SFTN #3: Jesu, “Opiate Sun”

March 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

Band: Jesu
Song: Opiate Sun
Album: Opiate Sun (2009)
Genre: Metalgaze
Origin: Wales

Before I start this post I want to show you this quote from Jesu’s Wiki article:

Broadrick himself has made it known that he does not consider Jesu to fall into any of these categories and that he has been intentionally writing what he considers to be coherent and structured pop songs.

Go listen to the song up there.  Go on, have a listen.  Does that sound like a coherent pop song to you?

Anyway, if that’s what Justin Broadrick wants to think about his music, that’s totally fine.  It’s his baby.  All I know is that I’ve never been a huge fan of shoegaze, but I can’t remember a single Jesu song that I haven’t liked.

Before beginning Jesu, Justin Broadrick had already achieved a level of fame as the vocalist for the venerable industrial metal band Godflesh.  Something spiritual and life-changing must have happened to Broadrick in the 19 years between Streetcleaner and Opiate Sun; that or he just got tired of the chugging atonality of industrial metal and wanted to try something a bit lighter.  Come to think of it, compared to early Godflesh, Jesu is basically pop music.

Although Opiate Sun is in the major tonality, its lyrics are far from uplifting:

They’re resisting how they’re feeling.
They’ll just blindly keep believing.
They’re resisting how they’re feeling.
They’ll just blindly keep believing.

The contrast between the upbeat chords and the depressing lyrics, as well as between the semi-droning guitars and Justin’s perishing alt rock voice, make for a transcendent listening experience.  I really can’t think of many other bands off the top of my head that can give me a drugless high like this one, except maybe Tool, but who wants to listen to Tool all the time?  That’s just weird.

I’ve taken actual opiates several times in the past – always in the recommended dose and for legitimate medical problems, of course – and I never got much of a high from them, they just put me to sleep for six hours and gave me a fuzzy mouth and horrid constipation when I woke up.  Opiate Sun gives me the “hazy” feeling without any of the nasty side effects.  Jesu: doing the Lord’s work (haha get it) since 2003.

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