For today’s Song of the Day, I wanted to look at a band that I haven’t listened to in ages. I listened to one of their albums years ago when I was still in high school, and fell in love with it. And while I never explored them further, a few of their songs have stuck with me.
It’s a strange experience, listening to music you haven’t heard in years. All of the associated memories you have with those songs — where you were, what your life was like — all come flooding back. And while I don’t necessarily enjoy remembering how unpopular and awkward I was in high school, I do remember songs like this one helping me keep my head.
“Muscle’n Flow” is the first song of Menomena’s second album, “Friend or Foe”, which came out in 2007. I know, I’m old. I get it. But by now you should know that I don’t write about songs you’ll hear on the radio.
There are several themes dealt with in the lyrics to “Muscle’n Flow”. The main one seems to point toward personal ambition, but there are also traces of depression, anxiety, and determination.
The first verse ends with these few lines: “There’s so much more left to do / But I’m not young / But I’m not through”. Here, we can see that some of the weariness of old age is creeping into the narrator’s life, but he’s still pushing forward with his life.
The chorus highlights the hustle of the rat race, and the lack of satisfaction one gets from it. “Make a call, make some cash / Make your mark, make it last / Tiny scores, tiny rooms / Lofty goals met too soon / Too soon”.
Here, “Lofty goals met too soon” may even be speaking to the success of being in a band, and releasing an album. It can seem like a lofty goal, indeed, but once you’ve accomplished that, what else is there to do but keep going?
The refrain reveals a more vulnerable side to our narrator. In it, he speaks of being broken and restless, and doesn’t seem to believe that there’s an easy way to keep moving forward.
“And here I stand a broken man / If I could I would raise my hands / I come before you humbly / If I could I’d be on my knees / Come and lay down your head upon my chest / Feel my heart beat, feel my unrest / If Jesus could only wash my feet / Then I’d get up strong, and muscle on”.
The line referring to Jesus is interesting here. Maybe I’m projecting a little, but it seems like the narrator wishes that he had faith, which would give him an easy way to move forward. He doesn’t say “when Jesus washes my feet,” but “If he could only”. That distinction seems telling.
There’s no real conclusion here, merely my own associations and interpretations. I don’t claim that they’re the only correct ones. They’re just mine.