Music Dorkery



Today I want to talk about acrostics. For those of you who didn’t waste ridiculous amounts of money on a college English degree, an acrostic is when the first letter of each line of a text spell out a message. For example, below is an acrostic from lines 510-514 of book nine of John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost:

Scipio the highth of Rome. With tract oblique
At first, as one who sought access, but feard
To interrupt, side-long he works his way.
As when a Ship by skilful Stearsman wrought
Nigh Rivers mouth or Foreland, where the Wind…

This is pretty neat, and, needless to say, it’s not a coincidence. Milton was a smart guy – he read himself blind, for crying out loud. And, of course, acrostics have been used in lots and lots of other pieces of literature.

The reason I bring this up is two-fold:

  1. Yesterday former The Panic Channel vocalist/MTV VJ Steve Isaacs tweeted about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of a California legislative finance bill. It seems that the Governator used an acrostic to tell the California State Assembly “FUCK YOU.” Take a look for yourself here.
  2. I re-tweeted Isaacs’ tweet, which in turn lead to longtime reader Saul Hudson shooting me an e-mail pointing out an acrostic in the lyrics to the title track from Chimaira’s Resurrection (video above).

If you’re not familiar with Resurrection, here’s a little background you need for the acrostic to make sense: the album was the band’s first after their acrimonious (or at least semi-acrimonious) parting with Roadrunner Records, and the lyrics to said title track (example: “Free at least/Finally tasting happiness”) are generally accepted as being about the split.

With me so far? Okay. So here’s the acrostic from the song:

Final straw
Underlying ignorance
Consumed by greed and hate
Kept under the feet of tyrants

Reality kicked in
Raced against time just to start all over

Pretty amazing. I wish I’d noticed that on my own.

Now, to be clear: I have not confirmed with vocalist Mark Hunter (who wrote the lyrics), or anyone else in the Chimaira camp, that this particular acrostic was deliberately placed in the song. It’s entirely possible that Saul Hudson and myself are just seeing what we want to see.

But if it is a coincidence, well… that’s a hell of a coincidence, isn’t it?

So. Anyone else know of any cool acrostics in metal lyrics?


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