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KFAD & Swan Song? [2001-08-27]

There are some albums that tell a story, there are some that are inspired by a story...And there are those that just make you relive some scenes from already existing stories; they utilize the ambience from somewhere else as a foundation to the music - in my opinion, and I don't know many others who share this belief with me but I nonetheless believe, on some intuitive level, that Faith No More - King for a Day is one of those albums.

I can't remember precisely how I became aware of the connections betweenKFAD and Robert McCammon's book, Swan Song, but I can't help myself; eachtime I listen to the album I see them. For those who are not familiar withthe book, it's a post-apocalyptic novel, somewhat similar to Stephen King'sThe Stand, where a post-nuclear society, or at least the few survivors, arepolarized toward good and evil and engage into an epic fight for the future.There are those who want to rebuild and live peacefully - they arerepresented by a little girl called Swan - and there are those who arecreating small armies and pillaging the other survivors - led by ColonelMacklin and Mr. Evil himself: the man with the scarlet eye.

Some songs off KFAD seem inspired by this book (to me) but I don't deny that there is a possibility that those references that I see are purely a product of chance.

Nonetheless, I feel like sharing them with you, dear reader, because I have nothing better to do right now.

First, the song Ricochet reminds me of three scenes (can you call it a scene when it's in a book? I think so..). When is says:

On the Ricochet
It's gonna hit you

It reminds me of when they are in a cave (I think it's Swan, Sister Creep and the tall black guy (don't remember his name)) and someone has a gun. They are warned about ricochets... I know, I know; this is far from being strong evidence to a connection with the book, but wait a second, the two others are even better.

Runnin' twice as fast to stay in
the same place
Don't catch my breath till the end
of the day

This reminds me of how the heroes are pursued by the man with the scarlet eye; they can run as fast as they can all day, but he will never tire and they'll always be back in the same situation as the day before, he'll always be right on their heels.

One day the wind will come up
And you'll come up empty again
-And who'll be laughing then?-

This, I believe, is a reference to the annihiliation of New York city, where Sister Creep is, and also a reference to the man with the scarlet eye who's laughing because of that in a theater, watching some "real life" gore movies of people getting killed (he represents Death and he's incredibly amused at the good job he has done - hence the "Who will be laughing then" part).

I also believe that the song "Get Out" is a reference to the kind of solid growth, called "Job's Mask" in the book, that people get all over their face. I could say more about it but it would spoil a part of the book...

There's something stronger than me
There's something I don't want to see
A new thing growing in me

It is the hardest thing to do
To watch it grow on top of you

Okay, I know that all this must not make much sense, if any, to someone who hasn't read the book - that is why I must recommend it strongly! It's epic in nature, has incredibly well done characters, some good plot twists (if sometimes a little extreme) and a good mix of sci-fi/horror/post-war elements.

The song "digging the grave" terribly reminds me of the scene where Swan and Josh (I found his name! He's the tall black guy I talked about above - I feel it's more authentic if I don't go edit it, call me crazy) are buried in what could be called a bunker (even though it's more like a reinforced store basement) and they are trying to dig their way out. Mr. McCammon describe the scene exactly the way it is described in the song; people digging themselves from a grave, but nearly giving up and letting themselves die there, forever "comfortable". I also think that these lyrics are a reference to the fact that there are 4 people at first and only 2 get out and that they have been in the dark for so long that when they first go back to the light it's like being born again - a resurrection straight from the grave if you will:

Because I know what goes inside
Is only half of what comes out
[...]
To remind us we're alive
To remind us we're not blind
In that big black hole
Comfortable

The last song I will talk about, and probably the one where the references are the strongest, is the self-titled "King for a Day".

It is not a good day, if you are not looking good
This is the best party that I've ever been to

The man with the scarlet eye, which is literally Death in this book, is having a blast and his hunt for the last survivor is referred to as "his party". I just had a flashback of a spine chilling scene where he says: "This is my party now bitch".

Today I asked for someone to shake some
salt on my life

This, I believe, refers to the scene after Colonel Macklin's amputation; he then proceed to disinfect the wound by putting it in the salt water of a lake (was it the lake of Salt Lake City?), which of course causes atrocious suffering.

Look!
Everything's spinning
(We're on the ground)

I believe this is a description of when the nukes hit the military base that his hidden in the mountain (not, it's not the US Strategic Air Command in Nebraska, it's another one)

Never cheer before you know who's winning
(Don't make a sound)

This is also about the same situation, but a little before chronologically.. I think this is when they realize that one of the nuke was taking a wrong trajectory.

Let me introduce you to someone before the
party is done
Someone to look to in need or in want or in war
If you give him everything, he may give you
even more

And, finally, I believe this is about when Macklin and Roland join forces with the man with the Scarlet Eye (if I remember right).

So in conclusion, I am probably crazy and seeing things that aren't there, but next time you feel like reading a good book of fiction, pick up Swan Song and read it while listening to those songs - maybe it'll make sense to you too, who knows?

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