Track By Tracks: Tim's Favourite - amaConda (2023)

"Connect and Divide" deals with one of the most polarising forces in the world these days: social media. Whereas its creators initially thought (or at least promised) that it would connect people all over the world (which in a way it also does of course, we're all online, "connected", i.e.), and enhance democracy by making information free and facilitating freedom of speech worldwide, the result in the meantime is somewhat less pretty: misinformation and fake news are being spread as never before. More and more, people are beginning to believe and live in totally different, alternative realities, which is not exactly bringing them closer to each other/connecting them. The title of the song could be seen as some preceding, first part of the motto "Divide and Rule": "Connect and Divide... Divide and Rule"...

"Totalibertarian" (a word we coined ourselves) was written during the Covid pandemic and is about one of the craziest conspiracy theories we have ever seen emerge and which was propagated by a, would you believe it, university professor in Ghent. The guy wanted to make all of us believe that the pandemic was the logical outcome of the so-called mechanistic, scientific mindset which, in his opinion, has totally indoctrinated our Western world. At the same time, he tries to reassure us that he doesn't believe it was a real conspiracy, deliberately set up or planned by the scientific "elites", but as a matter of fact, it's even worse: the scientists, in his opinion, don't even realize it themselves anymore. They are so "hypnotised" by the "mechanistic" worldview that they can't help but believing that virusses and diseases can and should be contained by science, which is unacceptable to him. The scientific world view, in his view, is becoming totalitarian and is inescapably destroying human... freedom. Human freedom, in his view, should never, in any way, be curbed. It's either total freedom or total nothingness. The guy (and his thousands of disciples, his book was a best-seller in the US) wages a libertarian and transgressive crusade, setting himself up as the defender of individual freedom against sanitary "repression", to the point where, in a rather hallucinatory short-circuit, he even compared today's anti-vaxers to the Jews forced to wear the Star of David under Nazism. I wonder what he is making now of this totalitarian "mechanistic" regime "they" are trying to force upon us, now that the COVID recommendations and/or restrictions have been significantly if not completely, lifted for more than a year...

"Not in Our Name": In Belgium (and not only there!) more and more people believe (or want to make us believe) that a "cultural Marxist" specter haunts our universities. Think of it what you may, but if we see that a certain Filip Dewinter, probably one of the most outspoken racists in Belgium and a prominent member of the extreme-right political party Vlaams Belang, was not so long ago allowed to give a lecture on racial theories (yes, you read well) at the University of Ghent, then we think that that cultural Marxist specter is more of a figment of extreme-right imagination. Holding a lecture on race theories at a university, so far so good, but not for heaven's sake by a far-right politician who has no scientific degree whatsoever, and certainly not in biology or genetics. Not in Our Name. Besides, unless you live in an alternative-facts-world, outside the university that cultural Marxist specter is even more, if not entirely, a mirage since the election of Donald Trump.

"Filling the Hollow" is an introspective song that lets a person's depressive side do the talking. The guy is convinced he has overcome his "black dog" for good but then suddenly, out of the blue, it rears its ugly head again and now claims the right to exist. The argument being that "he" is the one giving the I-person his only real, meaningful depth. No real joy or meaning without pain. Right. 'nough said.

"amaConda": Well, do we still need to explain that? Let's just repeat that the insane ("infinite") maximizing of consumption is something which is made possible by people who easily pass the qualification of "mad scientists", yes. And, for the record, we have NO fundamental problem with science (the explanation of "Totalibertarian" should have made that clear by now, we hope), we have a fundamental problem with SCIENTISM: the belief that only science can say anything meaningful about the universe. The phrase "rocket science" in the song, you may take that quite literally, by the way. One more relevant thing maybe to think about: Elon Musk's grandfather was the founder of the extremely anti-democratic "Technocracy, Inc." And Elon hasn't forgotten that at all. The colony he desperately hopes to found on Mars someday, he once said, will be a... technocracy.

"Andy's Fall" is the almost epic, allegorical story of a small fisherman's downfall into a river of hubris and alcohol. It's beyond any doubt the most profound song on the album and for that reason also the one we don't want to give too much away about. We prefer to let the interested reader find out for himself.

The title of "Embarrassment Now" is a sarcastic reference to a book by Steven Pinker, "Enlightenment Now". Pinker, if you want our opinion, is a pretty arrogant believer in reason and science as all-saving, fundamentally moral forces. Convictions and ideologies (let alone religion) are, so he claims, totally irrelevant to him. Politicians, according to Pinker, should stick to the scientific facts and that's it. He is even convinced that sticking to the scientific facts is enough to achieve a democratic, "Enlightened" society. But even scientists are human beings (luckily) with all their ideological convictions, agendas and flaws who very often contradict each other even when it comes to the pure scientific facts, and Pinker chooses/seems to be completely blind to that. The fact that in the course of human history, scientists and science not seldom chose the side of downright evil ("There is one question that only scientists working in genetics and race have to grapple with. And that is: "What is about me that the Nazis like so much?" - Jonathan Marks), Pinker ignores it, completely. Moreover, if politicians should stick to the scientific facts and put all their convictions aside, then the spectre of a technocracy is a becoming a (not alternative) fact. And Pinker & co may say what they want, but that is far from democratic.

"A Deeper Advantage" is another one of those songs we, every once in a while, write about - guess what - depression. It' s a subject that will probably haunt us until the end of our days, yes. In this song, the depressed state of the I-person seems to be the result of his reducing every single aspect of life to... Darwinism and "Selfish Genes". At least, that is the rationalisation he gives to it. Depression, we acknowledge, is an extremely complex phenomenon that can have very diverse, biological as well as "circumstantial" "reasons". But the least you can say is that the belief that everything in life is steered by the real masters of puppets, our "selfish genes", and that even the feeling of wanting to help other people for no other reason but compassion and empathy is basically nothing but your rationally egotistic genes at work, that is probably not very uplifting. We think.

"Into that Darkness" is based on a devastating book with the same title by Gitta Sereny about Franz Stangl, the Treblinka concentration camp commander. If you know that Treblinka was one of the few concentration camps which were solely set up for one purpose - the immediate extermination of people - than it will probably surprise you if we say that the guy in charge of that hellhole was not a thoroughly wicked, unscrupulous son of a bitch. Rather, he was more of an insecure, not super-intelligent (but certainly not stupid either) nor very brave man of extreme dutifulness who in the first place wanted to save his ass... and lead a decent life with his wife and family. And he certainly was not a devout believer of the Nazi ideology. The horror in this book is at moments unspeakable. And, sorry to say so, but even the most profound death or black metal song is in our humble opinion a joke compared to the Dante-come-true quality of this deeply disturbing and oh so sad book. Read it. It'll haunt you for the rest of your life.

"Phantom in My Head": Yet another song about Tim's Favourite theme. Musically, it is probably the most uplifting song on the album and lyrically it is too, at least until the middle of the song. Someone thinks he has finally overcome his "black dog" and all will be well now, forever: From now on, I will be "happy in my head". That phrase just popped into our singer's mind while rehearsing and we're perfectly aware that it sounds a little bit silly: where else than in his head is a human being happy? But we think it does add to the song's seemingly lighthearted atmosphere so we just kept it. Anyway, one day, the guy sees, hears, and feels this reminiscent of rain... Is the "Phantom in My Head" back... and is it becoming the "fatum [his fate] in my head"?

"Fly" is an ode to a dear friend of one of us. He was an almost universal, extremely sensitive genius who, for quite some time, dreamt of becoming a pilot. But then, for some inexplicable reason, he buried that dream. And he buried quite a few other dreams as well, we think. Until, right at the very end, he decided, just for once in his life,... to fly.

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