Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

  • Music:

[BRIEF NOTE] The Emptiness of the KLF?

The KLF's music is great. On reflection and after some Googling, I'm not so sure about their lyrics. Take "3 AM Eternal", for instance.

are you ready (unh huh, unh huh) [ANCIENTS OF MU MU]
KLF is gonna rock you, 'cos you hafta
Move to the flow of the pyramid-blaster
Bass ballistics, I'm gonna kick this HARD
An' you can catch it
Down with the crew crew
Talkin' 'bout the MU MU
Justified Ancient Liberation Zulu
Got to teach, an' everything you learn'll
Point to the fact that time is Eternal

These lyrics are self-referential and self-justifying in the extreme. "Justified and Ancient," another of their massive international hits, continues this trend, perhaps not incidentally recruiting Tammy Wynette, a well-credentialed music star in her own right, to sing their praises.

They're Justified, and they're Ancient,
And they drive an ice cream van.
(just roll it from the top)
They're Justified and they're Ancient,
With still no master plan.
(to the bridge, to the bridge, to the bridge now)
The last train left an hour ago,
They were singing "All aboard"
All bound for Mu Mu Land,
Then someone starting screaming "Turn up the Strobe"
(bring the beat back)

This self-justifying self-referentiality doesn't vitiate the KLF project, since throughout its history the group has shown itself strongly concerned with deconstructing what we Canadians would call the "star system," the media-supported hierarchy of popular entertainment figures and features that dominates the public imagination. Take their filmed incineration of one million pounds.

Cauty said: "It's very indulgent. I was a bit worried about it at first, but I think it's probably the best thing we've done. It was all the profit we'd made from selling records, after we'ed paid off tax and stuff."

Drummond added: "We still get PRS when people play our records around the world and that's what we live on." Drummond said the duo had rejected a plan to tour the film and ask audiences to burn their money. But Cauty claimed they were considering showing the film at a Rwandan refugee camp to see how people would react.

Drummond said the Bank Of England fined them UKP500 when they staged their stunt of nailing UKP1 million to a board. Cauty said: "Defacing money is illegal, but we burned it."

I'm not sure that much meaning can be derived from the lyrics of the KLF's songs from The White Room, at least apart from somewhat overblown rants about the greatness of the KLF. What meaning there is has to be found outside the KLF, in their critical relationship to the international star system and their interest in mystic conspiracies (Mu, for instance). Is this enough? I'm not sure.
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