The Null Device

The Defeated

I picked up a copy of New Waver's The Defeated. It's basically techno (in the casual sense of the word) with spoken-word samples from suicide hotlines, medical reports, documentaries about natural selection, football commentary and self-help tapes on how to be a winner; some of it sounds like some of SNOG's early interludes.

Words don't do justice to how profoundly depressing a listen it is; in fact, it is probably the most depressing thing I have ever heard. Compared to New Waver, Thom Yorke is a veritable Pollyanna and Ian Curtis' bleakest lyrics are positively life-affirming. Much has been said about the existential-crisis-inducing potential of post-rock, but this even outdoes A Silver Mt. Zion in that department. Perhaps it's the way the bleak realities of the words subliminally penetrate your consciousness under the repetitive techno beats that does it. Anyway, I was feeling quite cheerful last evening; then I listened to the whole thing, and by the end, I went away with the feeling that life is a pointless, Sisyphean ordeal from which the only reprieve is death.

And then I put on Stereolab's People Do It All The Time and felt a lot better.

Update: And here is New Waver's Kraftwerk tribute MP3 album.

There are 5 comments on "The Defeated":

Posted by: Graham Mon Sep 15 09:09:42 2003

Hmm, good thing you didn't put on Stereolab's "Transona Five" instead...

Posted by: mark Mon Sep 15 10:08:54 2003

There's *got* to be something here that I'm missing.

Posted by: mark Tue Sep 16 09:33:32 2003

*listens to the mp3s New Waver have put on their website from <cite>The Defeated</cite>*

Oh, right. Now I'm <strong>really</strong> depressed.

Posted by: acb Tue Sep 16 11:21:41 2003

Try listening to the whole thing straight through; it's like a guided tour through all the reasons to kill yourself now and save yourself a lot of inevitable suffering and disappointment.

In fact, pretty much every New Waver lyric is an essay on the pointlessness of modern life. The fact that a lot of the songs are electronic karaoke covers of well-known songs with the lyrics changed to fit the New Waver ideology (i.e., "Surfin' USA" becomes "Servin' DNA") adds to the overall effect.

Posted by: mark Tue Sep 16 19:12:31 2003

"Life Force" makes me want to strangle Charles Darwin. And there's a point in "Dying Patients" where you can't easily make out the words, and there's a large part of you that's screaming "don't make the effort!"

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