Tuesday, May 23, 2006

does innocence invite its own murder, part 4

Here are my thoughts on "Keine Lust." First, the quote that I have not yet confirmed but of which I am still enamoured:

“I dare not let my devils go, lest my angels go with them.” –William Blake

“Keine Lust” is a highly complex song, the more so the more I look at it. Mere disillusionment is too simple an assessment of the lyrics and the narrator. What makes it complex is the dominant metaphor. Being frozen, especially emotionally and intellectually, is the external sign of the loss of one’s internal dialogue. Consciousness comes from the dialectic between yes and no, between the me and not-me. An awakened consciousness leads to conflict and aggression, and these, if used authentically, can lead to creativity and art. In turn, creativity and art expand the artist’s consciousness and increase his sense of freedom. Yet where is any of this for the narrator of “Keine Lust”?

The song begins with a stanza that rejects all possibilities—relentless, determined, utterly self-absorbed. The first line of the second stanza is a logical loop: The narrator expresses not desire, but avoidance and rejection of *not* doing something. He puts it in terms of a double negative: “Ich hab’ keine lust mich nicht zu hassen.” This is a negation that expresses an absence—a logical conundrum, but not the first time such a thing has occurred in R+’s lyrics (qv. “Amerika” as one example). Because this song is about Gestalt more than anything else, the conundrum makes the song stronger rather than weaker. Too, because the narrator is telling us that he doesn’t feel like not hating himself, his statement clears potential obstacles between himself and his self-loathing. He has a choice that he refuses to take; his internal dialogue remains dormant.

The narrator’s sense of lack and absence is physical as well as spiritual. Most of the rest of “Keine Lust” deals with the sensory: Masturbation, nakedness, bestial impulses, eating, fatness. All these are distractions, though. The point isn’t whether the narrator feels like seeing himself naked; it’s whether he can regain a sense of personal power and authenticity. The narrator returns to the sense of inner emptiness near the end of the song:

Ich bliebe einfach liegen
Und wieder zähle ich die Fliegen
Lust los fasse ich mich an
Und merke bald ich bin schon lange kalt

After running through his mental rolodex of potential stimulants, the narrator attempts to awaken himself sexually by masturbating. Unlike Dionysus’s awakening of Ariadne, however, or any of several famous sexual awakening scenes from myth and history, this narrator can’t manage a semi—not even through self-stimulation, arguably the most direct way to do it. His attempt only affirms (if it can be called that) his disconnection with his own sexual center. No wonder, then, that he seems to see freedom and choice as burdens, and that he closes his sensibilities to experience. He has lost his connection with his sexuality—the one thing that links us to the external world in the most visceral and complex ways. The narrator’s internal dialectic is frozen, as frozen as the metaphorical snow in which he lies. His sensibilities closing to experience, he attempts an inauthentic dissolution of the self through persistent denials. He lacks the courage to create, the will to even express violence and thus achieve a sense of ecstasy, and finally an utter loss of volition. In letting his devils go, his angels have abandoned him.


This post originally had a different ending on the Rammstein fan area forum, but since it's expired, I can't retrieve it. Deathless prose, indeed.

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