Monday, May 17, 2010
Wolf Parade - Yulia [Song about Space]
So the new Wolf Parade album EXPO 86 leaked, and I'd been playing it off and on all weekend. I knew I liked the way "Yulia" sounded, but Wolf Parade can be hard to understand. (Case in point: rather than "Yulia" my boyfriend thought that were singing, "Too young! Too young!")
I didn't really hear the words until this morning on my commute, and I'm not so clear on all of them, but the ones I am clear on: wow.
Its a song about a astronaut (cosmonaut? Yulia is an Eastern European/Russian name, as for Julia. The Ukrainian PM is named Yulia) singing back to his love on earth. The song begins with the send off for the flight (apologies if lyrics are wrong, see above explanation of WP being hard to understand....and this isn't a full collection of the lyrics, but just the most pertinent/hearable to me):
"I was up there floating with them
and you know that I was gone
The radio sings a patriot song
as the devil gets you low
We were standing on the platform
The favorite sons in history"
This is a pretty big deal. They're already national heroes, just for advancing the space program. You know, until:
"The flip one switch at mission control
and I'm never coming home
Its unclear to me whether this was intentional on the space program's part (they fuck up and pull the plug to cover it up) or if it was just that nothing else could be done (no way to save them, so might as well cut your losses).
"I'm standing here
and my heartbeats slow
and I hope they bring my body back
Doubly heartbreaking. I don't know if its just because I love being earthbound, but the idea of drifting in space, dying and all alone in all that space is terrible. And then knowing, as you are dying, that you'll be alone alone, drifting, for the rest of eternity.
The next is directly put to Yulia:
"So when they turn the camaras on you
Baby please don't speak of me
Point up to the dark above you
As they edit me from history
I'm ten million miles from my comfortable home
And space is very cold
So this guy goes from being the favorite son of his country to being written out of history because of the mission's failure. And gets to die alone for his trouble.
The next part just piles on the heartbreak"
"There's nothing out here
Nothing out here
nothing out here
nothing out here"
This is the best song featuring space in a while.
So, is it significant that her name is Yulia instead of Julia? Is this story more believable if its the Russians doing this? And maybe the failed manned missions from the US didn't get completely covered up, but we definitely don't remember them the way we remember Buzz Aldrin (of Dancing with the Stars fame, now!) or Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon. Who remembers the names of the astronauts who died in Apollo 1? Its not a cover up, its just the way recent history remembers.