Without sounding a note, the Blonde Redheads say something about today’s world. They are an American band comprised of Japanese musician Kazu Makino and two twin Italian brothers, Simone and Amedeo Pace. The twins were born in Milan, grew up in Montreal and met Kazu in New York. At various times, their performances have included other members, such as Skuli Sverrisson from Iceland. And everybody in the band has black hair, except Skuli, who doesn’t seem to have any hair at all.
I see alternative music as a window into souls. Music says things many people aren’t willing to even tell themselves. The Blonde Redheads are definitely alternative, being described as dream rock at various times, and it’s the haunting lyrics and ethereal nature of Dr. Strangeluv that really struck me, “Looking everywhere, I see nothing but people. Looking everywhere, but I see nothing but people. Where have they gone?”
There’s a feeling of freedom, but it’s a dreamy kind of freedom that capsizes into the nightmare of alienation. I think of people no longer connected to a cultural tradition or a religious orientation searching for a home.
“Hey, Dr. Strangeluv so sad, isn’t it true? You left without saying goodbye.”
But maybe it goes beyond cultural or religious alienation. David Albert, specializing in the Philosophy of Science at Columbia University, spoke on the divergence of science and religion as part of a movie interview last August. The interview is recorded on this You Tube video, but what interests me is primarily from about 16 minutes into the interview to about 19 minutes.
“The image of the world and our place in the world that emerges in science is getting more and more uncomfortable for us as time goes by. Is getting farther and farther from the image of us that emerges in the great religious traditions, the great mystical traditions, so on and so forth. We’re being presented with a mechanical picture of ourselves by science that we don’t know how to take in.” A little further on in the interview, Albert says. “It’s very, very difficult for us to think about ourselves as the kind of mechanical devices that science seems to be telling us that we are.”
Musicians study people. The Blonde Redheads have said Dr. Strangeluv was influenced by Nina Simone. But today we face a different kind of struggle. We are continuously bombarded with news telling us our diseases are caused by our genes; our choices are prompted by our hormones; our personalities are hardwired in our brains. We surround ourselves with computers, travel in automobiles and airplanes, have personal relationships with our pad computers, and communicate with our cell phones. Perhaps it all adds up to a silent searching for our lost humanity, echoed only in song: “Looking everywhere, keep my fire going, cold
Bruce Meyer writes about the relationship between the physical universe and the pursuit of spirituality.