MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT FOR THE END OF THE WORLD – ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
A LETTER OF APOLOGY
I feel I owe you an apology. You see, our intention was to record an album teeming with cheerful songs.
The idea was to write an album overflowing with warm, witty, old school schlagers. The kind of lighthearted gems they used to write back in the 50's and 60's. We opted for two pianos in order to make the sound as rich and voluminous as possible. One of the songs was to feature a tap dancer. We even chose an amusingly ironic title for the album (Musical Accompaniment for the End of the World) in order to counterbalance the unabashed cheerfulness of the songs we were yet to write.
Unfortunately, our plans failed to impress the very songs we were writing. Most of them – the songs, I mean – had the terrible disadvantage of being well-informed. After watching the news once too often, they did what every reasonable song would do; they grew despondent and developed fatalistic tendencies. Worse still, they were unable to appreciate the irony of the album title. The irony of your irony is that it is pretty light on the irony, they would say, with a disturbing glow in their eyes. Because that is exactly what we are – new additions to the repertoire of the band on board the Titanic. Eventually, as they spiralled into alcoholism, they became aggressive. Screw you, dear author! It is not our responsibility to make you happy! Or the listeners, for that matter! These songs really didn't feel like being cheerful. They were unwilling to sacrifice their intimate relation with melancholy for something as plain and fleeting as happiness. I will stop now, before I squeeze the life out of this metaphor.
I guess you could say that we started out like socialists – with a decent, albeit surprisingly unrealizable idea – and ended up like capitalists, selling just about anything, including the end of the world. As always, we knew exactly which way to go ... to lose ourselves. My only regret, though, is that the songs are fairly unsuitable for tap dancing.
Benko, April 2012
EIGHT INTERPRETATIONS OF THE ALBUM'S TITLE
1. Silence are anarchists.
2. Silence are capitalists. They understand the end of the world is imminent and unavoidable. As good capitalists, they perceive the end of the world as a business opportunity, a potential niche market (a good capitalist always looks ahead). Only bad businessmen allow minor hiccups to interfere with their dealings. After all, history teaches us that capitalism survives everything. In the words of Frederic Jameson: Today it is easier to envision the end of the world than it is to envision the end of capitalism.
3. Silence are socialists. They're well aware that, in order for the ideas of socialism to work, people must be removed from the equation.
4. Silence are communists. They've witnessed the collapse of communism in their homeland – the equivalent of the end of the world for every true communist.
5. Silence are idealists. They're playing to soothe the anguish of fellow passengers on board the Titanic.
6. Silence are pragmatic. The only distress they're interested in easing is their own.
7. Silence are dead serious. As a consequence, the title sounds like a joke.
8. Silence are joking. As a consequence, we're not laughing.