Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 5, 2014

An Explication of a Song Based on Titanismos

I partially blame Sannion for this…but another *certain someone* (one of my students, in fact) also had some influence in this matter.

So, there’s a song I’ve been listening to an awful lot the past few days.

I just discovered a cover of it that I like almost better–I prefer the instrumentation of the cover, I think, though the singing ain’t bad either, and gives me some ideas for my own version (which I will perform one day on NBC’s The Voice…yeah, that’ll happen.)

In any case, it’s catchy, and though it reminds many people of a certain scene from The Silence of the Lambs that was meant to be “pretty freaky” to many people (though not to some of us, even at that young age when it first came out and I saw it–it was stranger to me how people around me were reacting to it than how I personally thought of it), and the rather silly version that was done in Clerks II, nonetheless there’s a lot there to think about…

Or, is there? I’m not sure I understand what the song is supposed to be about just on its own, and the title line is also uncertain in meaning for me…

But, as I listen to it more and more, it feels like it is somehow tapping into Greek myth in various ways…and while I know that’s not what it is actually doing, or was likely intended to do when Q Lazzarus wrote it (and when Venus Infers and various others have covered it), nonetheless that makes sense of it to me.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

He told me, I see you rise
But, it always falls
I see you come, I see you go
He says, “All things pass, into the night”

Whoever is saying this is not just some jaded old fool; I get the feeling we’re hearing from someone who is really as old as time itself, and has seen all of the generations of the gods, titans, and those who came before them come and go, rise and fall. It doesn’t matter if you’re Ouranos, or Kronos, or even Zeus: you’ll rise, and you’ll always fall.

And that line, which is repeated again later, “All things pass into the night” almost feels even more Orphic, as if to say “Only Nyx never fades and is never conquered.” Or something along those lines…

It goes on:

And I say, “Oh no sir, I must say, you’re wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say, you’re wrong”
Won’t you listen to me

Now, as this part gets repeated as well, I’m not entirely certain to whom it should be attributed. The latest up-and-coming aspirant to the throne of heaven? Or the “younger generation” in some wider sense, who don’t get taken seriously and listened to often enough? Hmm…

The song goes on once more:

He told me, I’ve seen it all before
I’ve been there
I’ve seen my hopes and dreams lying on the ground
I’ve seen the sky just begin to fall
He says, “All things pass, into the night”

This almost feels like several different “sirs” speaking: perhaps our jaded old one of the cosmos once again, but then with the line “I’ve seen my hopes and dreams lying on the ground,” that could be someone like Ouranos complaining about his state, or even Orpheus in his loss of Eurydike. Then the line “I’ve seen the sky just begin to fall” is once again our jaded old one of the cosmos, before re-affirming that “All things pass into the night,” including the sky itself (and the different sky gods themselves).

And then we get the same chorus as above once again…

And then comes the title lines:

Goodbye horses
I’m flying over you
Goodbye horses
I’m flying over you
Goodbye horses
I’m flying over you
Goodbye horses
I’m flying, flying, flying over you!

Perhaps we’re hearing from Bellerophon here, or Phrixos and Helle? Or, perhaps, Demeter in her dragon-drawn chariot, or even Medea?

And, with the kind of metatextual matters that come into play with this song’s usage in The Silence of the Lambs, and the ways in which gender-variance is feared (and pathologized) by society, and sometimes by the gods as well, I wonder if that can also come into play with all of this…

In any case, I’d be interested in hearing if any of you have theories about how this could all hold together. (Or, perhaps it doesn’t…!?!)


  1. Well, crap. I should have played Unwoman’s cover of that for you while I was there. No matter, you can listen to it here.

    • Hmm! Interesting! I like some of what she’s done with it–the looping of the “hoo-oo-oo-ooh” throughout is nice, and some of the instrumentation is very good as well. Her voice, as always, is exquisite…and yet, some of her articulation doesn’t quite do it for me on certain parts. In any case, it’s very fascinating to know how many people have done covers of this…I hadn’t realized it had the popularity it does! 😉

  2. That is very hilarious, as I have ALSO had this exact same song stuck in my head for the last few days. And also because I was reminded of it by Sannions blog. The first time I heard this song it was at a late night drunken house party with some of my favorite people and this song came on. I had never heard it but everyone else knew the words and sang along in full voice at one in the morning. I asked the dj what song it was but had no idea of the context and forgot about it until Sannions post reminded me to go listen to the whole thing.

    I have found this mysterious paragraph quoted extensively concerning known meanings for the song, although I rather like yours.

    “According to its writer, “the song is about transcendence over those who see the world as only earthly and finite. The horses represent the five senses from Hindu philosophy (The Bhagavad Gita) and the ability to lift one’s perception above these physical limitations and to see beyond this limited Earthly perspective.”[1] Music historians have noted that the song may also refer to an experience the writer had in the basement of Pale Creation singer Nick Fiction’s mothers house. Though reference to this incident is allegedly made in the liner notes of the band’s “Twilight Haunt” LP, details remain scarce as the album has since sold out.”

    • Fascinating! I do like that interpretation…

      Although, this novel one I’ve advanced here has a lot more relevance for my own spiritual position at the moment.

      Sannion is a wacky ol’ instigator, isn’t he? 😉

      • That leads me to want to ask some questions that could turn this comment section into a full on theological explication. I’ll try to control myself. However, I must ask a general question, which may seem quite obvious. In relating the meaning of the song to you and your personal experience of the world, vis a vis these numinous entities (which you and I agree are independent volitional beings.. just to get that out of the way), what message do you bring back to yourself from this song? How does seeing the words as the perspective of a particular set of divine characters walking with you make this song something special to your path? Or is that just it?

        After a heavy experience beginning on the deipnon of Hekate this month, I have been contemplating in depth the interrelation of humanity and our Gods. Our quintessential separateness and our undeniable interdependence. And the distinct impression, however illusory, that in certain ‘places’ we can ‘go’ through the Mysteries that we are somehow simultaneous experiencing Each Other. Sannion finds Dionysos in the words of Jim Morrison and we both find some compelling, nuanced voice in this obscure cult pop hit.

        Also in terms of the gender variance question I found it interesting that a great deal of the discussion about this song in the youtube video comments (on the original track) are about how listeners thought the singer was a man with a womanly voice, but is actually to all appearances a cisgender black woman with a vaguely manly voice in that quintessential 80’s way. People even posted versions of the video with the lp label to ‘prove’ that to people. Very interesting, especially given its connection to the Buffalo Bill scene.

      • Hey, what else is the comments section for other than that? (Or, at least I hope that’s the case under the best of circumstances…)

        I take away two messages from the song, along the lines of the above: that it could either be an internal dialogue within a singular person about the nature of the cyclical cosmos (including on the divine level) in a kind of metaphorical fashion, i.e. a titanic rise-and-fall on a cosmic level taking place internally; or, and perhaps more to the point of your question in particular, I take it as almost a battle of worldviews, one of which is pessimistic but correct about the rise-and-fall of generations of gods/titans/etc., and one of which is optimistic and has a new message (which the older pessimistic view won’t “listen to”) and says that things don’t have to be that way.

        For me, as someone involved in various degrees with a variety of particular traditions with vested interests in such matters, it’s a fundamental challenge: how much do I want to be a “revolutionary” who helps to tear down the older aeon and its powers, with the understanding that the same will happen to those who tear down and replace the earlier regime eventually; and how much might it be better, preferable, or more useful to say “Oh no, sir, I must say you’re wrong” about all of that, and propose something new and different entirely? And, which–if, indeed, either–does Antinous more represent? The younger new generation of gods that will in some sense replace the older regime and thwart some aspects of it; or the younger generation that doesn’t need to replace the older gods because they’ll propose something else entirely that will make that titanic displacement model entirely redundant? It’s a mystery…

        I certainly have thought for a long time that just as we experience the gods through mystery traditions, rituals, and so forth, so too do they experience us in various ways through these means as well. It’s important to go on pilgrimages not just so we can experience numinous things, but also so that a particular image of a god at a given site (for example) can see us, as Hindus say.

        With Hekate’s deipnon, I wonder if the prohibition of looking back might not be for our protection, so to speak, so much as it might serve some interesting need or desire on behalf of the goddess concerned. Though it is a different tradition, I recall the Hebrew God saying to Moses that he’d pass by him and he’d get to look at him from behind, so to speak; perhaps Hekate enjoys a good arse-shot more than the next goddess? 😉 But, even if it’s not that silly a reason, perhaps there is something in it for the goddess to see us from behind, and not just that doing so respects her power.

  3. You have said something quite profound in the last paragraph there.

    Unsure if I could even begin to unpack how it hit. Good job.

    • I had a feeling that might be a resonant statement for you…the deities, aren’t they great! 😉

  4. Also I’d like to offer, since I haven’t seen how to personally message you here, that I live in an ex-Hare Krishna Temple in Portland, Oregon that serves as a venue for unconventional musical performances and other DIY cultural events. If you were ever looking to speak and/or do ritual down here and you needed a venue which was already a shrine to artistic ancestors and the home of a fellow polytheist and spirit worker, I would invite you to contact me.

    I have been looking at what you do and while I am not drawn to become a initiate of your tradition per say I am really down with what you do. Thanks for writing about it.

    • Very cool! Thank you! I love Portland, and wish I could get down there more often…but the next time I do, we should definitely hang out, and perhaps do an event of some sort. We shall see! The next few months are difficult for a variety of reasons, but we’ll see what might end up happening. I have a short interval at the end of June when I’m not teaching for a week or two, so maybe something could be done then…

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