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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Born This Way To Life: The many headed journey of the Veroni-Gaga

Hi, I know a lot of you have secretly been making comparisons to our new album and the latest Lady Gaga record, probably alone in your room, too embarrassed to tell your friends what you think, or even make anonymous blog posts about it, worried that someone might find out you dig Gaga. We understand. You aren't the only one - the evidence is overwhelming. The facts revealed in this post may shock and disturb you, but I feel at this point it must be said.

First, consider the facts: David Comes to Life was released June 7th. Born This Way was released on May 23rd, meaning the process of creating the two albums was aligned at least partially - it can be said with some accuracy that the world put into making each one was happening at the same time. The special edition (ie the definitive version) of Born This way clocks in at 74 minutes, far beyond the average running time for a mainstream pop album. David Comes to Life of course, is 78 minutes. BTW contains 17 tracks - David Comes to Life has 17 tracks, plus a wordless intro. The two records even took up the #1 and #2 spots on the Billboard vinyl chart for a week in early June 2011. Both albums are about journeys, physical and metaphysical, and use characters (characters who seem to jump between albums) to embody and represent their composers, are a departure in style for both artists, and both albums have been regarded as "conceptual" - it's these similarities that this article will outline, noting the startling similarities in the contrasting narratives, and will attempt to prove that both albums in fact the describe the same characters and the same journey, from different perspectives.

"Born This Way is all about my little monsters and me, mother monster" - Stefani Germanotta

"Let Her Rest"/"Queen of Hearts" vs "Marry the Night"

Germanotta starts her album as a statement of intent, outlining what we can expect in the first few lines - it becomes clear immediately that Born This Way (BTW) in fact relates a transformation - Germanotta uses the album to embody several characters along the journey, the first of those of course being Lady Gaga herself. However what is important here is that the intentions and changes Germanotta goes through over the course of these 17 tracks seems very similar to the journey taken by Veronica Boisson on David Comes to Life (DCTL) - so much so that it's clear that one is able to look at these two records as almost companions in narrative, with the motivations and personalities of the various guises used by Germanotta, and that of Veronica, almost merging over the course of each album.

"Marry the Night" starts off with the line "I'm going to marry the night, I won't give up on my life, I'm a warrior queen, (i'll) live passionately tonight/I'm going marry the dark, make love to the stars" which is close where Veronica is coming from. The first impressions of both characters is that of the born rebel - uncompromising, passionate, "good" (self appointed or otherwise) in the romantic/leftist sense, but with a healthy dose of darkness tossed in for good measure. BTW starts off with Gaga addressing her audience in character - DCTL begins with the introduction of David to Veronica, where she imparts to him the same message, as a protester in front of his factory. Both Gaga and Veronica begin their journeys as the classic risk-taker, there to enlist the heart of someone else to take the voyage with them, or on behalf of them. For Gaga it's her little monsters- for Veronica it's David. When Gaga sings that her journey will leave "nothing on these streets to explore", it can only conjure images of the fate we know will soon befall Veronica.

"Under my Nose" vs "Born This Way"

Central to the character of the classic activist is the justification of being and purpose - the heady, romantic and histrionic statement of intent. While Gaga/Veronica is putting her battle for acceptance on full display, David in "Under my Nose" is already starting to have this doubts, shrinking into what Gaga calls "the religion of the insecure" - almost rushing back into his insecurities after meeting Veronica. You can all but sense a dialogue between the two characters within these songs. While Gaga flaunts her "take if or leave it" attitude, David is only made more confused and wary by these pronouncements, with his "Sense of impending doom". Gaga/Veronica explains that "I'm beautiful because God makes no mistakes", a precious line indeed for a company of workers toiling in the grime of a lightbulb factory - David recounts that "he was born when God was looking away". Yet such is romance, this classic counterpoint of characters, star-crossed over the tracks in Byrdesdale. Despite his obvious anxiety, he buys into the "Born This Way" message - he "lets all his problems make their retreat", as he's implored to not "hide yourself in disgust, just love yourself and you're set".

"The Other Shoe" vs "Government Hooker"

Batting clean up on both records are the two songs where the narrative starts to take shape. Gaga/Veronica lays it out "We had our night/our real nature/no more time to decide/let it climb, let it ignite". Already we see the clock ticking. Gaga/Veronica starts to test David, telling him "I can be good if you just wanna be bad", "I could be sex if you just want to hold hands", I'm gonna drink my tears tonight and cry, cause I know you love me baby". Gaga/Veronica knows she has David right where she wants him - so in love that he's willing to go against his own good and careful judgement to appease her. David of course, can barely handle the pressure, knowing his happiness with Veronica is about to sustain serious strain, explaining "my friend dread is right on time".

Gaga/Veronica also outlines another important manifestation of her personalities here - the "hooker" character - the first of many different guises Gaga will use on BTW. It is important to start thinking of the various Gaga-avatars used on BTW and Veronica as one in the same. Classically, the "hooker" is a hardened woman dishing love on the streets for a price, but ultimately searching for a tender love of her own. This describes Veronica as well - the tough yet fragile activist, needing the love of David, away from all the madness. This is where the character starts to fragment - she wants tenderness with David, but can't give up on her rebelliousness.

"Turn the Season" vs "Judas"

These two songs act as the emotional touchstones and first climaxes of the first half of each record. In "Turn the Season" Veronica dies, the consequence of her wild side. In "Judas" Gaga goes through another transformation leading into the next track, aligning herself fully for the first time with her dark side. Judas is obviously the DCTL narrator Octavio (DCTL's own "Capital H-I-M"), the "king with no crown"/ "the king (who) sits on a crooked throne". "Judas" is her first downfall - "I wash his feet with my hair when he needs". She knows where this will lead her, but she can't help but love Judas, the embrace of danger, the marriage to violence that killed Veronica. This is the government hooker proselytized to evil. Gaga/Veronica explains to David that she "wants to love (him) but something's pulling me away from you/Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to". She has chosen death, and Germanotta uses "Judas" to explain the risks of such a life, killing off the government hooker persona in the process. You can almost see the Gaga character splitting in half here - battling between the two opposing forces of goodness and betrayal - "Turn the Season" deals with the same duality, explaining that light cannot be without dark, and within every life there is death. The nature of "BTW" also becomes clearer in "Judas" as Gaga explains that she is "just a holy fool baby, it's so cruel/but I'm still in love with Judas" - again Gaga is describing a sense of being trapped, just as the characters in DCTL start to realize. Is Gaga just another character, trapped inside the narrative of Germanotta?

"Running on Nothing" vs "Americano"

So begins the second act for both albums. In "Americano" the drama is dialed back, as if there has been a change of scene and perspective. It is clear that from this point, the "Gaga" character that inhabited the first act is gone. Veronica is dead, The Government Hooker has been taken by Judas. Gaga is now even using a different language (Spanish), as if to make it more obvious that the narrative has transposed into another character. Yet there are still messages for David - how she will "die for how I care", and the telling hint that she is "hiding in the mountains", the classic Latin American rebel setting. We know that Veronica comes back for David in the end, and she's leaving these little hints for him all over BTW. This love letter from beyond comes at the right time for David, who in "Running on Nothing" is starting to curse his fate and doubt his choices. He laments how he "towed the line so strong" - believing Veronica. Their lives have both been thrown into disarray - her hiding metaphysically in the "mountains", and him wondering if it was all worth it in the first place. Act two begins on this sad reflective note.

"Remember my Name" vs "Hair"

On "BTW", this track is a back story, a moment of reflection after the initial tumult. Germanotta reflects on how she became Gaga in the first place - troubles with her parents, her drive towards expression and freedom. She explains how she "want(s) to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am" - a direct message to David if there ever was one. Her hair obviously becomes a symbol for this expression to freedom - something we've all been able to get used to over the last few years - the wildly morphing hairstyles of Gaga in real life (and obviously the outfits that go with them) are a beacon of her tantalizing and romantic drive. While David just wants to "see sunlight in her hair", Gaga explains that she wants "her friends to think I'm Dynamite", which we saw her become on "Turn the Season". Meanwhile, on "Remember my Name" David is still in Byrdesdale, dealing with the aftermath of the dynamite. He wonders still if it was all worth it, and "Hair" can also be seen as another challenge from Veronica/Gaga - he knew what he was getting into with Veronica, and the contrast of these two songs shows that for Veronica, even her hair was a gambit worthy of her freedom-or-death (from "Generation", duh) ethos.

"A Slanted Tone" vs "Scheiße"

The perspective switches again for this track on both albums. On DCTL, we first hear from Vivian, the witness, on "A Slanted Tone", who joins the story to take a stab at Octavio, the narrator. In "Scheiße", the Veronica/Gaga character has taken another trip, this time ending up with some sort of dominant German-stereotype concoction. Again, this reckless wandering and drifting from character to character, and excuse for excuse tells us more about the motives of Veronica/Gaga - "When I'm on a mission, I rebuke my condition/if you are a strong female you don't need permission". Perhaps not, but the mission as we know, ended up deadly.

Both songs carry essentially the same message - Veronica just wants to be who she us, without the bullshit. Vivian is reiterating what we learned in Judas, that our king "sits on a crooked throne" - Octavio/Judas. It bears investigation as to whether or not Octavio St Laurent and Stefani Germanotta are in fact the same character in some sort of back-breaking uber-meta narrative that incorporates not only both albums, but the trajectory and real-lives of both artists, and all of reality itself.

"Serve me Right" vs "Bloody Mary"

David starts to grow a pair, lashing out at Octavio for his condition and how these events have left his heart. In "Bloody Mary" it seems that Gaga has shifted yet again, (speaking in french during parts of the song) almost into the guise of an Octavio-like character, the tormented royal. Perhaps in fact the Gaga character has backslide back into Germanotta, and "Bloody Mary" is from an entirely honest perspective. She sings "When punctures come to kill the king on the throne, I'm ready for their stones" - the narrator gearing up for the challenge of defending her/his crooked throne, prepared for martyrdom or infamy. Octavio and Germanotta start to realize their own roles within the narrative at this point as well - "We are not just art for Michealangelo to carve" - Octavio eventually owns up to his role in Veronica's death, but also explains that he was only reading his lines - his job as the narrator in a fiction. Gaga/Germanotta explains here that she feels the same way - her living persona has been clamped into the Gaga character, and she feels just as trapped as he does, yet she must go on, as Bloody Mary. Meanwhile David is still shouting into the air out of frustration - the tortured life of pain left in the wake of Veronica's own martyrdom after offering herself into the flames of freedom.

"Truth I Know" vs "Black Jesus-Amen Fashion"

The songs match up again here. We hear from Octavio on DCTL, and Germanotta on BTW. He explains to us the trials and tribulations of holding authority, she explains her motives and what led her to where she is. "There's no way I could stop" vs "I couldn't watch quietely" - they are singing the same song. She sings "Symbolism was left behind" - indeed ,they are both laying their characters bare here, beyond the plot twists and ego machinations.

"Life in Paper" vs "Bad Kids"

At this point, the characters of both narratives start to question the nature of "truth", that humble plaything of the gods. "Life in Paper" deals with the truth as written - David understands that as narrator, Octavio has a rarefied access to the truth, as to the listener, the truth of the story comes from him. David accuses Octavio of hiding behind twists of phrase and adjectives - effectively hiding behind the word. Gaga, in whatever guise she's adopted for this song, essentially says the same thing in "Bad Kids" - her Bad Kid persona exclaims that she "doesn't care what people say, (she) know(s) the truth" - "truth" in both narratives is a currency used to value the motivation of whatever character is trying to spend it. What denomination is Gaga using this time? She's still a bit back in time, taking us again back to the place where her character came from - this is another very Veronica song - "I am not a freak, I was born with my free gun/don't count me out less than my freedom", you can hear the sentiment reverberating between each album and each character. "I'm a twit, degenerate young rebel and I"m proud of it/pump your fist if you would rather mess up than put up with this" - obviously a foreshadow of exactly what would later happen. And just like Octavio will later do in "Inside a Frame", Germanotta hides her motivation on her place - "I'm a bad kid like my mom and dad made me" - both characters find their power and then salvation behind the script - "This is how I was cast".

"Ship of Fools" vs "Fashion of His Love"

Both records take a breather again and we get a bit of a musical and lyrical departure from both. "Ship of Fools" is meant to be almost a reference of paraphrase of the classic story-within-a-story device of the ship of fools. The central characters (David and Octavio) are represented on the ship two sparring heavy-weights conducting a boxing match in the bowels, lost at sea. As the mental battle heats up between David and Octavio, "Ship of Fools" is meant to act as a respite to the listener from the literal narrative of their struggle, and to put it in a different perspective. The song itself has a harder edge than the rest of the album, and is a more cogent annotation to the styles of music referenced on DCTL - The Who, Oasis, the popular arena rock bands of the last 30 or 40 years.

"Fashion of His Love" remarks on Gagas influences in the same way, taking a breather from the very modern sounding distorted bass rumble on songs like "Judas" and "Government Hooker", instead acting as a nod to the true inspirations for the record and indeed Gagas career - the flair of 80s pop demigods like Madonna and Prince. And like "Ship of Fools", this track represents the essential internal struggle on this album - the measured and bright eyed young woman that would become Gaga, and Gaga herself as portrayed on BTW - the violent and carefree rebel Veronica. She spells out her struggle: "I was never the kind of girl that's naturally sure when it comes to love, I was insecure/But when it comes to you and me/I can't deny this feeling I'm feeling inside/oh no, I've never been like this before" - a clearer message to David there has never been on this album. This is Gaga/Veronica in a nutshell - the girl who just wants to retreat back to Byrdesdale for love and peace and the woman who knows her true calling will force her departure - the essential thesis of BTW is this question, the ultimate choice between love and justice. The appeal of Gaga as an idol is indeed the exploitation of this essential clash - on one hand Gaga is the perfect embodiment of the American overworld - the shopping, the glamour and glitz that millions of young people all the world admire and fawn over, yet the Gaga character has always been a valuable incarnation of the underground as well - gay rights, being weird, her "monsters". As much as Gaga is the truest pop-star of the modern age, so much of her appeal has come from playing the underdog, the oldest trick in the book for a rising star, and effective as the Gaga character plays both sides of the culture.

"A Little Death" vs "Highway Unicorn (road to love)"

After a brief pit stop, both albums are back on the road. Gaga makes this more than obvious, as her character is now literally in a car on the run, "on the road to love...with the fury of a saint in her eyes". Gagas intent with BTW begins to solidify on this track - she's been on the run since the start of the record, but we get a sense of where she's going on this track, as visions of the American dream are used to evoke what everyone wants from America - "she's just an American riding a dream", "we can be strong, follow that unicorn, on the road to love" - these lyrics give Gagas struggle a sense of the characteristic American destiny - freedom, the open road, fast cars, and the manifest destiny that opens up the horizon. The liberty of the unique individual - Gaga is now the Highway Unicorn - that gilded individual sole constituent of her own layered American Avalon. "She don't care if your papers or your love is a law/she's a free soul burning roads with a flag in her bra" - the Gaga character is starting to embody this essential duality as the prime motivation for the American outlaw rebel character she lives in now - "get your hot rods ready to rumble/cause we're gonna fall in love tonight...we're gonna drink until we die"

Back in Byrdesdale, David retreats as much as Veronica expands, as he starts to embody his own particular destiny - the sad sacked lost romantic worse off than he was before he met Veronica. As she powders into the horizon on the hoofs of a hot-rod Unicorn, his own road leads him to shame and denial, their roads starting from the same point, backs turned as they run in opposite directions. Veronica starts to feel free, as the wind picks up her hair - David wishes for his life to "blow away in the wind". As Veronica is learning to embrace and not fear her uniqueness, David starts to question his own, that maybe their love was "not unique because it happened to me". He wants to have his "dreams carried far from him" - Veronica appears to be doing just that for him.

"I Was There" vs "Heavy Metal Lover"

The titles here are the first obvious clue that the narrative has again been transferred between albums - "I Was There" describes the bombing that killed Veronica in great detail by Vivian The Witness, who we learn was present at the time, using fire-and-brimstone imagery to paint a picture of heavy-metal carnage; "Copper from gold, the banding unfolds/The halo of hope goes from tender to cold", "A bomb in his hand, glass turning to sand/One union dissolves as another is made", "Mortals are mortar and life is the fuse/Burnt memories and shrapnel diffuse". While Vivians story describes violence in a real sense, Gaga describes a sexual violence, as "Heavy Metal" contains some of the most explicit (for a pop album) imagery in her story, setting the pace with "I want your whiskey mouth all over my blond south", letting us know that the more reckless and carefree Gaga has returned after a brief respite to figure out where she was going. In "Heavy Metal Lover", Gaga is unrepentant and committed to her wanton dream of freedom - "Let's raise hell in the streets, drink beer and get in to trouble" - which is exactly what is happening in "I Was There", as paper and fire fill the streets of Byrdesdale. "I could be your girl, but would you love me if I ruled the world?" - the same question again the David, who may have realized by now that he was a bit out of his depth with someone as passionately unhinged as Veroni-Gaga. You do get the sense however of a tinge of regret to "Heavy Metal Lover" - the focus is still on David. Veronica begs the question and repeats it as her refrain - "I could be your girl" - it's her rebel gamble, and we can tell she still wants both David and her wild life - and as "I Was There" explains, it ends up being the ultimate gamble. She is still at war with herself, as part of her whispers (interestingly enough, the vocal effect she uses for this verse is robotic) during this song "Help me I'm on display, baby we were born this way" - the Gaga character on the run is becoming as self aware as the characters in DCTL, and can still talk to us behind the various masks used on BTW.

"Inside a Frame" vs "Electric Chapel"

Electric Chapel is Veronicas final desperate plea to David, an attempt to appeal to his guarded sensibilities. Gaga attempts to strip back the layers of her personality that have come to frighten him, laying it on a simpler and less aggressive song than we've become used to on BTW. It almost feels like the conversation the two of them could have had right before the bombing, a glimpse into what exactly Veronica said to convince David to join her. She assures him that "My body is sanctuary, my blood is pure/It's not about sex or champagne, you holy fool", and then asks him, "if he wants her", to meet her at "The Electric Chapel", and obvious marriage reference, either between the two of them, or the final union of both sides of Veronica's dualistic personality. Sweet talk, with a price - "Follow me, don't be such a holy fool/I need someone more from you".

"Inside a Frame" deals with the figurative death of Octavio, as DCTL's "author of all things" recounts his own fall from narrative grace to the lowly depths of a mere character.

On closer inspection, the electric chapel seems almost like an allusion to death as well, especially based on what we've learned about the character so far, her recklessness, her passion for freedom, her messianic allusions and Manichaean dreams. Did Veronica know what she was getting into? The nature of the narrative in DCTL allows that the characters eventually realize that they live within the rigid structure of a play. In the song "Octavio Made the Bomb", released as a single after DCTL, we also learn that this is not the first time these individuals lived through the narrative, and that they've inhabited different characters in older incarnations of the story. Perhaps Veronica knows exactly what she is getting them into, because she has seen it all play out before, and knows that even in death her comfort lies in rebirth when the story is retold.

David becomes a victim to Veronicas duality as she makes him wrap his fragile straight personality around hers - "If you want to steal my heart away, I need something sacred from you" and how "together we'll find a way to make pure love work in a dirty way". This is where the tragedy comes in from David - not only that he lost his love to what he was so afraid of, but that he did try to change for her, to meet her challenge, and still it ended in violence in destruction. David learned the hard way what Veronica must already have known.

In effect, "Electric Chapel" is a retelling of the events of "Turn the Season" and "I Was There" from a different perspective - Veronica and David make their plan for destruction, execute it, and we live through Veronicas death yet again, at the end of "Electric Chapel", as the song closes with somber funeral bells ringing and Veronicas plea to David from behind the grave - "meet me, meet me, meet me".

"The Recursive Girl" vs "The Queen"

By track 16, both albums begin to take victory laps. The end of "The Queen" even lapses into a calm gauzy breakdown, suggesting that this is just the beginning of a suite of music that will conclude the album. Lyrically, there is a lot going on. The Queen is not a new character for Gaga, more of an amalgam of everyone she has been up to this point on BTW.

According to the recursive nature of the narrative, the character she becomes at the end of the story, the Queen, is the same that she started out as, the Queen of Hearts. The strength of BTW is that Gaga doesn't attempt to dial back or apologize for any of her characters - from the tentative rebels to the sacrificial deer in the headlights, to the reckless vigilantes to the powerful and violent lady-justices. By now her character has folded in everything from the pop royalty of The Queen, to the blind fury of the Queen of Hearts - she's everything now: "I can be the queen you need me to be" - the ultimate pop statement. This is how BTW concludes - Germanotta brings everyone she's been up to the point and molds them into one ultra-appealing character, which was the point all along - the popstar of universal appeal with as many faces as followers. We get the same symbolism used for Veronica, as Gaga explains that the Queen is "the wind and the hurricane/the stormy sky and rain/when you run dry I'll flood your pain" - a paraphrase of what Veronica (Boisson = drink) told David at the start of their adventure: "when storms conspire summers wane/She shines to burn away the rain/And when you felt only pain/She let you see the sun again".

"The Queen" and "The Recursive Girl" share the same essential message - on DCTL, Vivians character explains how each individual goes through each characters as the narrative is endlessly reset - the message being that there is always another chance for salvation. On BTW, salvation comes from Gagas ability to try out more than one characterization before landing on the one(s) that fit - in both cases, the recursive nature of the narrative is clear - things repeat, and you will always get another chance. Gaga knows that whatever is cast aside can always be revisted - "Don't forget me when I come crying to heavens a pheonix so you can remind them of the dream I bore" - the same message that Veronica will give David in their final encounter.

"One More Night" vs "You and I"

"It's been a long time since I came around, but I'm back in town...this time I'm not leaving with out you" - this could be Gaga or Veronica. In fact it's written about Gagas real-life (ex) lover Luc Carl, a message in essense from beyond, as it's her attempt to retrieve their lost love - a final message as it where. "One More Night" concerns the same attempt from David to deliver a message to Veronica in death, which is reciprocated by her during the finale. The struggles are behind all these characters, and now it's time for them to reconnect and reflect on all that they've been able to put behind them. Both songs represent the final union for each couple. Gaga is back from her journey through BTW and is ready to re-take her place in the corner of the bar, and would give "anything again to be your baby doll" - David is saying the same thing - he's given up his own struggle through pain and is at peace, ready for Veronica to retake her place in his heart. Through all the challenges of BTW and DCTL, the message is that struggle and pain are only worthwhile pursuits if they leave you a place to come home to once the dust has settled.

"Lights Go Up" vs "The Edge of Glory"

The lyrics to both of these closing songs take on the events of each record from a new perspective. In Davids case, we see him as an older man, looking back on his life as if from above, himself becoming an audience to his own story. Veronica is dead but he hasn't lost her: "I'm still in love with you after all of this time/The best days of my life were when you were mine/They'll be the branches I always use to climb through my life" - his redemption is that Veronica will always be a part of his life as a memory. These are Davids final judgements on all that has transpired. Germanotta has explained that "The Edge of Glory" is about the final moments on earth - this same final judgement. Veronica has given her love to David and is at peace, ready to take her final voyage over the edge "I'm on the edge of something final we call life tonight/put on your shades because I'll be dancing in the flames tonight/heaven knows my name tonight". The journey has brought them all to the edge, "where we can both fall over in love" - Veronica takes Davids soul with her as they goes hurtling into the infinite - her last romantic gesture to him.

Both tracks fade into the distant carried by a tremolo of sound , gently leading us back to where each began. Listening to each, we feel like somehow we've been here before, together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BEGN Singles

Hey the comments section from last post was getting weird, so lets restart. Today (or thereabouts) if you don't live in Canada where there is still a postal strike, and if you ordered BEGN, and if you checked your mail, and if you have a record player, you will have received the 4 bonus 7"s that were part of the packaged. We're also selling them on tour right now. So there are still some options. Anyhow, the art on this set is pretty cool:

As I've written on here before, this collection of records is meant to act as a prologue to David Comes to Life. We wrote these songs at the same time as the 18th that are on DCTL (other than the ones we wrote five years ago) and when we realized the record would be too long if it had 26 songs (and no, it's not too long as is, in case you are gonna crack wise) so these became the prologue, meant to describe the characters and the setting in a bit more detail. Either way, your DCTL collection is incomplete without these records. The last one is "Octavio Made the Bomb" which effectively is the epilogue to DCTL. You can probably guess what it's about from the title, but the lyrics kind of help explain the motivation for us writing this whole thing in the first place. It's a one-sided 7" (the first one of those we've done) and looks really cool. The missing piece is the "The Other Shoe/The Truest Road" 7" that we are also selling on tour, which tells the story of Nick Fenstle, who owns the Lightbulb Factory

Random Facts About The Artwork:
-David Eliade is Ian from the band $100
-Vivian Benson is our friend Kate who is also on the cover of "The Beat and the Pulse" by Austra
-Octavio St Laurant is a Beggars Banquet employee
-The town on th Byrdesdale 7" is where Ben's real life mom was born
-It's the same lightbulb on each cover (and the back cover of DTCL, and the front)
-Nick Fenstle is Josh's Dad, and every member of Josh's family appears on the cover of DCTL
-The thing in the bottom right corner is the Fucked Up logo

Sunday, June 26, 2011


HEY NY thanks for everything even tho we all evaporated tonight at 285 Kent and are pretty much just clouds of hipster molecules at this point floating around. We are heading south to Philly, "The Other New Jersey" tommorow to see some friends and play some music, at the 1st Unitarian Church. Hope to see you there! Watch out tho, cause Jonah just discovered planking:

Friday, June 24, 2011


Hey dudes we are playing New York again on Saturday - thanks to everyone for coming to Terminal 5 last night, it was really fun. So anyways, we're playing in Brooklyn this saturday at 285 Kent, with JEFF The Brotherhood and IceAge - the invite thing is right HERE. We all hope that Liam Gallagher will have another after party after this show that we can go to. Anyways, hope to see you there. I'm sure we will play very late! Also Damian shaved a bear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hey look we finally made a real video (well Scott Cudmore did)

Friday, June 17, 2011


Thanks Toronto, both shows were very fun. Here is one:

Fucked Up @ NXNE from NOW Magazine on Vimeo.


You can read a review of the show right HERE.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Hey, we are doing some shows in Toronto tommorow. Make sure you go cause we won't be back to play until the fall (ha, we live here).

8PM YOUNG AND DUNDAS SQUARE - it's free. It's at Yonge (and Dundas). You don't need a pass or to line up. You've been there right? Right across from Eatons Center. Then stick around for OFF who are playing right after us.

- This one costs $15 or something, unless you have a nxne pass. A few other cool bands are playing, including Jennifer Castle at 9pm.

We are gonna play different songs (somewhat) at each show. If you only come to the free one, we will know you are a crusty (and trust us we will see everyone and will be making notes).

If you don't come to these it will make us very sad, almost as sad as when the guy from Neon Blud talked shit on us on VIVA LA VINYL even though we took them on tour with us, or when I got kicked out of the "FUCKED UP" group on facebook.

Also guess what: June 2011 is our TENTH ANIVERSARY month. We all forget the exact date, but it's not like we're married so whatever. Will we do a secret show at whatever is where Planet Kensington was (our first ever show was there)? Who knows!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

VISH Part 2

Hey so remember last week when I wrote out this thing about VISH. Well the next morning we went to have breakfast with him. Not at his house or anything close like that, we went to a place on Bay street called Yo Gabberdine. Because he does another show on CBC(3) where he takes bands out to eat breakfast and for half the show you talk about what you eat, which is actually a nice respite from talking about why you decided to write a rock-opera, which isn't even really what you did in the first place. Another thing you seem to always have to talk about when you are in a band is why you don't get along with Vish? Like one thing I can always count on getting asked is "Did you guys set out to form the most disfunctional band with Vish in it"? The answer is no, we just wanted to be a cool band. "I've read a lot in other interviews about how you guys don't really get along with Vish on tour?" I mean, it just isn't true, we all get along fine. This interview, and the way I'm looking at him in the picture up there, should be a testament to that. When we do another album big enough to warrant the kind of press that gets your breakfasts paid for, I'm hoping we can do it again.

Also - I haven't listened to this interview yet, so I hope it's not that embarrassing. You can download the interview right HERE.

Well, you can read about it on the matablog right HERE. It mostly applies to people who live in England, but whatever. Have you ever heard of the band Belle And Sebastian? Well, we have, and that's mostly how we came up with the idea for this contest. You may know by now that we just released a record about LOVE and ROMANCE. Well, this is your chance to show us some LOVE and ROMANCE (if you live in England, because our label in the UNITED STATES was not interested in this bullshit) by doing what it says on the link I just put up - basically you can get some of those nice postcards we made of the 5 characters from DCTL (yes there are five, did you not pay attention to all the lyrics?) from participating record stores, and write out love letters or how you feel about someone else secretly, or some missed connection style nonsense or tell us about the crush you had on Ben when you were 12 from watching Goosebumps, or whatever. I mean, I'm sure you have some ideas already. You people (Shakespeare) invented the love letter. And I'll be honest - we're gonna be judging these things. I'm into earnestness, realness - I don't like to play games. If you just write some nonsense about how much you love records or Sandy, or something about how you loved our old records - that's not gonna do it for me. This isn't the comments section. There is a prize people, so I want to see real tear stains on these postcards.

Don't live in the UK? Well that's cool. Lucky for you, we're SELLING those postcards stateside from our webstore. Not for an arm and a leg, mind you, it's maybe $5 for a set of 5, which is not bad. And those you can do whatever you want with (let me guess: you are a male record collector and althought like 90% of your being is telling you to buy these postcards for your "collection" there is this sliver of radiant hope that you will actually get these in the mail and you will in turn write something sweet on them and send them to an actual real person - your girlfriend, you mom, a penpal in Kenya, whatever. The postcards show up and they sit next to your Fucked Up records taunting you until 4 or 5 years later you move and the [near]mint postcard set goes in the trash at which point a racoon finds them in your trash and tries to eat them) - you can even write suggestions and send them to me (it's not hard to find my personal address - I am famous), which I would find highly enjoyable, seeing how that would mean we'd figured out a way to sell something to someone and actually have them pay (postage) to send it back to us. You can get those postcards FRESH on our merch store right HEREEEEEEEEEE. Anyways the VISH sendspace is done uploading so I'm gonna stop writing now.

(maybe) Thursday: Big article on LFG about LADY GAGA
(maybe) Friday(?): FU on Q radio program

Thursday, June 09, 2011


When you are young and fresh you look at the world and expect everything to stay the same forever. When I first starting taking the train downtown for punk shows at the Opera House, or in the basement of Who's Emma, or nervously venturing into squats and apartments around the market, I felt like I would find a new exciting place to see music and make friends every weekend, for the rest of my life. As time passed, this new world enlarged, as did my place in it - more friends, more knowledge, more records, more bands. I was young and there was always things to look for, people to look up to. People that formed what I could tell was the foundation of what I was experiencing, started to pop up more regularly, we could start to interact with it all. You start to meet the people who put on the shows, the people who put out the records, and this world starts to take a different shape and get more colourful, as you engage. It was an exciting thing to grow into. As time goes on, things start to change again - years go by and you look back and wonder where your friends ended up, why the same things no longer excite you, maybe you wonder what was the point of it all in the first place. There are fights, you learn more about the bullshit, you stop caring, or pretend to stop caring, and things fade away. Ten years later and it's almost like a dream, it's hard to imagine you came from where you did, when you look back.

But there are these guideposts, these pillars, that don't change. These people that remind you about what you used to feel like when you were a kid, they remind you about why it was all so exciting, and why it will always be exciting for someone. Imants was one of those people. We met Imants maybe at age 17, 18. He was this old/ageless guy from Hamilton how had this record collection, tales of which preceded it. Before meeting him we knew these indelible facts - he had seen the Velvet Underground, he had bought a Negative Approach 7" out of the box at the record release show. He was this living time warp we had access to, which if you think about it, is what a community is all about - those links between generations that enable consistency and let things survive. He was this living link to the things we could only ever read about or see pictures of - but here was this guy who had done it all, and we could ask him. Not only that, he wasn't coveting it, he wasn't this relic, he was still there with us, still picking 7"'s out of the box and record release shows, 30 years later. I never discounted the importance of what he was doing - he bought our first record out of my hand. What did that mean? I was young, unsure of what I was doing, but Imants wasn't unsure, and he should know. He did know. It's rare to find people like this, anywhere. I know I'll never be like that - I'm more of a relic at 30 than he was at 60. What makes the world go around is participation - doing it, those hands across time making the links to what you revere and what you create yourself. He loved the music like no one else, and for us there was really no one like him.

Cool FADER thing

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Monday, June 06, 2011


Hey the webcam is LIVE. Please spread around the embed code and embed it in your facebooks and blogs, cool? Just click the "share button" on the player, and get the code from the EMBED area, and then copy and paste that code wherever, ok?

Live Video streaming by Ustream


Hey wow, it's all happening tonight. Did you know that Ben made a wicked facebook invite page for the thing tonight? Well it's right HERE and he'd appreciate it if you "RSVP"-ed.

Anyways, hope to see you all (264 of you [and counting {ben is}]) tonight. If you don't live in Toronto or are an extremem penny-pincher, there is another exciting and confusing way for you to take part in tonights festivities. Maybe you have noticed all the marketing stuff our record label Matador has been doing over the last few weeks/months? Well it all culminates tonight with their "virtual popup store" which is like such an insane confluence of hyper-modern current realities that I kind of don't even want to go into it. I got sent a few emails explaining what is going to happen tonight but I could barely understand any of it, and trust me, I'm pretty smart. The long and the short of it though, for you the fan (ie the "consumer") is for a few brief moments (literally) in (real) time tonight you will have a chance to get DCTL cheap, in the deal of the epoch sale. Maybe you should just read more about it right HERE. For the first 2 minutes of June 7th, you will be able to get DCTL for $3.99, which is a pretty good deal, providing that their powerful servers don't crumble under the weight of your desire for the record (although lets face it, I think that's what every one is not-so-secretly will happen; them, so that they have an excuse not to dole out so many records at such a bonus but also have an alibi to place the blame; us, so that you will have to buy a hard copy at our store instead and pay us full price (a price at which we make maybe $1.21 profit on each $18 record) (and also because the profit margin on a $4 album doesn't really do anything to help our recoupables ;)); and lastly you, so you will feel part of something greater than all this commerce, for that rare glimpse into the collective hysteria that can rip through and crumble the established bricks and morter (virtual or not) safe houses of reified value and art? Isn't that what this is all about in the first place? The horrible yet fascinating full frontal social nudity, the bodies trapped and trampled in Walmart vestibules, or fiber optic cables, dimished dollar signs floating around our dazed heads?

Anyways, so that's something to think about for those two minutes tonight. Rush in, giddy and bright, wait up for it, stay up. We'll all be there clinking our glasses together, laughing, playing. The price will start to soar after those minutes are up, as they always do! Good luck.

OH ALSO - here is some more info on NXNE:

The schedule for the Wrongbar show that night is (in reverse order):

Jennifer Castle 9PM
Tanika Charles & The Wonderfuls 10PM
Allie Hughes 11PM
Anagram 12AM
Fucked Up 1AM
Light Fires 2AM
Lucie Tic 3AM


Thursday, June 02, 2011



Hey you can download this now, right HERE. It's just the talking parts tho, without the album sequenced in, cause as if I'm going to give you a download link for an entire free album that isn't the new Cut Copy record. SO it might be a little confusing, but basically if you want to follow along at home, just play two songs in between every one of these clips and you will be fine.

Hey so our friend vish works for CBC3, which is the Canadian equivalent of like BBC19, if that existed, cause it's kind of buried somewhere on the internet. Actually maybe it's on the "airwaves" too, I have no idea. I only listen to CBC1 on my itunes. My stereo doesn't really pick it up even though I can pretty much see the radio towers on the CBC building from my house, beaming their signals who knows where. Not to my house.

Anyhow we met Vish a few years ago after he'd asked us to be on his CBC(internet)radio3 show "The Breakfast Club" where he asks bands to be interviewed at like 9am around the breakfast table at the diner of their choosing, and then often doesn't even ask them to pay for it. We all got along really well, except me and Vish, because he started bugging me about not having a license the minute I sat down. It was all hilarious, and you can hear clips from that interview on Mix Tape 4. Anyhow we sorted it all out and almost asked him to be our roadie for a tour in Canada that kind of never happened.

ANYWAYS sorry this post is ridiculous, I'm listening to another interview while I type this - he just did this funny thing with Josh and Ben and Damian where they listen to the whole album and share little anecdotes and funny stories throughout. You can listen to the whole thing right HERE. He seems to really dig the album. Funnily enough, we're doing Breakfast Club part TWO with Vish tommorow morning! That should be fun - see you in 10 hours VISH.