Post Traumatic Sound Disorder
In which Alysa breaks down an album track by track.
The album I will be listening to this week is Andrew Jackson Jihad’s “People That Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World.” I first heard Andrew Jackson Jihad when I was a manager at Hot Topic. I had the normal playlist on the sound system and one of their songs came on. I was immediately enthralled and stared at the vinyl for a good hour after my shift was over, debating on buying it. I decided against it, because of being poor and all, and forgot about their existence after having a cup of tea and napping. A few weeks ago I came in contact with them again when my roommate played their song “Darling, I Love You” on the guitar and I wanted to swoon over the vulgar, bitter romanticism of the lyrics. I forgot about their existence again after another cup of tea and a nap (I am so very ADD.) Fast forward to a few days ago when they appeared on my Spotify while I was taking a music tour and they finally got me good. I couldn’t stop listening. This album made my heart flutter and my smiles endless. As my roommate says, it’s the soundtrack to my brain. So, being the new love of my life, I am sharing it with all of you today.
Track One: Rejoice:
“Rejoice despite the fact this world will tear you to shreds, Rejoice, because you’re trying your best.”
This song is a perfect start to this album. The music is so happy and the lyrics are so horrifying upon first inspection. The observer that is singing this song is seeing the world falling apart and burning to the ground but he is telling us to rejoice because life is still beautiful and it’s all we have. The song almost feels apocalyptic but the observer doesn’t fear the end. He is aware that everything is a fuck pile and it will ruin us but he is happy for the path there. The music compliments this feeling perfectly because it is so chaotic and joyful, which stays the same for almost every song. It sets the vibe for the album of blind, almost foolish optimism in the face of horror.
Track Two: Brave As A Noun
“It’s sad to know that we are not alone and it’s sad to know there’s no honest way out.”
This song continues with the theme of the world being imperfect. The observer feels like he isn’t becoming what he wants to be and that he doesn’t like who he is now. He knows that everyone feels this way and he wishes he could help them and end all the pain. He doesn’t want the people that he cares about to suffer but he is afraid that they don’t care for him the way he cares for them. So he hides it and suffers but he knows it’s not alone. Things can change but he doesn’t want to be the one to do it.
Track Three: Survival Song
“And I give props to myself for achieving, and god damn I’m glad that I survived, and god damn I’m surprised that I survived.”
The previous song jumps right into this one, continuing the story from the last. The music has almost a ho-down kind of feel. With the last song being about how he was afraid to change things and help people who were suffering from the world, this song shows how he overcame it. The observer broke through his shell of fear and learns what he needs to do to survive and does it. It’s a big “fuck you” to everyone who held him back and a big “thank you” to everyone that has helped him and continues to brings him joy.
Track Four: Bad Bad Things
“If I don’t go to hell when I die I might go to heaven…”
This song has a very obvious interpretation but that’s no fun. I’m going to scavenge a bit deeper. In the obvious interpretation, this song is about a serial killer that kills a mans family, ending with him. In the deeper interpretation I find that the observer is killing himself. He has a created a version of himself that had a good family and a mother that defends and kills it out of vengeance.
Track Five: No More Tears
“Let us grow the ball to break the walls, we’ve got to do it soon.”
Another short song. The observer goes back to the recurring theme of the world being a fucked up place. He tells us that we need to change and that what is going on currently is a horrible thing. He wants us all to be happy instead of putting the bandaid on our problems and just accepting how messed up we are.
Track Six: Bells and Whistles
“His heart will be bloated and swollen, just like his soul, too big to fit in his body.”
The observer seems to be overwhelmed with the worst things that can happen. He is distraught by the cruelty of this world and how terrible people’s lives can be but he also can’t even imagine how bad it would be for that person and how they would cope.
Track Seven: Randy’s House
“I hope our candles flicker and die so our hearts don’t burn to the ground.”
The music for this song is extremely panicky and frantic ending on a quiet, sad note. This is the first song on the album about heartbreak of the woman-kind. The observer has been left by this woman that went her separate way and is moving on but he is stagnant in despair, romanticizing someone who has gone. He would rather not feel anything than feel the fire of his love for her.
Track Eight: A Song Dedicated to the Memory of Stormy the Rabbit
“And I’d like to be a big ball of meat that bee’s can buzz around and eat when I die, so that I may be granted one sense of purpose.”
The music has a child-like air to it. The observer feels like human beings are more machine and animal-like than anything else, that we all just do the same things over and over. He is heavily dissatisfied with what life is and wants to have purpose and meaning.
Track Nine: People II: The Reckoning
“There’s someone in your head waiting to fucking strangle you.”
This is part 2 to a part 1 that happens later on. This song is about the evil in all of us. We all have that capacity to be terrible, awful people and everyone reaches that capacity. The observer believes the world to be a complicated mess, yet simple in the fact that we can expect it to be full of malevolent people and shitty situations. He wants to find his way but he almost sees no point in it.
Track Ten: Personal Space Invader
“Be the best fucking human that you can be!”
At this point I feel like the observer is done pleading with us to be better people and make the world less awful and is just plain angry. The song starts off with him still pleading but he snaps and starts getting frustrated that we do things that make us happy as individuals without thinking of the bigger picture. He is just frustrated beyond belief and over our bullshit.
Track Eleven: People
“People are my religion because I believe in them.”
This song is what the observer wants to believe. He knows that we are all a fuck-to-death pile of hate and stupidity but he wanted to end this album on a good note. A note of hope, maybe. He still recognizes that people do bad things but he loves them regardless.
This album paints a picture of a rose garden growing out of a mass grave, that life is still beautiful… even when it’s the worst. I made a “character” out of the lead singer, Sean Bonnett, and called him “The Observer” because I felt that is what he was. An observer of the world. He hates it, but he can’t help but love it too. Please listen to everything they have ever made because they may be bitter and angry but they are beautiful. They are the observers to our strange world and they aren’t afraid to tell us what they think about it.