Thursday, 13 September 2012

Don't fear the reaper!

Today evening, I was stuck in a bit of a dark place. I mean literally. At around 1900 IST my residential area lost power. Usually in such cases the UPS always kicked in. But that didn't happen this time. Once the power returned, all the phases of our house were working except for the lighting phase because of a blown fuse. The problem could be resolved only after my father arrived from work. As a result I had to spend two hours of quality time with my dear friend Darkness (Guess my mum is a bit jealous of darkness now).

The Reaper - Namita Anil Kumar
Darkness! Well it wasn't entirely dark. A few candles spread their halo in certain corners of the house. The fact that we had candles in my house was slightly surprising considering the fact that it is the 21st century. The darkness didn't seem to bother my dog. So, she spent time in her favorite spot, that is, next to a window on the top of a staircase, which overlooked the plot of land behind my house. Having absolutely nothing great to do, I spent an hour with beside her, just stroking her fur. As I sat there caressing her, I hummed a song. The song I was humming was "Don't fear the reaper" be Blue oyster cult.

Till this date, whenever I told someone that I liked Blue oyster cult, I received either one of these reactions: "Blue oyster who???" or "Weirdo!" Both of the reactions end up with the same result that is my frustration. I find it unbelievable that certain people haven't heard of them and that certain others find their music to be queer. They are my favorite American psychedelic rock band. Their songs like "Burnin' for you", "Astronomy", "Black blade" are some of their best! But, while talking about their best "The reaper" undeniably tops the list.

"The reaper" was a part of their album "Agents of fortune". It was written by their lead guitarist Buck Dharma. Well, if you have heard the song then it'll be pretty obvious as to why I was humming that song. For those who haven't heard it, its the opening riff. Its a very clean sound. The entire song is centered around that riff.

The lyrics of the song are fairly simple, but they convey a lot. It talks about the inevitability of death and how its stupid to fear it. Dharma wrote about how elements of nature keep changing without fear and how its necessary to learn from such free spirits. We will all die someday. But, we shouldn't live in the fear of that day.

The song tells us about how certain things are eternal, particularly love. Dharma made a reference to the love shared by Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately that verse led to many misunderstanding the song to be about suicidal pacts. But that is false. Dharma was talking about undying love that is shared by two people. I do not share the exact idea. But I do believe certain things are eternal. To be able to leave behind a legacy is equivalent to a life beyond death.

The brilliant opening riff and the lyrics did make this song great. But there was another small detail which just elevated the song. It was the addition of a cowbell! I know it sounds crazy. But the sound of the cowbell just completed the song.

That accounts for an hour of the "Dark times". And I spent the second hour writing this post. As I sat there in the glow of my laptop screen, trying to slow my mind and collect my thoughts, I kept thinking of what an exquisite song the "The reaper" is. The reason why I consider this song to be one of the greatest rock songs ever sung, is because of its simplicity. It is comprised of easy and straightforward elements. That is true rock music!

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