Tag Archives: music

A Discussion About Ultralight Beam.

“I laugh in my head,
‘Cause I bet that my ex looking back like a pillar of salt.”
'The Life Of Pablo' album cover.
This, personally, is one of my favourite instances from Kanye’s Ultralight Beam, and Chance, in his Biblical references, has clearly outdone his past work. The agitation of the ‘ugh’ a few lines before, and just the pleasant isolation of the individual’s voice and associations that the genre of Rap, as a whole, allows, interact brilliantly with the lyrical allusions.
The tale of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt is borrowed from the Book of Genesis, ans the story goes, that as two angels descended onto Earth to destroy and burn, ‘in Gods Fire,’ the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they allowed Lot, Abraham’s nephew, to escape with his wife and daughters. The angels then go on to leave Lot and his family outside of the city, asking them to move on and not look back, at the cities that now burn, in divine retribution, for their sins and vices. The sins and vices in themselves being homosexuality and material indulgence. The wife looks back and is immediately turned into a pillar of salt. But why? And how does Chance position himself in this entire discourse, when he uses this particular story in order to present an ex who clearly fucked up by leaving Chance, who went on to become a successful musician and a great father.
Of course, the same isn’t a very new and noble image in Rap music, and the obviously sexist foundations of the same are irrelevant to my discussion. All I’ve been thinking about is the interaction of these lines with the ‘bad-boy-turned-good’ narrative with popular Black celebrities, where the ‘bad’ is always indulgence of some sort, and the causes of those indulgences, which are often always systemic and associated with years of discrimination, are never addressed in their own — the entire argument against black celebrities such as Kanye, and Jay Z, and so on and so on.
These lines fashion Chance as Lot himself, and selective readings of the Bible present Lot as a brilliant man, who achieves a lot and everything, and that way, Chance is fine. But simultaneously, there are questions about the responsibilities that dropped on Lot as a husband, when his wife was literally turned into a pillar of salt, and as when his city burned, for the sin of seeking material enjoyment and sexual pleasure in sodomy. Especially, when you take into account, an earlier instance from the same Book, when Abraham and Lot are working on deciding who goes in which direction, and Lot, instead of following the path of chance, and divine predestination, that Abraham was working on, sneaks a peak towards one side and chooses it, for it presented itself as fertile and agreeable. And also, his troubled relationship with his daughters, because as far as my brief searches on Google revealed, there are readings in which Lot offers up her daughters to the citizens of Sodom to sleep with, to restrain them from going after the aforementioned angels. Umm, think about the reference to Chance’s daughter in the song, and with the claim that she shall stay out of the public eye, as he literally sings about her, and parades the same ‘privacy’ as a brilliant ‘public’ lyric. If anything, and I’m not arriving at any conclusions, the varied nature of understandings of fatherhood, and virtue, that this episode from the Bible allows is fascinating to note, in their own right.
Another reading of the same lyric could also position Chance as the city of Sodom that burns, because the ex in looking back upon him turns into a pillar of Salt. The ex has no motive to look back upon him, and if she looks back because he is now a successful musician and a good father, her turning into a pillar of salt is a weird thing, unless Chance means to talk about some weird meta shit, but that’s for another day.
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A Gathering of Rebel Meteorites, In The Middle Of Nowhere.

Bar stools, twisting,
On orbits of steel,
Reflected, that night,
The shine
Of a fifty few stars
That were all
‘Made in China’
And sold in Delhi ─
Gift wrapped in
Copper and tungsten wires ─
To adorn the walls
Of an apartment that had,
No one to call
His own,
And yet smelled of
Leather upholstery,
And hung-over infinities.

And on them sat,
Meteorites who had
Sneaked out, away,
From their inconsiderate parents,
To do the
Mambo number five,
And craft, in this

Inebriated haze
Their own galaxies.


A bunch of wayward meteorites, 4:59am.


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Radiohead, You And Me.

We reminded me

Of Radiohead songs

In the manner with

Which, we swayed

Against the tide of

The several instruments,

Soft and mellow, one

Second, and blaring

Our beings, to each

Other’s naked ears,

In another. Tracing

Words and worlds

That spelled


In oddly placed

Riffs and refrains,

Upon our bare and

Corroded chests

With our chilly, bony

Fingers, making each

Other bleed verses

That could only succeed

As songs of defeat –

In love.


Radiohead, Danny Clinch, 1994.

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Another Pointless Translation – Sabse Peeche Hum Khade.

I've added a link to the original song here, please give it a listen.
Happy Birthday, Maths. 
Original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdhNW2J2kyo

Lift your eyes and you shall see,

it is here that we happen to be.

Why do you choose to be indifferent,

not bad enough for this, are we.


Do not believe what the World sings.

Do not let us be lost.

It is easy to know this,

whether we belong to you or not,

only ever, if you ask within.


En-charmed by your eyes,

the world seems to be,

and in this crowd we stand,

[waiting] hopelessly,

right at the very end.


Came and went, evenings of pleasure,

came and went, people,

but today, that you come,

you shall forever rest,

in my heart and me.


Do not smile, and let this

pass, for if we ever happen

to cross paths, again, after

tonight, you shall only say,

not bad enough were we.


En-charmed by your eyes,

the world seems to be,

and in this crowd we stand,

[waiting] hopelessly,

right at the very end.

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Another Pointless Translation – Nadaan Parindey.

This is not an exact translation as I’ve tried to maintain the poetic unity.


O Nadaan Parindey
Ghar aaja
O Nadaan Parindey
Ghar aaja

Oh wayward soul,
come back home.
Oh naive bird,
come back home.

Kyun desh-bidesh phire maara
Kyun haal-behaal thaka haara
Tu raat-beraat ka banjaara
O Nadaan Parindey
Ghar aaja

Why do you fly over lands unknown?
Why do you fly, exhausted and crestfallen?
Why do you soar above countries you’ve never been to?
You’re a vagabond who belongs to the Night.
Oh unworldly soul,
come back home.

Sau dard badan pe phele hain
Har karam ke kapde maile hain

Your body has had a hundred injuries
inflicted upon it.
Your clothes, compassionless, are torn and
tainted with the struggles of your flight.

Kaatein chahein jitna
Paron se hawaaon ko
Khud se na bach payega tu
Todh aasmon ko
Phoonk de jahaano ko
Khud ko chupa na payega tu

No matter how fiercely you try
to pierce the winds with your weary wings,
but realize,
you’ll never escape yourself.
Break way all the skies, if you have to,
smoke away the World below you, but remember,
you’ll never be able to hide from yourself.

Koi bhi le rasta
Tu hai tu mein basta
Apne hi ghar aayega tu
O Nadaan Parindey
Ghar aaja

Choose whatever path you wish to,
you exist, within yourself,
and you’ll only ever reach home.
Oh, naive bird.
Come back home.

Kagar Kagar
Mori itni araz tose
chun chun khaiyo mass
Arajiya re khaiyo na tu naina mohe
piya ke milan ki aas

O, darling crow.
I implore, nothing but this,
eat my flesh sparingly.
I implore, I implore,
don’t devour my eyes.
For there still remains,
a blinding hope of seeing
my beloved for one last time.
Don’t devour my eyes,
for there still remains
the possibility of an unlikely union.

O Naadaan Parindey
Ghar aaja.
Ghar aaja, ghar aaja, ghar aaja.

Oh, wayward soul.
Oh, naive bird.
Come back home.
Return. Return. Return.

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