When Our Narrative Falls Apart: Bazan’s When We Fell

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What happens when our narrative falls apart?

If one is going to stand up to a God he has professed for most of his life, he better have a little swagger… and maybe even a little arrogance. David Bazan’s “When We Fell” carries just that, not only in its lyrical content but also in the blues-rock riff that makes this tune so damned catchy (pun intended?). “With the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo I was made to believe in a couple of beautiful truths, that eventually had the effect of completely unraveling the powerful curse put on me by you.” But after years of being told humanity’s sinful nature is responsible for the damnation of the world, Bazan has seemingly tried to piece together a narrative that he feels doesn’t add up. Bazan says he still believes in God, or a high power, but is uncertain of how the story of this high power matches up with all the brokenness in the world.

Because of this, there are those who have describe Curse Your Branches as Bazan’s “break-up album with God.” But Bazan refutes that to some degree. Bazan instead refers to his latest release as a “break-up album with a certain narrative of God.” “When We Fell” seems to back up Bazan’s comment. The bouncy blues-rock riff of this song echoes the old bitter break-up songs of the blues. But there’s no “baby please come home” in this song. Bazan question’s God’s role in “the fall.” If God is as powerful as we have been told over and over how is it that the world is in such shambles? And if it’s not God’s fault then it must be our fault? But if God made this all then what responsibility falls on God? Hmmm… good question David.

But this isn’t just a theological debate, this is music. And I hope we will remember that Bazan is expressing more than just specific questions on this album. Bazan is expressing anger with the idea of God that he feels has been forced down his throat for so long. For all of us who have returned to Bazan’s Pedro the Lion albums for so long because of the questions Bazan asks and the feelings expressed on those albums it would seem a bit disingenuous for us at this point to simply dismiss Bazan’s sentiment on this album. It would seem that if there are questions to be asked and feelings to be felt in response to this narrative Bazan (and many of us) have been fed – then we should be willing to listen to “Curse Your Branches” with a mind and heart that can sympathize with a man who seems to be seeking an authentic EXPERIENCE and not simply ideas that can be argued for in the context of an evolution vs. creationism debate.

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Much of Bazan’s latest album, Curse Your Branches, has us captivated by its numerous questions and narrative. Look for other track write-ups from the album here on rednoW. ¬†Excerpts from our interview with David can be found here.

“When We Fell” (Lyrics)

With the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo
I was made to believe in a couple of beautiful truths
That eventually had thee effect of completely unraveling
The powerful curse put on me by you

When you set the table
When you chose the scale
Did you write a riddle that you knew they would fail
Did you make them tremble
So they would tell the tale
Did you push us when we fell

If my mother cries when I tell her what I discovered
Then I hope she remembers she taught me to fallow my heart
And if you bully her like you done me with fear of damnation
Then I hope she can see you
for what you are

When you set the table
When you chose the scale
Did you write a riddle that you knew they would fail
Did you make them tremble
So they would tell the tale
Did you push us when we fell

What am I afraid of?
Who did I betray?
In what medieval kingdom does justice work that way?
If you knew what would happen
And you made us just the same
Then you my Lord can take the blame