Thursday, March 26, 2009

Superdrag "Aspartame"

It will probably come as no surprise to those of you who know me that Superdrag's Industry Giants, released a little over a week ago, has been in heavy rotation here in the office, in the car and on walks home from work.

What is something of a surprise is that the band has already filmed a very nice video for the brilliantly caustic catharsis that is "Aspartame," a fist-pumping, contrarian rant against the establishment, the military and wickedness in general. I won't try and insert any more overly descriptive words here: I just plain LOVE it. Plus, it has two of the best executed dub breakdowns I've ever heard. Both John Lennon and Bob Marley would be jealous.

"some of the clouds are not clouds
some of those jets pose death threats
it’s coming around
coming around
some of your rights don't win outright
some of your lights are not lights
the consuming fires of hell
burn this place to the ground
burn it right to the ground

I just write songs
I don't carry a gun
I want peace and safety for my innocent sons and wife
I just love God
I don't trust in man
On with the truth against the wickedness at hand

If you wanna usurp the power
I'll be ready in a half an hour
Give my life for that
are the devils ever nervous?
do they deserve the death they serve us?
I’m still not certain of that

sometimes brains are mundane
entertained and restrained
and sealed up tight
all the aspartame and the video games and the drugs in the food
keeping you subdued
so you’ll never recognize who put out the lights

I just play guitar
I can't stop the war
I want peace and safety for the kids in kandahar
if you love peace
if you love mercy
you're bound to cause a little controversy"

Actually John Davis has long been one of my favorite songwriters for knowing his way around a tune and for being willing to indulge in the most blatant of pop cliches while at the same time harboring an affection for the minor key and weird. Usually his lyrics are not the primary reason I love the songs (see "Sold You an Alibi" and almost every track from Head Trip in Every Key) but Industry Giants contains Davis' best and most insightful lyrics to date. Plus, the music, is muscular, thoughtful and full of existential angst. There's real conviction in Davis' voice. Superdrag's music is the perfect soundtrack for a world slightly past the sell-by date.

A world in need of God. A world that needs songs like "Aspartame" on the radio.


Unknown said...

I saw Superdrag at the 9:30 Clubin DC last week, and I have to say "Aspartame" live was out of this world. I was fortunate enough to chat with Tom Pappas for about 20 minutes before the show when my friend and I were invited to Superdrag's soundcheck. We also chatted with John, who is just as kind, down-to-earth and placid as you might imagine.

Thanks for posting these lyrics! I've been enjoying the album for weeks now, and since the show, I knew I had to apply my lyrical analysis like I tend to do on all seemingly obscure Superdrag tunes. This one is certainly a gem!

Al F. said...

Thank you for your comments. It's good to see other people appreciating quality songwriting and quality music. Superdrag is a fine band, and John is just as endearing as his lyrics. Hands down, my favorite song on a GREAT album.

Ryan Townsend said...

I agree, thanks both of you for stopping by good to know that other people love and appreciate Superdrag as well!

SGRWebster said...


I've been a huge fan of Superdrag for about 10 years. Needless to say, when I heard that John Davis had come to Christ, I was overjoyed. (Both for him and for the kingdom). Love this song and appreciate your blog.