Go vs. Animal.

This may be old news to folks here, but you know how "Can't Keep" and "Save You" seem to be two sides of the same issue of suicide, as if the two POV people are arguing with each other? I just kind of realized they probably pulled that 1-2 punch earlier with the first two songs on Vs.

"Go" was one of those songs I didn't really spend too much time parsing the lyrics to, because it was so damn energetic musically, I just rocked the hell out to it. But listening to it recently, I realized that it seems to be from the point of view of an abuser at the very moment the person he victimizes puts up a fight and challenges his control. The quick opening cacophony sounds like cognitive dissonance starting in the brain, and then the frenetic beat and loud, crazy guitarwork bring across the ABSOLUTE PANIC that happens when a controlling bastard loses that control. That panic leads to pleading a lot of the time. Oh please, don't go out on me, don't go on me now. Never acted up before, don't go on me now." The key, of course, is "Suppose I abused you," which is why I'm thinking this realization for me is old hat to everyone else. "Just passing it on" showing that abuse is a cycle. The second verse seems to be about recognizing the victim's resistance and trying to regain control.

Then comes Animal, right after that, which sounds like the POV of an abuse victim angrily realizing the extent to which the abuser is hated. Torture from you to me. Why would you wanna hurt me? I'd rather be with an animal. The "five against one" bit I always took to be a comment on the band itself, unity in the face of everything, but maybe it's just five fingers curled into a fist and hurled at one abuser's face in an ultimate fight-back.

It never really occurred to me before because the POV of an abuser isn't something I ever want to consider, but in retrospect, after songs like "Rival," re-reading some old interviews where Ed was an emotional wreck and saying things like how he identified somehow with serial killers, I think Ed can really put himself in the shoes of really uncomfortably awful people.

Anyway, thoughts?
Toledo 96, Santa Cruz 97, Oakland 97, Phoenix 98, Mountain View 2000, Bridge School 2001, Irvine 2003, San Francisco 2006, Solo Vedder Vancouver 2008, Universal City 2009, LA 2013!
How I choose to feel is how I am.


  • pearldavidsonpearldavidson YinzPosts: 1,253
    edited April 2016
    I thought I heard somewhere that Go was about driving away from a bad situation and the vehicle's mechanics started acting up at the worst time possible.
  • PapPap Aspra Spitia, GreecePosts: 22,577
    I always thought Go was about a knife-wielding robbery (remember the shadow holding a knife on the booklet), and Animal about animal abuse (the sheep on the cover). Perhaps my interpretations are too literal, but the main theme of the album is something (a living being) against something else (Vs.). The anti theme weaving through the whole album absolutely makes that album so revolutionary. Riot Act has that feeling of urge second only to Vs.
    Ooh, yeah! All right!
    Were [Pearl] jammin
    I wanna [Pearl] jam it wid you.
    Were [Pearl] jammin, [Pearl] jammin
    And I hope you like [Pearl] jammin too.

    Sep 30, 2006 - OAKA Sports Hall - Athens, Greece
    Jul 11, 2014 - Milton Keynes Bowl - Milton Keynes, UK
Sign In or Register to comment.