November 4th, 2010 / 10:39 pm
Massive People

Baby, I Was Faking the Whole Time

David Bazan’s approach to lyric writing is often to appropriate attitudes, functional approaches to life, or social or interpersonal behaviors which are almost always unarticulated, unacknowledged, or in many cases wholly or partially unknown to the person in whose consciousness they take up residence, and to literalize them into a first-person dramatic monologue of counterculturally brutal honesty. Here is one example, in which a husband (or possibly a wife) admits to his or her spouse that “I never wanted you /I never wanted to / Although I told you I did / In front of witnesses,” and concludes: “I know you never suspected / Because I never said / Baby, I was faking the whole time.”



  1. kyle beachy

      Kyle, this paragraph just earned my first ever comment here, this mightily complex and frankly contrived manner by which you’ve successfully re-packaged: “here’s a guy I like who sings bummer ass songs, check him out.”

      I keep reading and re-reading the paragraph above and I can’t stop. It’s hypnotically bad, or at least a spectacular abuse of the English language. I apologize for coming at you like this without knowing you personally, it’s not very nice, but by God, man! “Counterculturally brutal”!?

      I wonder if this will be like the first time sleeping with a hooker. Like surely I’ll regret posting a comment tomorrow. You can’t unfuck a hooker, I mean. No matter who you are.

  2. Kyle Minor

      I seem to be making everyone unhappy this evening, but I’m glad to have finally drawn you out into the open. I like the way you said it: “here’s a guy I like who sings bummer ass songs, check him out.”

  3. Blake Butler

      apparently after mean week comes Triflers Hating On Kyle The Semi New Guy Week.

      jesus, it’s a song.

  4. Matt DeBenedictis

      I’ve never seen this keyed performance in. I won’t hate, just say thanks for posting.

      This song is one of the few that Bazan has never explained publicly what it’s about. The long standing rumor (that some have claimed came from drunk after show chats with Bazan) is the song is about a couple who married just because of pregnancy, and after child’s birth the man confesses his honest feelings.

  5. Topher

      Actually, it’s not a song, it’s a post. And a poorly written one (first-person dramatic monologue of counterculturally brutal honesty!). The song is fine for dad-rock, I guess. Why not turn off comments if you don’t want the new guy to get criticized for the shit he’s writing (in public)? You’d think mean week would have made your skin a little thicker, but HTML Giant remains one of the great “Dish-it-but-can’t-take-it” spots on the web.

  6. Whatdoiknow

      Maybe you don’t like the adverb, but I like “counterculturally brutal honesty” for its precision.

  7. Blake Butler

      oh i imagine we can take it topher. that doesn’t make it worth thinking about.

  8. Topher

      Precise? How so?

  9. Whatdoiknow

      Context, motherfucker. Context earns the abstraction.

  10. Topher

      Motherfucker is so counterculture!

  11. jereme_dean

      the name “topher” is counterculture.

  12. letters journal

      ‘Control’ by Pedro the Lion is probably in my 5 favorite albums of all time.

      “The mattress creaks beneath the symphony of misery… and cum”

      Holy shit.

  13. Kyle Minor

      Devastating, right? I also like “I Do”: “The sperm swims toward the egg / The finger toward the ring / If I could take one back / I know which it would be / I do.”

  14. letters journal

      Or the song about the guy bleeding to death after his legs are cut off? Pedro the Lion is arguably Christianity’s greatest gift to the world… certainly Christianity’s greatest gift to indie rock.

  15. Kyle Minor

      You can get a lot of traction out of an argument against something you don’t believe in anymore but you can’t shake anyway because it was your whole life.

  16. letters journal

      Unfortunately, his new solo album (where he outright ‘denounces’ Christianity) is not very good. He should be Christian again.

  17. mjm

      And yet you’re thinking about it simply by commenting on it.

  18. deadgod

      Hills Like Off-white Wedding Dresses

  19. deadgod

      Hills Like Pearl-handled Shotguns

  20. deadgod

      Those are effective lines. The emphatic/enfolded:

      “I do [know that ‘I do’ was the mistake – although the sex I do not take back].”

      — ha ouch ha ouch ho.

      Not sure that I don’t think that “mattress” wouldn’t ‘squish’ rather than “creak”. ‘Squeaks’?

  21. deadgod

      “[T]hinking about it” doesn’t commit Blake to thinking that “it[‘s] worth thinking about”. Force majeure. That it was “worth” commenting on also doesn’t require that it was “worth thinking about”, especially in the case that the comment were adversatively forced.

  22. deadgod

      I think that Kyle (not tributebandonym) means, by “counterculturally”, ‘ungenerously; [perhaps only] discompassionately, with detachment; [probably not] maliciously’. If so, that’s not a “precise” reference to ‘counterculture’, is it??

      As I understand Kyle’s exposure/recommendation, better terms might have been ‘rudely’, ‘antisocially’, ‘sociopathically’ (no – too strong) “brutal”. ‘Frankly/candidly brutal’ would have been a neat turn on a cliche.

  23. Justin RM

      Depends on how you define “der Mühe wert” and “denken.”

  24. deadgod

      Diese Erlaueterung nicht der Muehe wert, ich ‘denke’.

      Aber natuerlich, es abhaengt von der Begriffsbestimmung fuer “define”.

  25. Kyle Minor
  26. mjm

      Worth commenting on does require “it”, the comment, to be worth thinking about. If you encounter an idea that you dislike or feel it is not worth thinking over, you do not begin to formulate an antithetical sentence-structure against said idea. You simply think a vague, somewhat abstract thought in reference to your initial auto-think, this abstract thought being: This is not worth thinking about. The reverse of this, making an effort’d comment about said thing you feel is not worth thinking about, causes your mind to begin thinking more deeply upon it because to formulate an opposite you must consider the “thing” beyond your initial abstract auto-think. You begin taking something far away, something of “unworth”, and bringing it closer to yourself for observation. Jackass.

  27. deadgod
  28. deadgod

      Worth commenting on does require “it”, the comment, to be worth thinking about.

      worth thinking about is not the same as worth opposing, at least in the sense I – and (I think) Blake – mean by “thinking about”.

      Yes, opposition is inherently effortful, and making the effort entails the “worth” of that effort being > 0.

      But to say X is “worth thinking about” implies – again, to me – that there’s genuine progress in one’s ‘thinking’ about X; one hasn’t simply made the same point to a brick-‘n’-mortar sentience (regardless of some notional third lil piggy within it).

      a) “hypnotically bad”; “spectacular abuse of the English language”: panicky rhetoric, but not – to me – un”worthy” of “thinking about”.

      But Blake was replying to topher:

      b) “‘Dish-it-but-can’t-take-it'”: Blake has not shown that he “‘can’t-take-it'” – to the contrary, his sarcasm is fully engaged, if – to me – not that biting. And when has Kyle Minor ‘dished’ anything hard-to-take??

      Do you see, even if you still reject, the distinction, mj? — topher’s misrepresentation – whether of Kyle or of Blake – is “worth” contradicting, which takes conceptual effort, but not “worth” effort in the sense of seeking some horizon of agreement from which sensibly to disagree.

      Epyllion fail, donkey-lover.

  29. mjm

      Interesting, although you make my argument for me. “worth thinking about” may not be the same as worth opposing, not the same as in twin-like, but it is the same as in one encompasses the other. To oppose, and not once again, begin an auto-think situation, requires one to engage, such as your example of Blake’s sarcasm. Whereas an immediate, unthought about reaction requires no thought-effort beyond ones pre-conscious mechanisms leading to the reactionary auto-thought.

      Your last paragraph is twisting my initial comment. ” — topher’s misrepresentation – whether of Kyle or of Blake – is “worth” contradicting” —- this right here has nothing to do with what we’re supposed to be discussing. Blake’s comment regarding somethings thought-worth can be isolated and dissected in itself, thus any surrounding comments, or commenters, beyond Blake’s comment are moot. Or moo. Or bird. Whatever, you know what I mean.

      Does effort require thought? Perhaps that is what you’re trying to get at Mr. (ms?) deadgod. There are varying degrees of effort, and varying degrees of what that effort is put forth toward… In my opinion, the effort Blake put forth was contradictory to his statement.

      Is that your point?

  30. deadgod

      [Replying to just: mj, not to just: deadgod]

      Does effort require thought?

      Well, I agree – I did say so – that it does. Where (I think) we disagree is whether the effort involved in thinking about something “worth thinking about” is – ok – ‘encompassed categorically by’ the effort in thinking about something worth opposing.

      I think not; I think I’m not ‘making your argument for you’, but rather, making a different argument – though I think your perspective here is “worth thinking about”! – , namely: that when one contradicts, one might be “thinking about” the opposed proposition in a novel way (which I suggest is the essence of “worth thinking about”), but one might also merely be pointing out what one takes to be an obvious imbecility. In the latter case, the opposition (“worth” executing) is to something “not worth thinking about” in the sense of ‘not reasonably to be entertained conceptually’.

      (I’d not changed the subject with topher’s misrepresentation; it was topher’s reply to Blake’s and (perhaps) Kyle M.’s first comments that was rejected as “not worth thinking about”. I’m contending that some opposition entails what you say all opposition entails, namely that the opposed perspective is “worth thinking about”, and some opposition does not. The difference is contextual: what is being opposed? That’s the crux, as I see it, of our disagreement.)

      Saying that the replies to tributebandonym are examples of “not-being-able-to-take-it” is, as Blake saw it (I think: reasonably), too foolish to bear “thinking about”, but not too foolish to mock (with whatever effort that’d take). I don’t think that, in the usefully colloquial way that “worth thinking about” is at work here, that it was contradictory of Blake to say, ‘bah! I’ll just say that your dumb remark is not worth thinking about.’