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YMMV / Godspeed You! Black Emperor

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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation/Alternate Character Interpretation: "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III." Fans have reacted in different ways to the eponymous vox-pop interviewee whose rant provides the backbone of the song, and there are differing interpretations of the band's motivation for including it. Generally, it's presumed that they don't agree with all of his opinions, but nonetheless included them as a portrait of the discontent amongst the American working class (perhaps inspired by the words of the anarchist historian Howard Zinn, who wrote, "The cry of the poor may not always be just, but if you don't listen to it, you will never know what justice is"). However, there are other interpretations as well.
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  • Anvilicious: They don't write lyrics, but their music just feels undeniably political. Sometimes the samples included with the songs are political in nature as well. Taken Up to Eleven with the liner notes & press releases associated with "Luciferian Towers", which is likely, at least in part, the band's reaction to the increase in public displays of bigotry and intolerance during recent times (amongst the band's wishes are that "the expert fuckers who broke the world never get to speak again"), not to mention events such as the Grenfell Tower fire in London, which killed dozens due to the sheer negligence of the landlords and government.
  • Archive Panic: They don't have that much officially released material, but if you want to start going through all the live recordings of them that are available (which is recommended since they tend to début new songs in live performances years before they're given official releases), good luck. This also applies if you want to start exploring the band's side projects. A Silver Mt. Zion alone will more than double the amount of recorded output you'll have to explore, and that's if you merely stick to official releases.
  • Awesome Music: All of it. However, each album has one or two tracks that stand out even above the band's usual high quality:
    • F♯ A♯ ∞ - "Providence".
    • Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada - Both of them. There's a good reason this is the highest rated EP on RYM.
    • Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven - "Sleep".
    • Yanqui U.X.O. - "Motherfucker=Redeemer".
    • 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! - "Mladic".
    • 'Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress' - "Piss Crowns Are Trebled".
    • "Luciferian Towers" - "Anthem for No State".
    • G_d's Pee at State's End! - "'Government Came' (9980.0 kHz 3617.1 kHz 4521.0 kHz) / Cliffs Gaze / Cliffs' Gaze at Empty Waters' Rise / Ashes to Sea or Nearer to Thee".
  • Broken Base: More or less everything they released after Lift Your Skinny Fists has caused this to some extent. 'Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress' has it the worst, with some fans calling it one of their better albums and other fans calling it one of their worst.
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  • Creator Worship: Without a doubt the single most revered band in post-rock.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The opening of "Antennas to Heaven" ("Moya Sings Baby-O").
  • Epic Riff: "The Dead Flag Blues" motif, repeated at the beginning of "East Hastings" as well.
    • "Mladic" has an extremely heavy, almost stoner metal-esque guitar riff that gets faster and more intense as the song continues.
    • The riff that underpins "Dead Metheny" is incredibly catchy (and in 7/4 to boot).
    • "Motherfucker=Redeemer" has a few examples; a particularly good one is the one that gets the second track of the song going (it's also in 7/4).
  • Face of the Band: Even though he's not the frontman in the traditional sense (and has repeatedly disclaimed the role), Efrim Menuck is the member that seems to get the most recognition. It's no doubt a contributing factor that he's been by far the member who has interacted most with the press. His distinctive appearance helps.
    • Sophie Trudeau is probably the second most recognizable band member after Efrim, due to being one of the few constant members of this Revolving Door Band, and her violin playing being one of the most important elements of their sound. It helps that she's currently the only girl in the band.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: All Lights Fucked, because of its rarity, although it may also be a case of Canon Discontinuity, as the band no longer perform songs from it.
    • With a little Old Shame thrown in. Although without hearing it, it's impossible to say if they re-worked any of it.
  • Fridge Logic: In the midst of his interview, Blaise Bailey Finnegan III repeats a story in which he apparently said "I don't repeat myself for nobody" to a judge. Come again?
  • Funny Moments: The opening of "Antennas to Heaven" ("Moya Sings Baby-O").
  • Genius Bonus: "Military Alphabet (Five Eyes All Blind)" is probably a reference to the Five Eyes alliance, a coalition of the intelligence agencies of the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand that has oft been criticized for spying on their respective nations' citizens, using their supranational status to ignore their own laws, and pressuring neutral countries to support the invasion of Iraq.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Has its own page.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: Godspeed You! Black Emperor are the darlings of critics everywhere, but very few outside the fanbase have ever heard of them, much less heard their music. (The film 28 Days Later did feature the song "East Hastings", at least.)
    • Pop-Culture Isolation: They're monstrously influential in the world of post-rock (and on post-metal and post-rock/Black Metal bands), but again, almost no one outside that community even knows they exist.
  • Memetic Mutation: Multiple instances, primarily relating to the samples the band use.
    • "The car's on fire, and there's no driver at the wheel..."Explanation 
    • "They don't sleep anymore on the beach."Explanation 
    • Everything Blaise Bailey Finnegan III says. The guy obviously has a screw loose but his anti-government rambling is both highly quotable and relatable to many listeners.
    • Photoshopping ANYTHING into the cover of Lift Your Skinny Fists for some.
    • "I WANT TO BELIEVE" seems to be a motto by fans who wish for one day to hear All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling.
    • Editing the band's music together with videos of people ranting on the internet, such as Glenn Beck or Bagel Boss Guy. "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III" is especially useful for this purpose.
  • Moment of Awesome: Blaise Bailey Finnegan III's rant at a judge is this for many fans: "You think you're God because you have a robe, and you can put people up the goddamn river for twenty years? Well, you're not!" Of course, for others it may verge into Narm.
    • The issue of the man's "poem" actually being mostly lyrics ripped off from the band Iron Maiden is also a bit divisive, since it makes one question whether this story is even true.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • Signature Song: "The Dead Flag Blues" is their most famous song by a fair margin, but "East Hastings" and "Sleep" could also qualify. However, "Storm" has the most plays on several streaming websites these days, which might just be because it's the first song on their most famous album.
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • Vindicated by History: Yanqui UXO was somewhat coolly received when it first came out for doing away with the field recordings as well as its perceived lack of ambition and direction in comparison to Lift Your Skinny Fists, but has seen increased appreciation in later years as a gorgeous album in its own right.


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