David Bazan’s curse your branches (9/1, Barsuk) is the Pedro The Lion/Headphones main man’s first full-length under his own name. We spoke with him about its “Bless This Mess,” which debuts in this week’s ‘Gum Drop.
“Bless This Mess” covers a lot of territory — dysfunctional families, alcoholism, mirrors, forgiveness, history. What inspired it?
The song is largely autobiographical. So any narrative in the song reflects actual events. Though I may have embellished a bit. But the main lyrical gimmick is sort of a self-conscious and hopeful interpretation of the Beatitudes, which I have an uneasy relationship with as the narrative tends to illustrate.
God’s blessing a number of things in the song, good and bad. It ends with “God bless the history that doesn’t repeat.” It’s intended to be hopeful?
It’s only in hindsight I’m able to evaluate why I wrote a lyric or what it might mean. At the time I’m usually just scrambling to write words that I like and that feel good to sing. But now that I have some distance … in my mind historically, when God’s blessing is invoked by someone saying “God bless this” or “God bless that” it’s an expression of humility and need combined with some amount of optimism about the outcome of their situation. But the way that I’ve seen it used more recently (“God Bless America”) tends to express pride and a sense of superiority with the always underlying themes of manifest destiny. And I think that’s bullshit. So yes, I do feel like it’s hopeful.