okay okay okay okay i need to jot down an analysis of ab/ap (the song)
so i generally think of ab/ap as a question of who/what gets to be beloved by the american consciousness. whos an american beauty, whos an american psycho. i feel like in a lot of ways, the beauty is whiteness and the psycho is blackness, but lets just look at the title track specifically for a second
the first verse points out a relationship with shaky foundations, in which the persona is selling themself to their muse as a spectacle thatd be easy to get rid of if necessary (i think i feel in love again/maybe i just took too much cough medicine/im the best worst thing that hasnt happened to you yet...you can kill me or let god sort em out). this is all punctuated by the prechorus, indicating that the persona is selling themself and telling half truths to do it. the second verse points to the fact that their relationship is strategic, basically saying outright 'i dont love you, i love what you do for me' even pointing out that their intimacy is a performance too (as were drifting off to sleep/all those dirty thoughts of me/they were never yours to keep)
the bridge then details the ways their relationship is an act. they change who they are, and make themself perfect, and something real would ruin that (altar boys, altered boys, were the thing that love destroys). theyre just going scavenging anything they can from dead and dying cultural figures to make themselves relevant (theyre "resurrection men") and they fully acknowledge their relationship is just for an audience, or at least not because they enjoy it.
this song can be taken very literally, and i think it fits the theme of "who is allowed in the american consciousness" on the literal level its written at, but i think its interesting, again, if the persona is blackness, and the person their adressing is whiteness. they are making a deal to allow themself to be in the spotlight to court an entity which does not care for them on the grounds that they accept they are disposable. they themself admit they do not care for the union, only the money (and perhaps influence) it provides. they erase a lot of themself to be easily sellable, partake in the objectionable practices, all for the ability to speak to an audience, about, perhaps, things that will be remembered for centuries.
like with all songs on ab/ap i feel it suffers from a muddled perspective, but it still gets the broad strokes across very well: the persona is buying into something in exchange for an audience.
no but actually saying mania is a bad album is like saying pathologic is a bad game. its not, its just an unpleasant experience, because that is the experience the art wants you to have. pathologic as a game has mechanics that actively work against you from the beginning and a story that punishes you for thinking of yourself as the hero, a thing generally taken for granted in a video game. similarly, mania has erratic shifts in volume and mood, a love song followed by a show of disgust followed by a show of reverence, it drags you along for the ride, and it is not a smooth one. should art be pleasant? maybe. but does it have to be? what if the idea you want to get across is unpleasant? what if you are trying to communicate the futility of being trapped in a dying town? what if you are trying to get across the discordance of being in a manic episode? is there a way to truly communicate these inherently uncomfortable feelings without discomfort? and if there isnt, are these feelings worth portraying and exploring in art?
anyway. anthony fantano retire bitch.