Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Guided Tour of Ten: Why Go

[A Guided Tour of Ten]
I probably have less to say about Why Go than the rest of the songs on the record as it is easily the least nuanced of all the tracks on Ten. It is pure anger, but unlike the straight ahead furious shrieking of a later song like Lukin there are some extra layers coloring its frustration, indignation, and especially confusion (this may just be my tastes but I definitely prefer these vocals, as there is more texture to them). 

Lyrically Why Go is perhaps a little more straightforward than I would prefer. Eddie usually tells his stories sideways, coming at them somewhat obliquely or with a degree of subtly not present here. But, like Alive, the lyrics are not doing the heavy lifting here. Why Go is once again about the vocals and the music.

Musically this is one of my favorite tracks on a record full of terrific instrumental work. This is dangerous, foreboding music, starting out with the hostile bass line exploding into the wall of angry guitars. You can hear the music pounding in the subject's head as she carves her thoughts into the stone walls of her cell, giving her the strength to pierce the rock, and it only grows in intensity as she continues to ponder her fate—not only trapped, but violated by the people who are supposed to unconditionally love and accept her

Eddies vocals are angry throughout, but I love how there are moments where he mutes it slightly, when the anger is soften by her own confusion about how she got here and what, if anything, she can do to get herself out--especially during the first chorus, where the anger is secondary to her bewilderment at the start, with the rage building throughout the chorus until it reaches the fever pitch that it occupies during the rest of the song, giving the woman (and the listener) an outlet for their anger. The lyrics to Why Go are meant to be claustrophobic, but the song is explosive enough to destroy the walls of the cell. 

Many of the choruses in Ten are simple (Release me, I'm still alive, Why go home) but the simplicity works in their favor—these are basic questions or declarations but delivered with so much weight, passion, and sympathy that they transport you right into the experiences of the character (in the same way that the word love is often trite unless you're using it to describe your own feelings). I also love the ambiguity in the way that the chorus is delivered. The lyric is why go home (what is left for her there?), but it also sounds like they are singing why go on—after a violation and betrayal this personal, what is left for her anywhere?

Even Flow 
Why Go 

No Code 
Riot Act 
Pearl Jam