A Look Into Penny & Sparrow

Discussion in 'Art' started by Pile, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Pile

    Pile Administrator

    Jan 13, 2017
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    I am a huge fan of a band named "Penny & Sparrow". It is a duet made up of two men, Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke. They released an album entitled "Wendigo" in September of 2017. The album is centered around fear and death.

    Andy said in one interview:
    "I think it's a study of fear. I think it's a study on what scares us and are they worth while, in terms of causing us fear. Should we be scared of anything at all? Essentially, a lot of songs on this record meander in and around dark corners of stuff that scare us in this life. Whether it’s death or doubt, or faith or the loss of love. We try to examine and label what is at the root of what I fear and once we label and put into the light, does it have teeth or is it really something pretty."

    The wendigo itself is a demonic spirit rooted in Algonquin-based Native American folklore. In some scary stories, this supernatural creature can curse and possess humans, causing them to suffer from cannibalistic urges and psychosis that can never be sated. It’s believed many different individuals can be infected by this single ancient evil, serving as multiple extensions of it. These tales are believed to be the world's first zombie stories.
    The myth originated as a way to prevent those facing starvation in times of famine from resorting to cannibalism for survival. The Wendigo mythology later morphed into a way to encourage moderation and cooperation within tribes. Anyone guilty of greed or jealousy, or anyone who had ever tasted human flesh, was considered tainted and prey for the beast.
    Native American cultures spoke of the Wendigo as a spirit, eventually it took on the shape of a physical beast. This beast could also infect a person if that person was tainted by greed or had committed the sin of consuming human flesh. Like the spirit, the creature was able to poison the minds of humans, turning them into a Wendigo and forcing them to constantly crave the meat of other humans.
    The emaciated creature - topped with a stag skull head, sunken eyes, and skin stretched impossibly tight over its bones - is known to give off the stench of death and corruption. This shambling skeletal beast is similar to a zombie not just in its seemingly mindless hunger, but also in its form. It’s strikingly tall yet seems fragile and haggard, falling apart from decomposition as it moves.

    I love the contrast between the fear evoking theme behind the album and the beautiful album cover art. I think it shows us that fear and death is beautiful.
    Wendigo1.jpg a2976315399_10.jpg

    In the album there is a 3 part series dedicated to humanizing the Grim Reaper. For me death has always fascinated me and I love how Andy and Kyle help you climb inside of the Grim Reaper and see another side of him.
    I wanted to share these 3 songs, a little behind the album and what makes me love it so very much. This month marks ten years since the death of my mother and I felt it suiting to share a little about my experience with fear and death on life's journey.


    "You're scared of me, most seem to be
    Truth told you don't know I'm already gone
    See what they bring, is versions of "me"
    That said, I don't choose, all I do is move
    now you know that I'm incapable
    of choosing who to visit, how to do it, even when I can go
    how to tell you, well, let me see
    that I'm just like you, I bend the knee
    a certainty, taxes and me,
    ginned up, try to cope, but you ought to know
    that I will get paid, don't hate my wage
    better yet, settle in, come and make a friend
    now you know that I'm incapable
    of choosing who to visit, how to do it, even when I can go
    how to tell you, well, let me see
    that I'm just like you, I bend the knee
    I'm just like you
    I bend the knee"

    Song Meaning:
    This song, like the following two parts is about a personified Death. Here we have Death himself visiting a "victim". He laments that he has no say in where he is sent, he simply follows orders and goes. The main thing to take away from his words are the inevitability and finality of his presence because they come into play during the next two parts. He may be bound in his activity but he fully understands the power that follows him. Which is why he tells those he visits to "settle in". They have no way of avoiding what is to come so he tries to ease their transition.


    "Came upon a cave, 30 years or so, before the thing they fuss about
    They fuss about when I come to gather You
    When You’re old enough to speak, You will undo me
    I’ll have no doubt, I’ll have no throat to close my hands around
    But for now just sleep
    I’ll be here when you wake

    Because I came, here am I, I’m here to see Your face
    To look upon the Great Unmaker
    I want You to come and say everything to me
    Everything to me

    I came, here am I, I’m here to see Your face
    Look upon to Great Unmaker
    I want You to come and say everthing to me
    I want you to come and save everything
    Save everything from me"

    Song Meaning:
    This song is clearly part 2 of Death's trilogy on the album. But this does not depict Death on the job, instead it describes Death meeting someone in a cave. This person must be young do to their inability to speak. And based on the way that Death speaks to Him it is clear that the infant is Jesus Christ. The allusions to the infants identity lie in the "30 years or so" remark (33 years old being Christ's age at death/resurrection), the lyric about when Jesus being old enough to speak, and the concept of Jesus being the "Great Unmaker" from the perspective of Death. Jesus was able to raise the dead through the use of His words, therefore, Death would see Jesus as an adversary capable of destroying or "unmaking" him. This why the song concludes with a different version of the chorus, "I want you to come and save everything, save everything from me".


    I’ve gone by that Moniker.
    I’ve been “Plague”
    I’ve been “Going Home”
    & “Justice”
    I’m old as time and I’m whatever I need to be
    When I knock upon your door

    Black tie
    That’s what I look like in every role in the cinema or the novel
    I can’t keep up with all of the ways you tame
    What is comin’ all the same

    And before long, I’m a wraith hammer
    Some will be afraid
    Some will invite me over long before I call them
    But I still go
    I’m still gonna go
    Never the kind to be late
    I will arrive when I say
    Some kaleidoscope in space
    “Hollis fall away, don’t be afraid”
    A guaranty I am phantom and sting
    But I’ve been declawed

    “Old news”
    I’ve been reduced to what you check under beds for
    or closets"

    Song Meaning:
    This is Death's finale, he is shown reminiscing on the way things used to be. He used to be held in such high regard. The fear of him and of the unknown caused people to mystify him with all the "monikers" and titles. He even has his stereotypical uniform in narratives according to the second verse. But this all changed with the resurrection of Christ. Death no longer holds the power he once had which leads to the conclusion that he has been "declawed, he's "old news", and has been reduced to a boogie man.

    I really hope you fall in love with this album.
  2. f1reninj4

    f1reninj4 Legendary Member

    Jul 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Wow, that's a lot to read!
    • Agree Agree x 1

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