What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?
Publisher: Virgin Records America
Mon, 26 September 2005
by: Special K
Email the Author
The message of peace hasn't changed - it's just that I never heard it in music before. Yeah sure the Beatles and "Give peace a chance" was about the only peace song I know for the simple reason that it has peace in the title. That was until A Perfect Circle released eMOTIVe. It is one of the first albums that made me sit up and listen to the lyrics and hear the message of the song.
The most surprising thing was the complete lack of publicity for the album. I'm a bit slow off the mark with this one as it was released in Australia in November.
Track 1 - "Annihilation"
"NOT SO QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT" (1982)
With the music-box like tune playing behind this track, I'm sure it's been done for atmosphere but it carries a simple message to decide between peace or annihilation.
Track 2 - "Imagine"
This is clearly a stand-out track. I'm sure there are a lot of John Lennon loyalists saying they have butchered the song. From my perspective it is perfect – when you consider the current "War on Terror" being waged by the United States.
Track 3 - "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding"
Elvis Costello & the Attractions
"ARMED FORCES" (1979)
A favourite track on the album - but for "head up rectum" reasons. Billy Howerdel's vocals are nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately I have not heard the Elvis Costello original
Track 4 - "What's Going On"
"WHAT'S GOING ON" (1971)
This is another of the tracks where I had a chance to listen to the original as well as the Perfect Circle cover. The music that accompanies this song is almost misleading. The funky Marvin Gaye original makes me just want to bop along to the track as if he's serenading his lover while the song deals with the uphill battle of the protester in their efforts to get their message across. To think that I've been walking around oblivious to the message of this song for so long is pretty tragic really.
Track 5 – "Passive" (TK)
A Perfect Circle
This is an original Perfect Circle track, dealing with "Passive Aggressive" personalities. That's my guess anyway. Good track though.
Track 6 - "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie"
"EVERYTHING WENT BLACK" (1983)
You would have to have been living under a rock for quite some time to not know Mr Henry Rollins. Once again the Perfect Circle crew have emphasised the message of the song. The vocals evoke images of a maniacal world leader and the power to plunge the world into despair with the push of a button. It seems to have a greater impact than the original flat-out punk Black Flag version.
Track 7 - "People Are People"
"PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE" (1984)
This was one of the tracks where I was able to track down the original recording. Because I'm not a huge electronic music fan, the drum machine annoyed me throughout the entire song.
Unless you really listen to the track for the lyrics, it comes out sounding ultimately cheesy. Capped off by the atrocious line "You and I get along so awfully". Fortunately, in this cover version, they changed the lyric but it is still the weakest track on the album.
Track 8 - "Freedom Of Choice"
"FREEDOM OF CHOICE" (1980)
Now I'm really going to show my ignorance. Basically when I think of Devo, I think of Whip It (And now that I've been exposed to the Simpsons for more than a decade – Waylon Smithers singing about liquorice to the tune of Whip It!)
This is a great song and Billy Howerdel carries it beautifully. I think I'm going to have to do a bit more research into Devo from now on.
Track 9 - "Let's Have A War"
"THE RECORD" (1982)
A disturbing track that deals with justifying and gaining support for a war effort. Not the greatest track on the album but suitably dark.
Track 10 - "Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of the War Drums"
A Perfect Circle
This song is composed from verses taken from "Pet" on the Thirteenth Step album. That's where the similarities end. The eMOTIVe version is given a far bleaker feel with the heavy percussion and ultra-distorted guitars, which make it sound positively evil.
Track 11 - "When The Levee Breaks"
I don't care whether Led Zeppelin made this track famous, it sucks. Press Skip.
Track 12 - "Fiddle And The Drum"
Maynard lays down some awesome harmonies on this track. But it is amazing that this song, penned in the final years of the Vietnam War, is all too appropriate for the current US occupation of Iraq.
I'm not going to try and make up for it. When it comes to looking for deep meanings in lyrics, I'm not a big one for it. Maybe it's a result of being part of the MTV generation and having such a short attention span. I think unless there are scantily clad women gyrating on the screen I tend to ignore certain qualities of songs.
While this won't be to everyone's liking, it's pretty obvious that the songs were chosen for their relevance to the current situation in Iraq. It is a little harrowing that songs written around the time of the Vietnam War are still so relevant today. I thought we'd learnt from our mistakes.
Visit the official site and look at the mock war posters www.aperfectcircle.com
by: Special K
Email the Author
More articles by Special K
Take time to have a listen and appreciate the message of this album