Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
Apr 1, 2021 (updated Apr 7, 2021)
8.0 - Great

I mean, of course this was good.

This new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album was one that I wasn’t really thinking about. There have been so many album announcements for the month of April, with BROCKHAMPTON, Porter Robinson, and many more, that distracted me from this release. The band recently did a livestream of this album, and out of curiosity, and boredom as I was in spring break with nothing to do, I checked it out. And I will now say, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! is an extremely excellent listen, even if I probably won’t be returning to it, due to my personal gripes with post-rock as a whole.

G_d’s Pee is an album that reflects on the harsh year that was 2020, and the civil unrest behind it. It follows a very particular structure, similar to their past releases, with a sort of underlying story, attaching each track. The album starts with A Military Alphabet, a 20 minute track that sets the scene and atmosphere of the listen. It starts hopeful and somewhat upbeat, as the listener gets sucked into the world of the group’s music once again. The strings are hopeful, with a hint of unknown sadness, and the track has this pushing forward feel, to me this signifies pre-2020, as the band felt like things were ok before the pandemic. However, towards the end of the track, we see the hopefulness starts to die down, with dreariness, and a near silent end, giving us a look at the dark future the band, as well as the world will have to face. Overall, the opener does a great job at setting the tone of the listen, and it tricks the listener into a more happy listen, when in reality it is not. Fire at Static Valley comes up next, and it is a 6 minute, sort of interlude. It continues the dreary atmosphere that A Military Alphabet brought towards the end, amplifying it, as you get settled with the harsh, lonely, and worrisome mindset that was the beginning of the virus. The world was in a state of confusion, and I think that this track perfectly portrays that notion. GOVERNMENT CAME is up next, and this is definitely my favorite on the album. To me, this track represents the pure chaos, and realization of 2020 to the people as a whole. The track starts with segments of protests, and in the video we see violence and uproar from the people, realizing the toxicity of the world. Unlike the peaceful atmosphere at the beginning, the guitars are crushing, with more of a depressing and outraged sound. The chords and strings are haunting, with drums that are slow enough to make you anxious. The second half of the track is more bare, still carrying the heavy weight of the first half of it, as the band and the world reflects on what happened, and still keeps fighting for what is right. They towards the end of the track start to succeed, as everything becomes more bright, but they still know that everything could be better. There is still turmoil, and this is a ever so small victory. Overall, the track is extremely well-structured, with beautiful and crushing instrumentation, and is a standout. Moving on, the last track, OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN, is a track that shows the band reflecting on the past 3 tracks, how much of a ride they were, and the reminder that not everything is over. They might feel defeated now, but that doesn’t mean the world can change. It sounds a little corny, but it’s so beautifully thought out, with droning, melancholy yet hopeful playing, and I won’t lie that my eyes did get a little watery while listening.

The themes of this album can perfectly be summarized by its bandcamp description, which I will quote now.

“this record is about all of us waiting for the end.
all current forms of governance are failed.
this record is about all of us waiting for the beginning,
and is informed by the following demands=
empty the prisons
take power from the police and give it to the neighbourhoods that they terrorise.
end the forever wars and all other forms of imperialism.
tax the rich until they're impoverished.
much love to all the other lost and lovely ones,
these are death-times and our side has to win.
we'll see you on the road once the numbers fall.”

This piece alone describes what the theming of this listen is, with utter-perfection. It’s an album about resistance, fighting back, and hope, and the closer perfectly ties those themes like a cherry on top.

Well reedy, you had so much positive things to say about this, why is it only your 4th favorite album if the year so far?

Simple. Replay value.

This, and like the other Godspeed album I listened to, LYSF, are hard to come back to. Very, VERY hard to come back to. They might be pretty excellent, but due to its extremely long song length, I barely am up for a relisten. It’s a personal gripe, I know, but it’s important. I will also have to say that the album isn’t as interesting to me as LYSF in terms of concept and execution, even if it is still really well done. G_d’s Pee, to me, is an album I’ll listen to once, and never again. I’d also pout out that there are some of Godspeed’s same traits as in last releases, which won’t float everyone’s boat, and it can get repetitive and drag on. This sounds harsh, but don’t avoid this release, as it is still a pretty excellent listen from the group. It’s just a quality listen overall, and I definitely recommend to anyone who is a fan of the genre, as you’ll have a blast with this.

Best tracks: A Military Alphabet (five eyes all blind) (4521.0kHz 6730.0kHz 4109.09kHz) / Job’s Lament / First of the Last Glaciers / where we break how we shine (ROCKETS FOR MARY), “GOVERNMENT CAME” (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) / Cliffs Gaze / cliffs’ gaze at empty waters’ rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE (fav), OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN (for D.H.)

Least fav: n/a
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