Who just wants to steal us all and take us all apart? Why would they do that?
April 16, 2012 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Please explain any of the songs from the album Forever Now by the Psychedelic Furs.

I've been listening to this album for decades and only just realized that I have no clue what the fuck they're talking about. Who the hell is President Gas? And why is he a recurring character? Even "Love My Way," the hit song from this album, makes absolutely no sense.
posted by rouftop to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I recall a Pop-Up Video from many, many years ago saying that Richard Butler wrote his lyrics phonetically, without regard for meaning.
posted by modernserf at 10:24 AM on April 16, 2012

If you want to listen to it narratively, I think you can say Love My Way an anti-oppression love story. When in doubt, read any punk/post-punk lyrics as calls to rebellion against the mainstream, and if that doesn't work, anti-oppression love songs.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:37 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have absolutely NO evidence to back this up, but I always listened to it as if it were an anti-government, anti-establishment concept album.
posted by THAT William Mize at 11:00 AM on April 16, 2012

The typical heteronormative requirement of the march to the altar and the 2.5 kids getting you down? "I follow where my mind goes..." is a nice antidote to that, at least for a few minutes. That phrase comes to me more often than I would expect it to, for a 30-year-old song.

Also, the story of the characters played by James Dean & Natalie Wood in "Rebel Without a Cause" is similar in theme, at least to me.
posted by Currer Belfry at 11:40 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I assume you've searched for some of the songs at SongMeanings.net? You generally get an Ask Yahoo level of discourse, but there's occasional food for thought.

I agree that you will be disappointed if you look for a narrative reading of the songs. I have also heard that Richard Butler composes phonetically. I remember reading that there are certain concepts that get repeated in his songs simply because they interest him in a visceral way. They carry specific meaning only on a fragmentary level, not from line to line. Weather (rain, particularly) gets mentioned a lot. There's a repeating refrain of listening to music "in a shirt and tie," (not on this album, I don't think) which I always took as a poke in the eye of square/yuppie culture appropriating rock music.

In fact, I'd also agree with the above, that if there's a unifying "theme" to the album, it's a protest against the very particular conservative, materialistic culture of the Thatcher/Reagan years (yeah, I always pictured a goofy-smiling, brain-dead Reagan as President Gas), with particular venom for advertising. The first stanza of the first song seems to make a lot of this pretty clear. But in contrast to some other punk/post-punk bands, The Psychedelic Furs' protest can be pretty sarcastic, so there's a lot of "we love this dumb shit" attitude. There's some of that in President Gas. It's a kind of fun that feels creepy and dirty. There's a lot of "they" in the songs, a "they" that seems to be both throwing the party and trying to break "us" up.

That said, I would love to hear someone bean-plate a narrative concept album out of this. What a great album.
posted by EL-O-ESS at 5:07 PM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

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