

Downey does a flawless job of balancing the elements of this song. First, it's funny: you have the Stephen Hawking poke-and-speak computer voice, the wicked search string "dirty sex asian teen blow job 69 free pics" spoken by the computer voice.

It's tough to find a line that is not awesome, but you have simultaneously heavy and funny lines like:

And Google was good, and Google was good, and Google was good, and you were nothing

And Google was good, and Google was good, and Google was really fucking good.

And Google begat music. It sounded like this.



But also, the text of the song has some pretty big concepts and powerful images. Take the opening lines:

There was an explosion then. And others things. And then out of the darkness rose Google. And Google searched itself and found that it was relevant.



The image of this monstrosity of biblical proportion rising "out of the darkness", becoming familiar with and asserting itself in an 'overthrow of heaven' sort of way is powerful. The following lines reinforce this, being written in biblical style, sort of a coupling of the creation story and a retelling the Garden of Eden story:

There were few men then. And then more. And then more. And the days of dog pile were over. And Google looked upon its archives and found that these too were good. And Google begat Youtube, begat Blogger, begat Gmail. And man ate of the forbidden fruit of dirty sex asian teen blow job 69 free pics. And Google looked upon itself. And Google spoke to man, saying, In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 882 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.



And, of course, it's funny at the same time.

And the horns were gone. And the years rolled on. And Google found god and Google found god and Google found god thousands of times. And Google found Google.

And the horns were gone, and the years rolled on. And Google found god and Google found god and Google found god thousands of times. And Google found Google.



With the slide from "Google found god" to "Google found Google", the overthrow is complete. Google and god are interchangeable. Or, more likely: Google = god. An all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc, all of the traditional attributes, plus one: immediate results; so many results, in fact, that they will overwhelm you and Google even saves you from that, too. Don't forget: Google loves you.

And the horns were gone, and the years rolled on. And Google found god. And Google found god. And Google found god thousands of times. And the Iran War was a brand new search. And anal sex was a very old search.



Here things have moved beyond. Sex is old. Violence is the new sex. Or at least the consumption of violence (I'm obviously reading into things). As with any piece of moving art (text, music, film), the ending is vital, and I think Downey ends "THIS IS A SONG ABOUT GOOGLE, NOT NIKOLAI GOGOL" perfectly.

And the light from the computers drowned out the sun. And Google was god. And Google was god. And Google was god when the world folded over.



Those lines give me a blanket party à la Full Metal Jacket every time I read or hear them. The last clause "when the world folded over" reaches beyond and touches something that I feel but can't quite put words to, which keeps me turning the phrase over and over in my mind. This is the thing I think art aims for, a blend of clarity and mystery that keeps the viewer/listener/reader thinking about the piece long after they have moved on with their day.

Downey's piece is a prime example of the unique/new/innovative/strange/funny sensibility (would aesthetic be a more appropriate word?) Blake Butler fosters at Lamination Colony. Unless you overthink overanalyze overinterpret everything like I do, the song is a good listen and it is funny and none of the profundity gets in the way of that. So, like, go read/listen for yourself.

Thank you Ryan Downey. Your four minute song has given me hours of thoughtful entertainment.

6 comments:

BLAKE BUTLER said...

nice post, that song is indeed a masterjam, it should be on itunes

peter b. said...

yeah.

Josh Maday said...

thanks blake. it should be on itunes.

i agree, peter.

ryan call said...

i just read this post josh

and i have to listen to the song yet again

Ryan Downey said...

I did not see this post when it originally went up. I am arriving late to the party (and am already smashed). I am humbled by these continuing posts and analyses.

Thank you.

Josh Maday said...

you're right on time, ryan, and smashed is good. yeah, i'm going to post about this song at least a few times a year. masterpiece it is.