If you put together the songwriter for Cake with a morbid twist, the vocals for U2, and the music of U2 and Radiohead, you'd get Babybird. You know the musical artist is a freakazoid when their promotional picture features the singer wearing a pair of sunglasses with a crucifix over each lens. Their lyrics are weird, disturbing, and somehow cool.
In Babybird's album "There's Something Going On" (1998), there's something going on alright. I'm just not sure exactly what. The lyrics give the sense that this guy "loves" someone and is keeping them from leaving his house. What we seem to have here is a hostage situation. In "I Was Never Here", he says "and you can't say goodbye because I am always here. And you can't say you love me because it wouldn't be true." I'm imagining that this guy has his groceries delivered to the house and keeps his hostage drugged and in the basement. He loves his hostage, but he has given up on making them say "I love you" back because there's no truth behind it. But he can pretend. For example, in the song "Bad Old Man," you have these lyrics:
Put his smiling face on the TV.
Kiss him from your chair make him happy.
He drowned his stepson in the duck pond,
Let the wife-beater out to make a pop song,
Put razor blades in the icecream, . . .
He's got a young man who feeds him,
Whispers sweet nothings just to please him,
He makes him cool for the TV,
Makes half the man he is a celebrity.
Other lyrics are seemingly innocent until you realize the conotation behind them. In the song "If You'll Be Mine", the lyrics "If you’ll be mine, I’ll be yours," seem innocent enough until they're repeated over almost as if he's trying to convince someone by hypnosis. Other lyrics to the song include "There’s no feeling, there’s no feeling at all". In "You Will Always Love Me", these lines are repeated over and over again:
You will always be mine.
You will always love me.
You will always be mine.
You will never be free.
After all the repetition, the song suddenly reminds me of the original zombie movie
, "White Zombie
" (1932) where a zombie master
falls in love with the beautiful bride
of another man and turns her into a zombie so that he can have her for his own. Unfortunately, when he brings her back to life as a zombie, the only thing left of the real her anymore is her beauty. She's only the empty
shell of her former self as a love slave
In the song "Back Together", it seems that his little hostage is trying to escape. He pleads with them to "put the car in reverse and come back to me. Without you this house is a hearse without wheels." And demands the person to "Give me all that you have, if you don’t I’ll steal it." As the album continues, it seems that perhaps the hostage got violent in their escape methods and maybe even succeeded. As time progresses, the kidnapper gets more and more delusional it seems. Perhaps he doesn't even know what is real anymore.
The albums paints a subtle story as you listen. Each song singularly doesn't paint a story as vividly as the album as a whole. And the story is open to interpretation more than, say, an opera. These sorts of albums seem more rare that they used to. Perhaps this album and others like it will be the sort of catalyst that will help them make a comeback.