Monday, 2 August 2010

21st Century Schizoid Man

Lately I've been catching up with the weird and wonderful delights of King Crimson, still going (with ongoing personnel changes - no-one could work with Robert Fripp for 40 years!) and still making thought-provoking music. 

Here's the lyrics from the one of their earliest - 21st Century Schizoid Man, from "In the Court of the Crimson King", made around 1969.

Cat's foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Politicians' funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Some of the imagery dates it, especially the "napalm fire" from the Vietnam War era.  Yet some is really timeless.  The last verse hits me every time - our blind greed, our addiction to the acquisition of useless possessions, our sowing of the seeds of death in the water, the atmosphere, the soil.  And while the enemies have changed, we remain locked firmly behind "paranoia's prison door".  Thank God for those who stand up for something different - all power to them.
Of course for King Crimson, the lyrics are the smallest part of it, so you should have a listen.  The music is especially schizoid, with the edgy, distorted sound that became their trademark and the benchmark for so much experimental or "alternative" music.  Chopped up rhythms, sounds  no-one knew you could get from a guitar, weird jazz moments and distorted vocals make you feel like you really have entered a schizoid parallel universe.  Enjoy!  Or something...

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