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He just came from over there, the grass IS greener

MADVILLAIN "Great Day (Four Tet remix)"

I used to think of MF Doom as not quite deserving his considerable hype. While he’s obviously talented, I found that his lyrics tend to dissolve into word salad. Not that such a flaw disqualifies a lyricist from critical success – witness Elvis Costello, who's taken both heat and praise for it – but I like a little narrative arc to direct the possibilities of sheer flow. Listening to the infectious Four Tet remix of Madvillain (his Madlib collab) - all glitchy acoustic guitar and live beats – I think I’ve gotten in touch with the poetics of Doom. To wit:

Looks like it's gonna be a great day today
Get some fresh air like a stray on a straightaway

(To genuinely individuate, one must ignore traffic and wander apart. This masterless freedom necessarily entails loneliness. Jesus exhorted his followers to leave the inherited worldviews of their mothers and fathers; similarly, Doom knows that having a “great day” is impossible if one remains actively leashed.)

Lookee here, that's just the way the cookie tear
Prepare to get hurt in angle like Kurt Angle, rookie year

(One must accept outcomes unconditionally; concurrently, even approaching life as a fake, predetermined game, one can be deeply wounded by unforeseen events.)

Hey you, got a light?
Nah, a Bud Light

(Modern man, lacking the self-knowledge to discern what he truly needs, will settle for free market placebos. A culture that offers false hope in product will always leave one wanting: the paradox of living in a “free world” of vast and ever-multiplying choice.)

Doom, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
Why would the darn thing be wandering?

(Shared beliefs do not guarantee group identity. Concepts are tenuous when formulated outside social constructs. One must be brave enough to follow arguments beyond acceptable conclusions.)

She was dumb fine, but not the kind of type you might wanna wine and dine

(See: earlier light/Bud Light binary.)

It's easy as pi, 3.14

(Discerning between what one wants and what one needs is a difficult task. Attaining an elevated view [pi is a "transcendental number," according to dictionary.com] allows one to see beyond mundane distinctions to larger patterns of cognition. It is from here that efforts towards the greater good can be accomplished.)

[Apologies in advance: Yousendit now only allows 10 downloads before the file expires. God knows if I have enough traffic to warrant this, but if somebody does find a broken link where the song should be, please alert me.]


  • I love the dissection. I'm a friend of your sister's who has done some design work for MF Doom. I am also a huge fan of his.

    Thank you.

    By Blogger romanticore, at 1:32 AM  

  • Amazing. I knew there was something to Doom's lyrics but never this profound.

    By Anonymous rigo, at 2:37 AM  

  • Doom's lyrics are amazing, but this dissection of his lyrics is laughable at best. Intrinsic in his wordings is playfulness; manipulating words in an intellectual game. I think you are looking at the sky, instead of the proverbial forest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 PM  

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