felt by tiny souls.
Inside this chest beats a plastic heart,
and pleasure is its goal.
Vox Humana (The Alarma Chronicles Volume III) is Daniel Amoss sixth studio album, released in 1984. It took the New Wave Music of their previous two albums in a much more synthesized direction, with many tracks being outright Synth-Pop. The ravages of The '80s spared no band, and this albums production bears witness to that.
Appropriately enough for an LP that wears the decade on its sleeve so blatantly, Vox Humana was a critique of Western society at that time. In a World... where greed and commercialism were celebrated, where new technology was as likely to distract people from each other as to unite them, and where nuclear annihilation could have come without warning at any time—what could one synth-pop band do? For DA, the answer was to pen bouncy, upbeat ditties that highlighted the absurdities of the world around them, and then pair those with somber ballads about reconnecting with God and their fellow humans.
The story in the liner notes continued where Doppelgänger left off and paralleled the albums lyrical themes: Terry Scott Taylors Author Avatar gets overtaken by a storm-breathing giant, comes to grips with the Awful Truth about society, and shrinks down to the size of an ant.
It was followed in 1986 by the final chapter of The Alarma Chronicles: Fearful Symmetry.
- Terry Scott Taylor: lead vocals, rhythm guitars, occasional keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals
- Ed McTaggart: drums, percussion, synthesizers
- Rob Watson: keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, backing vocals
- Tim Chandler: lead guitars, 4 & 12 string bass, synthesizers, backing vocals
- Travelog (4:25)
- (Its the Eighties, So Where's Our) Rocket Packs (3:35)
- Home Permanent (3:00)
- Its Sick (2:18)
- William Blake (4:30)
- Dance Stop (2:43)
- Live and Let Live (3:40)
- When Worlds Collide (4:20)
- As the World Turns (3:47)
- Shes All Heart (3:00)
- The Incredible Shrinking Man (2:45)
- Sanctuary (5:45)
Provides examples of:
- '80s Hair: DAs strangely sculpted hairdos on the cover photo. On the back cover, they lampshade it with a lyric from Home Permanent:My hair points to the sky, the place Id rather be!
- Bad Moon Rising and The Stars Are Going Out: In Sanctuary:And should the moon burn red, stars leave the sky,
- Broken Pedestal: In The Incredible Shrinking Man:The clergy dresses you in tights and cape
And so the pressures on to make no mistake
In truth, there is no way that you won't break
Youre gonna fall
Youre much too small
As the world turns, it slaps me hard
- As the World Turns:
As the world turns, it tells me Im weak
As the world turns, I drop my guard
As the world turns, I turn the other cheek
- The Incredible Shrinking Man describes the many ways that the world conspires to make the character (addressed only as you) feel powerless and insignificant.
- Bystander Syndrome: In Live and Let Live:Oh no, Ive got a broken heart
(Were so sorry but we gotta run)
Oh no, Im falling apart
While you keep on floating
Up, and up, and up, and up, and up
- Continuity Nod: Travelogs bridge includes several vocal samples from TV, including Johnny Jacobs proclaiming, A new car!—the same sample that was used throughout New Car!, from Doppelgänger.
- Covers Always Lie: Keyboardist Rob Watson wasnt available for the cover photoshoot. DA asked Leo Sorentino, tour manager for The Choir, to stand in for Watson—even though they didnt look much alike at all.
- Dance Sensation: The liner notes come with instructions for how to dance to Dance Stop:You may dance any dance that you desire, but in the course of the song when the word STOP! is shouted and the music stops you must FREEZE in whatever position you are in at that moment. In the song you will then hear the crowd voices escalating. Resume dancing again when you hear the word DANCE shouted and the music resumes. Have fun!!!
- Drunk with Power: The Incredible Shrinking Man:From wells of power
You take a drink
You drown in it
Its bigger than you think
- First World Problems: After two verses describing genuine oppression, the final verse of Its Sick covers the sort of problems that rich Americans face. Then the lyrics dig a little deeper, pointing out that were focused on these trivialities because our real problem—the possibility of nuclear holocaust—is just too big to deal with.Our trial is which car to buy
Temptation is that extra dessert
In the land of orange juice
Youre better off with the right kind of shirt
But take away the naïveté
Expose the sources of our fears
Well run to missiles if were pushed that far
Proceed to blow it all away!
- Fish out of Water:
And I never get comfort in the earth or sky
- As the World Turns describes being an outsider in the spiritual sense:
Its my belief theyre not my home
The world spins one way, but I go another
Against the grain, one often stands alone
I concluded, and retain this belief even now, that the only ultimate disaster that can befall a man is to feel at home here on earth.
- In the liner notes story, the narrator realizes:
- Foreign Language Title: Vox Humana, Latin for voice of the human.
- Giant Foot of Stomping: On the back cover, a massive robot foot descends from above to crush DA underneath....Technology was a storm which materialized into a great foot threatening to crush me and all of mankind...
- Gratuitous Panning: The chorus vocals in Live and Let Live bounce from one channel to the other.
- God-Is-Love Songs: When Worlds Collide is a love song from God to all of humanity.When shadows fall
When lovers mourn
And you fight your darkest tendencies
I promise to hold you close to me when
I'm on your side
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The liner notes mention this happening on a societal scale:Yes, we have created the monster. He is the harvest of our sowing.
- Homage: William Blake is an extended tribute to him, with several quotes from his poems.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Incredible Shrinking Man uses this as a metaphor for being a Butt-Monkey in 1980s society. And in the liner notes story, the narrator literally shrinks until a tiny rock becomes an impassible mountain.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The Incredible Shrinking Man:A world accountable
Among the stars a grain of sand
- I Want My Jet Pack: (Its the Eighties, So Wheres Our) Rocket Packs laments that the techno-utopia never happened—partly because sci-fi technologies never materialized, and partly because people didnt change that much. The items that sci-fi promised and reality never delivered (at least not by 1984) include:I thought by now I'd walk the moon
And ride a car without no tires
And have a robot run the vacuum
And date a girl made out of wires
I thought by now we'd live in space
And eat a pill instead of dinner
And wear a gas mask on our face
A President of female gender
I thought by now we'd build a dome
Around the world, control the weather
In every house, a picture phone
Communicate a little better
- Job-Stealing Robot: In The Incredible Shrinking Man:Machines remind you
that you can be replaced
- Lack of Empathy: Its Sick is about responding to foreign tragedies with complete apathy. The narrator at least has the self-awareness to feel bad that he doesnt feel bad:It's sick! And I got it on my TV
It's sick! When I don't feel a thing
It's sick! And I get a little queasy
When somebody tells me it's only a game, its sick!
- Loss of Identity: In the liner notes story, the narrator concludes that lack of change is what causes you to lose yourself. (See Static Character, below.)
- Ludd Was Right: Sort of: Technology is an extension of mans collective will. And since Humans Are Flawed...The giant was power and power belongs to darkness. It is a Frankenstein monster dwarfing us all. It is, among other things, a mass of communication media which man has constructed to unceasingly persuade us that pursuits like fame, sensual pleasures and money will make life worth living. The giant was and is the power-mad system which possesses a death wish, devouring human beings while seeking its own extinction, devoting its wealth, knowledge and skills to creating the means to blow itself to oblivion.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Nearly the entire album. The upbeat songs are the ones about selling your soul to the machine, while the somber songs are the ones about meaningful relationships with others. Sanctuary is the most lyrically hopeful song on the album—its Gods unconditional promise to be anyones sanctuary, in good times and bad—but musically, the moodiest and broodiest.
- The Moral Substitute: Parodied in Home Permanent.I gave a toy top to my little brother
It says to Spin from sin, and to my mother
I gave a recipe book, it's like no other
Now she makes chocolate Bibles—a witness to my unsaved father
- Mundane Made Awesome: Travelog is literally a song about watching TV, but the narrator makes it sound like a grand adventure.
- Mutually Assured Destruction: The fear of a nuclear war with the USSR looms in the background—or the foreground—of several songs.
We'll run to missiles if were pushed that far
- Its Sick:
Proceed to blow it all away!
Contortionists are caught up in the cameras eye
- Dance Stop is about crowds who go on dancing even as the bombs explode.
The music explodes and the bodies fly
They're rating it a ten before they drop and die
WELL IT HAD A GOOD BEAT! was their very last cry
Look out your window
- The Incredible Shrinking Man:
Here comes a bomb
The dogs of war
Drop it on your lawn
- Never Trust a Title: The album title means voice of the human, but this is probably the least-human-sounding music in DAs discography. The irony was definitely intentional.
- Officially Shortened Title: The front cover has DA in large letters, with Daniel Amos written inside those in much smaller text—apparently to ease fans into accepting the shortened name.
- Opposites Attract: Shes All Heart. The verses describe a couple whose differing viewpoints lead to disagreements and misunderstandings, but the chorus keeps coming back to the fact that They are one heart.She says I complicate things
I say she over simplifies everything
But either way, I still believe we need each other
- Portal Door: The liner notes story ends with the narrator walking through such a door, to an unknown destination. Just like the Doppelgänger story ended.
- Reveal Shot: The front cover is a photo of the band. The back cover◊ pulls back just far enough to show the Giant Foot of Stomping thats about to crush them.
- So What Do We Do Now?: In Sanctuary:And should you find you have the things you need
- Static Character: Touched on in the liner notes story, where the narrator realizes lack of growth leads to Loss of Identity:The person who doesn't learn and does not act, I thought, disintegrates within. It is the chaos of growth, of taking new forms, that is the shield against those who spend all their time earning, spending and amusing themselves.
- Stop and Go: Dance Stop.
- Vindicated by History: William Blake:You were not mad
I know time will tell
- Weather Manipulation: The giant in the liner notes story breathes storm clouds and freezing winds.
- While Rome Burns: Dance Stop is about the masses falling into hedonism in the face of the impending apocalypse, specifically by dancing as the hydrogen bombs launch.Well, tell me please how love can be
With a kick/snare giving you a fantasy
AINT NO FUTURE FAR AS I CAN SEE!
If I could dance, I might agree
- World-Wrecking Wave: In the liner notes story, the narrator gets overtaken by a black storm-wave-thing.There, rolling down upon me, over what appeared to be a snowy plain, I saw a gigantic black wave. It was miles away, but visibly devouring the earth in its approach, its crest lost in murky clouds.