07 March 2007

Four Winds

Not many other singers today-- maybe Win Butler-- could get away with so many mentions of both the Whore of Babylon and the Great Satan in one song. Despite Oberst's assertion that "the Bible's blind, the Torah's deaf, the Koran is mute/ If you burned them all together, you'd get close to the truth," his apocalypse is squarely Judeo-Christian in nature. But his lyrical imagery, obsessed as it is with the end of the world, slips easily between the local and the universal, the earthly and the spiritual--drawing together cosmic collapse, American genocide, and squatters in an abandoned building creating a graffiti mural "with 15 cans of spraypaint in a chemical swirl." "Four Winds" is the rare protest song that actually tries to present an epic vision of America and succeeds.

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