World War III Radio: Vandal Moon – Queen of the Night (Aug 19, 2022)

This s a new one, fresh out of the wrapper, having just been released this past Friday. It’s not been the only thing spinning here this weekend, but it’s on repeat. It’s an interesting vibe, so purposefully 1980s with nothing really updated like many of the other throwback albums. This is unapologetically dark wave/goth/new romantic, with nothing really except for the release date to tell anyone otherwise. I can tell you it sounds authentic. I was there. I was back then.

I also don’t normally cut and paste so much, a line or a short paragraph here or there, but these words from the singer/songwriter from Vandal Moon really describe a phenomenon which is being largely overlooked, and that is the impact of… well no, not overlooked. Nothing is being overlooked. That would presume that someone is looking for something else so they’re missing this. No, it’s not being overlooked. It’s being willfully ignored. There are going to be some long lasting effects of these last few years. We haven’t changed any specific behaviors in the early pandemic recovery, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t changed as a species. It doesn’t mean we weren’t traumatized, and for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We are not the same as we were. But here is what Blake Voss says:

“This is a concept album about being young in a world that’s falling apart. We wrote and recorded all these songs over the past two years, while everyone was going absolutely mental. I have no doubt we all felt insane at times, and it made me wonder how fucked the kids must feel. I mean, imagine coming of age now, in high school or your early 20s, facing so much adversity. The sheer volume of information they are force fed, juggling some bizarre social media version of themselves, all while trying to do the right thing in the world with regard to gender, race, climate and everything else. What does the future hold for them? How do they respond and still protect their sanity?”, asks Blake Voss, lead singer of Vandal Moon.

“We titled the new album ‘Queen Of The Night’ after a fictional character we created – a young woman living in our dystopian present-day. Each song on the record is about, to, or from the perspective of our ‘Queen Of The Night’ character. Her image is portrayed on the album cover, but she could be anyone or anything. She might listen to grunge, goth, trap, emo… she might be the prom queen, or completely, utterly alone; that’s up to the listener. We chose this album art because to us the image evokes a blank canvas upon which we might paint our hopes, our fears, our dreams, and everything in-between; be it love, loss or world war III. I’m singing for the youth of our world. Hopefully to empower them.”, says Blake.

“Musically this album explores a broader landscape than our last record. It’s a true album art piece in that regard. It was important we experimented with new sounds and styles. We hope it’s empowering to those who might need it. You know who you are.”

So, it’s a bit grandiose, yes, but it’s not to say he is wrong. Our entire future now will be written by traumatized children who have no real central system of beliefs. They have no collective faith because the mythology we had been running on has been exposed as… empty. Some will reach back to old faiths. Some will never have faith. Some will write some new myths.

Maybe World War III isn’t going to happen in some conventional warfare sense, but it could be cataclysmic in its own right. The center will not hold, thank you William Butler Yeats, as capitalism is spinning faster and devouring itself simultaneously. The center cannot hold. We will fall.

We will fail.

We will fall.

Or it could expand outwards in conventional warfare. There is any number of conflicts currently happening. It could very likely be internal strife here in the U.S. leading to economic collapse that leads to just enough hardship in other places to get people scrapping.

We shall see.

I don’t know. I really don’t. I just know that things are heating up and none of this that we do as tribes and nations is sustainable at this level of argument. We need a common something to hold it all together. A common belief. A common cause. A common enemy.

Something.

Ron DeSantis in Florida has made it as simple and vague as dangerous ideologies that nobody has ever even ascribed a definition for. He calls it “wokeness.” Everyone there seems to have some idea of what this “wokeness” is but you can see in their eyes that they’re pretending. They say the word and there’s a moment where you can see that they are praying nobody asks them what they mean. I’m pretty sure you can line up ten people and ask them, and you’d get ten separate definitions. Yet it’s just enough of a concept, without framework and mostly trigger words, to create this nebulous existential drama in their minds. It’s just enough to create fear and there’s just enough fear to create hate and just enough hate to create an enemy. There are little pockets of “anti-woke” avengers all over the country. Sooner or later they will morph into one. Maybe this is where the end will spring from.

I don’t know.

I do know this isn’t sustainable.

I do know that young people are well fucked. You have to believe that the future is a thing to want to be any part of it. You have to believe that it can happen and what it could look like to know where you might or might not fit into it. There’s no reason to work towards anything that is without form. That’s the issue. What we are calling the future has no form nor definition. It’s just an expression of linear time. It only means “after today.” There is no vision.

There is no vision for the future. Even where before it may have been a lie, it had enough form that people could come together and work together towards it. Now?

Well, we shall see.

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