It is relatively rare when I hear song lyrics that provoke very complex emotions in me; admittedly, I listen to sound first, then the lyrics, and sometimes I don't pay that much attention to the words even then. This isn't at all that I think that lyrics are unimportant, but if you want to grab my attention from the music, there has to be something really special in those words to get me thinking. 

"Minotaur" is the first release from Thee Oh Sees' "Floating Coffin" (Castle Face Records), available on April 16th. The track became my favorite in what is another fine and varied album overall; right away, they had me at the sad, gauzy parlor room viola and the reverb-laden dream-surf guitar. It's a difficult to fully articulate how I felt when John Dwyer began singing, his delivery earnest, indifferent, defiant, and resigned all at once, in this allegorical story of the minotaur, the mythological monster who was banished to live in a labyrinth, feeding on human sacrifices and unlucky warriors. I thought of "Foxconn City" in China, where nets were erected to prevent worker suicides, or the furniture factories in North Carolina where employees are poisoned and permanently disabled every day by glue fumes that shred their nervous systems, or all the people I have known in my life who have died more than lived, chained to jobs they despised, and could not leave. 

Oil slick in my dinner
It makes me sick, in the air 
And the dream on my lips
Is getting thinner with each day
And yet I'm getting paid.

I get sick at my work 
every day
There is no cure but to stay, stay away without pay
And the horns upon my head
Are getting thicker with each day
I take my meals there, I sleep in the maze.

Men get sick at their work
each and every day
There ain't no cure but to stay
Stay home today and go to the beach instead
And the dreams, in their heads
Cannot be found in the maze, or so they say.

Whether my interpretation of the lyrics was "correct" or not isn't at all important. What is meaningful is that they provoked me to deeper thought and reflection, and this is valuable and appreciated indeed.

I am quite happy to say that the band has made an excellent video for "Minotaur," and that they have an awesome sense of humor. Enjoy it (might be a touch gory for kiddies or sensitive sorts), and think about going to the beach sometime soon.

Thee Oh Sees, "Minotaur"