Sunday, April 19, 2009

There's Nothing I Can Do

This isn't a tee-hee, "Remember the 80's?!?!?" post. I was tempted to only offer the audio as way of avoiding this impression but got to thinking the video might afford at least a little illumination. I'm a sucker for what I take to be neglected significance within popular expression generally regarded as disposable. And I think Peter Godwin dropped something rather deep, subversive, and McLuhanesque upon the public with "Images Of Heaven" (see text below). I think he's chronicling what he thinks is happening to him in his relationship to images. Dude doesn't like what's going on in his own head and he's saying so. Think Charley Patton's "Lord, I'm Disturbed" or Elvis Costello's "Psycho." The fellow isn't kidding around. Eighties earnestness formed (and forms) me, I admit. I don't think of it as prudish or obvious or overwrought. I file it as a sort of religio-poetic meditation/confession on the topic of what Blake calls mind-forged manacles and what William Burroughs has in mind when he tells us to look hard at the Naked Lunch at the end of the long, newspaper spoon. How do we characterize our relationship to the objects of our mediatized contemplation? What is the nature of the proselytization we're undergoing? What are we building up on our karmic accounts? I don't have a title for the mix I have i mind, but Godwin's jam will lead it all off, followed by Arcade Fire's "(Antichrist Television Blues)" and PJ Harvey's "This Mess We're In." Other suggestions are welcome. And don't we think The Killers would be very pleased if they reproduced the sound of this one in the studio? Isn't it what many of us are going in for? And doesn't it sound like John Taylor's bass?
Lettuce know your thoughts.
"Images of Heaven" P. Godwin (my attempted transcription)

Nothing is sacred
So, give me your soul, my love
Nothing is wasted
On someone like you

Somebody killed me
Then tore out my heart, my love
Somebody thrilled me
With photos of you

And there's nothing I can do
The media made you
There's nothing I can do
'cause you don't exist
you don't exist

Just images of heaven
that take me to hell
Images of heaven
Of something to sell
Images of heaven
Images of heaven

Something possessed me
An image of you, my love
Video visions
That play on my mind

Nobody blessed me
With power to reach, my love

One cheap illusion
Can still be divine

And nobody believes
In this new religion
Yeah nobody believes
'cause nobody sees
nobody sees

These Images of heaven
That take me to hell
Images of heaven
of something for sale
Images of heaven
Images of heaven

Images of heaven
Images of heaven

And there's nothing I can do
The camera made you
There's nothing I can do
'cause you don't exist
You don't exist

Just images of heaven
that take me to hell
Images of heaven
Or something to sell
Images of heaven
Images of heaven

4 comments:

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russ R said...

I don't remember this song, though in 1982 I think I was more interested in the Blizzard of Ozz. What it brought to mind while listening to it was how many other songs from the same time address similar issues of the disconnect between image and reality, even if in a less-thoughtful way: Def Lepard, Photograph; J. Geils Band, Centerfold; Flock of Seagulls, Wishing; Depeche Mode, Photographic - all from around the same year.

Holy Moly! said...

I think the Talking Heads' "Love For Sale", and the video that appears in their "True Stories" film mines this manufacture of desire territory nicely

Annabanana said...

Perhaps "Babyface," off Achtung Baby? Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" is arguable, I think.