30 Day Song Challenge, Day 08

Day 08: A Song That You Know All the Words To

Okay, with this one I am kind of showing off. There’s a lot of songs I know all the words to. So I picked one with a lot of words.

As a side note, Grooveshark widgets kind of suck…

Cassandra Gemini is by far the longest song from the album Frances the Mute, but it also happens to be the busiest song on an album chock full of 3-4 minute stretches of experimental mood-setting soundscapes. Unlike some, I happen to love those parts too – but this song somehow manages without any of those in its entire run. This track is pretty much the core Mars Volta band playing near full-tilt for thirty minutes. There is some ebb and flow, but it’s pretty full-on for the most part, making it easily one of the most suitable climaxes to a concept album you are likely to find.

Lyrically, Cassandra Gemini tells the conclusion to an almost-intelligible¬†story about a man’s search for his family, and the slightly horrible outcome. As always Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s words are full of visceral metaphors and general confusion – but on this record he seems to actually be telling a coherent narrative. You have to decode it a little, but that’s part of the fun. Check out the words from my favourite section of the song, some 11 minutes 55 seconds into the piece (section III in the grooveshark tracklisting above):

Twenty five wives in the lake tonight
Raw bark in the water of the marble shrine
Twenty five snakes pour out your eyes
Yeah the icepicks cumming on the marble shrine

I’m not sure how you interpret lines like that, but they seem pretty clear to me in context (hint: priests committing sexual abuse upon twenty five women).

In my mind it stands one of the Mars Volta’s greatest achievements, conceptually and musically – and I just happen to know all the words to it.

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