Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

Signs of Evil

Have I been picking on recent music too much recently? After all, it's not like there wasn't plenty of terrible stuff in the past as well. So today, let's go back forty years and look at one of the worst lyrical compositions I know of, "Signs," by the creatively named Five Man Electrical Band. Our narrator here is an anti-authoritarian hippie who thinks signs are just an attempt by The Man to keep us down. I'm not sure whether he makes exceptions for road signs or not, but I think a fitting fate for this dude would be to slide off a bridge because he didn't heed the "bridge may be icy" sign. And this song doesn't just get stupid eventually, but starts right in with the dumbness.

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply

Are you SURE that's what the sign says, or are you just having an acid flashback? Besides, if that IS what it says, I'm not sure how to parse it. Does that mean SHORT-haired freaky people are okay? And what about people with well-maintained long hair? Questions, questions, everywhere a question.

So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do
So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you


Wait, so he goes in to complain about their hiring policy, and they offer him the job? The economy must have been a lot better back in 1970. And a hat is all it takes to make a freaky hippie dude look like "a fine upstanding young man"? This hat must be more impressive than Clark Kent's glasses!

And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and yelled at the house, Hey! what gives you the right
To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in
If God was here, he'd tell you to your face, man you're some kinda sinner


Sorry, one-fifth of the Electrical Band, but if I criticize people claiming to know the will of an ineffable being in order to promote their right-wing agendas, it's only fair that I do the same for your bizarre pseudo-anarchist position. I think what gives the landowner the right is that he paid for it. Hey, I have some socialistic tendencies, but I think the band's argument is rather flawed. Do you think the singer guy would like it if somebody was squatting on his lawn, claiming that God said it was okay? If He were here, I think He'd tell you to your face you're a friggin' hypocrite.

The song goes on in this manner, and I don't think there's any point in dissecting the rest, but this line is definitely deserving of mention:
Sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside Uh!

It's like, "I don't even need to bother elaborating on this. I'll just grunt, and that will get my point across just as well." To be fair, I think the song as a whole would have made just as much sense if they'd just grunted the whole thing. Finally, our long-haired freaky narrator talks about going to church and leaving a note in the collection plate because he doesn't have any money. I'm sure the pastor appreciated that. So this guy hates seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations, but is okay with mainstream religion? Yeah, I think there might be a significant flaw in that way of thinking.

So that's "Signs." No relation to the M. Night Shyamalan film of the same name, although they're both pretty bad. And they both mix religion into the story in a horribly awkward way. Hmm, maybe there's more of a connection than I thought.
Tags: music
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