Review Summary: 'I made you a painting.........it's sexual and violent. I thought you might like it.'2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Freud theorized that all humans are home to two inherent drives: eros and thanatos. Eros is the positive drive; the origin of such elements as love, life, and sexuality. Thanatos, on the other hand, is the drive of evil, anger, aggression, sadism, and death, amongst other things. Today Is The Day’s album Willpower
is an overwhelming barrage of furious extravagance; an album that teeters on a see-saw that is in turn sitting precariously on a razor’s edge. On one side sits Eros, the other, Thanatos. The personification of these drives within the album take the form of such sickening themes as sexual depravity, religious ideology and philosophical meanderings that may not make for an easy listening experience, but most certainly make for an altogether intricate and thoughtful production.
The songs on Willpower
are all wonderfully put together, and all exercise a deep and intuitive understanding of what makes noise music so appealing. Song structures are dissonant and complex, but not so devoid of melody and rhythm so as to make the listener feel alienated. There are a couple of songs that feature ballad-like influences, such as ‘Nothing To Lose’, ‘Simple Touch’ and the middle section of ‘My First Knife’. With the latter, however, the incorporation of this element feels like idiosyncratic aside rather than a significant facet of the song. With the other two tracks, however, this ballad sound creates a sinister and intimidating result, particularly ‘Simple Touch’, which despite being the most hopeful song on the album, also manages to be the most disturbing in terms of its’ departure in style. Regardless, there is always a very potent undercurrent of angst and disquiet in all of the aforementioned tracks. Certain other songs on the album, such as ‘Sidewinder’ and ‘Promised Land’ contrast their tone with their lyrical themes in a somewhat jolting but remarkably clever way. ‘Sidewinder’ is a sexually violent and exasperated litany that features bawling, venomous vocals and a discordant rhythm structure that perfectly suits the perversity of the lyrical subject matter, and when all the music ceases save for a quiet bassline in the background, and a menacing whisper vocalises a trembling, ‘I kinda thought we were meant to be, I really thought you were the one for me’, it feels almost too disturbing.
The two songs with obvious religious overtones to their titles, namely ‘Golden Calf’ and ‘Promised Land’ are both pleasingly dramatic and present a real sense of foreboding in their sound. ‘Golden Calf’, much like the biblical tribes who are most famous for creating the idol in the absence of any godly direction, is completely devoid of hope. The composition is heavy and thick, but also slow and melodic, maintaining balance on the see-saw between the two drives admirably. The defining moment is, however, the parting blow of the song, which echoes the sentiment, ‘you don’t love me, and I don’t care’, with youthful indifference, but also masks an angry, oppressed bitterness. ‘Promised Land’ is perhaps the best example on the album of both rage and optimism combined. Flitting unpredictably between aggravated harshness and jauntily enjoyable tunes that are reminiscent of certain melodies found on John Zorn’s 1993 release, [i]Kristallnacht[i/], the religious connotations are again most prominent toward the end of the song, with the repeated yelping of the word ‘sacrifice’, in an increasingly hysterical manner.
Of all the themes that are presented on Willpower
, ultimately, it is love that is perhaps the most prominent. It is, nevertheless, in the presentation where the theme is dressed up beyond recognition. For as with all the lyrical leitmotifs that are showcased on this album, the topic of love is shown in a twisted, unnatural and horrendous way, mired in a slurry of degradation and repellence. Despite this, however, Willpower
is not without a somewhat hindered sense of irony. It’s clear from the outset that it is the overall product and not any one aspect that listeners should take their experience from, and because of this, the lyrical themes, however deep they may be, are worn principally on the band’s sleeves. I say ‘principally’ because it’s not as if the topics covered here don’t mean anything, but rather they’re to be taken seriously in the same way that the lyrics to ‘Prowler In The Yard’ are to be taken seriously.
is not an album I would recommend to everyone. Its lyrical themes and avant-garde style will put a lot of people off listening to it, but for those with an open enough mind for new experiences such as this, Willpower
is a startling and unpredictable journey that doesn’t seem to lead you anywhere, but you most certainly feel a lot filthier by the time it’s over.