Lyrics Talk:Black Ops (Alt. Version)

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Black Ops (A Critique)

Black ops Black ops A holiday for secret cops Black ops Black ops Dropping presents from the helicopter

I don't think the opening lyrics work and it sets the tone for the whole song. Secret Cops and Presents from helicopters makes it sound childish rather than actually frightening and no, I don't think it works on any ironic level either

It's been a long year We've been so far from home Too many people here Here come the drones We take the best of it And make a mess of it Ripping up some lawn And then we're gone

The sing song a/b rhyme scheme isn't appropriate and the imagery is utterly un-chilling. The shock factor of the drones lyric and the simplicity of the rhyme scheme makes it sound like it's been written by an amateur song writer. Likewise the facile attempt to get inside the mind of the Black Op soldier reaches for the profound but is insultingly simplistic. Insultingly, because if you're writing a song about a serious subject whether you are pro or against or neutral you have to have some kind of intellectual coherence. Flans writes like a 13 year old trying to sound knowledgeable or worldly wise.

Black sites Black sites A thousand miles from day or night Black sites Black sites The story will remain unwritten

This is an incredibly adolescent lyric. Unwritten is supposed to convey the mystery one supposesin fact it's more smoke and mirrors to disguise how lyrically out of his depth he is.

Before we make you gone You'd best be running on Stick to the music child Don't get us riled Hey, there's a spot we missed I see a Communist And there's another one And his dumb son

This worst lyric is left until last. Utterly unthreatening one presumes the intended victim will be embarrassed to death by this onslaught. Flans straying into dangerous lyrical territory occupied by the likes of Duran Duran "You say you take it easy on me? You're about as easy as a nuclear war.' and Snap's "More serious than cancer, rhythm is a dancer". However, I'd argue Flan's lyrics are worse as at least the former are so bombastic and camp that one can laugh, and more crucially, neither Duran Duran or Snap are pretending that they are writing anything profound. Flans attempts (what he imagines) is a scathing critique of American foreign policy with some of the most immature and simplistic lyrics he's ever written

So why does it fail? Flans is more than capable of writing excellent lyrics but this is dire. In the main it's because he's in a foreign territory of having to write direct lyrics on a serious topic and he's aiming for a traditional emotional resonance. Much of the Giants output just isn't in the genre, it's post-modern, it's oblique. It's rarely directly political. The Pencil Rain, is the nearest thing he's attempted like this and it worked because the lyrics were direct and the melody fitted the mood of the song. In fact it was so successful and conveying the battle that melodically it got monotonous. Black Ops in it's orignal incarnation did musically match what he was trying to convey (the music is a beautifully recorded and pretty Radiohead, King of Limbs pastiche) but was undermined by a Flans singing far too high and of course the dire lyrics and poor melody line. On this alternative version any hint of menace in the music has gone by a teen pop Blink 182 arrangement. I'm at a real loss as why they've done a pop version. It's like Dylan doing a line dancing version of A Hard Rain. It utterly detracts from the point of the song. Anyway, it's a real blot of the Giants songbook.

The only other recent effort on a similar topic would be Linnell's I'm Impressed, which is a triumph. That song works mainly because of it's killer melody and for the fact that Linnell's lyric is more logically formed, he attempts and succeeds in demonstrating how seductive power can be even when one is opposed to it. A kind of ode to shock and awe. (Mr Tuck)

"Dylan doing a line dancing version of A Hard Rain.". that sounds amazing, sign me up! --ant 13:11, 10 October 2015 (EDT)

He'd make it cool. (Mr Tuck)

You mean They Might Be Giants made an inappropriately hardcore version of an innocent song about swarms of drones? This is really an aberration. ~ magbatz 14:33, 10 October 2015 (EDT)