The Pimp And The Priest

 

Introduction

The Pimp And The Priest is a sinister anthem dedicated to our main antagonist. It paints an image of his reputation, while setting up a few themes that will be seen throughout the story. This song acts as a character introduction, removing us from Hunter's childhood story for a moment.


Into The Lyrics

Lyrics

(Take me to the River)

The pimp and the priest pounce on quickened cat's feet
for the freshest young blood; innocence for the feast
The book will then brew what the sinful commit;
while the pimp and the priest prey quietly
where the precious sinners sit

Confess, oh confess, in the chapel, or the brothel,
where we suffocate stress
We've got the time if you've got the scratch
Conquer your sins while she screams on her back

Faster, save me!
The sins remained hostage
Harder, I can't breathe

Now the priest and the pimp are already equipped
with an enigmatic frontage post: 'we welcome walk-ins'
So we corner our pace and make quick for the door,
to be prodded and passed from the bed to the floor

Confess, oh confess, in the chapel, or the brothel,
where we suffocate stress
We've got the time if you've got the scratch
Conquer your sins while she screams on her back

Take me to the river
Take me to the river

Faster, save me!
The sins remained hostage
Harder, I can't breathe

Sing softly, sing him to the Lake
Sing softly, bring him to the Lake

Analysis

Okay so fun fact: The Pimp and the Priest are both the same person. This song is about the duality of the character and explains his methods of being both a man of God and also an employer for some not so Christian-like values.

Take me to the River’ seems to have a few meanings. The River runs through the City, and seems to have a symbolic meaning, of being fast moving and dangerous. I’ve always seen this line as portraying the Pimp/Priest as a gang leader of sorts, and this is his way of ‘getting rid of people’. Not sure if he’s actually tied up in any murderous business, but that’s the picture that I get from this line.

The Pimp preys on the weak that the Priest finds from the Church. He searches for those in trouble, whether it’s a woman who needs to make ends meet, or a man who’s stressed and under a lot of pressure, and gently guides them towards the Dime where he can profit from their turmoil. Then after they have sinned, they seek out the Church once again to confess and right their wrongs every Sunday morning. Where he can once again profit from their turmoil. It’s a cycle, a continuous feedback loop where he can keep creating the problems that he ‘solves’. The book (Bible) becomes the source for their sin, while the Pimp/Priest can prey/pray in silence, abstaining blame as the catalyst.

The chorus explains more about how he leads people between his two businesses, with some references to not being able to breathe. Breathing, or not breathing, comes up fairly often. It seems to have a parallel to anxiety, and might symbolize a characters freedom of choice in situations. Something to pay attention to in future songs.

As for his identity, it’s unclear who is and isn’t aware of the situation. I think those who frequent the Dime, and those recruited by him, are obviously aware, but it may be a kind of open secret to the general population. I think the patrons of the Dime wouldn’t say anything, else they expose their own wrongdoings, and then take away the business that enables their sinful behavior. Anyone who is aware, has their own skeletons that they don’t want exposed in return. It’s a silent blackmail, and with the Priest knowing everyone’s secrets from the confessional, no one would dare speak out against him.

The song ends with the repeating ‘sing softly, sing/bring him to the lake’ line. This line foreshadows the next song, His Hands Matched his Tongue, and I think is placed here to show the dichotomy between the River and the Lake. The River leads to the City, which is reflected in it’s rapid unforgiving currents. The Lake is near the Tree, and Hunter’s home with his mother. It’s calm and represents the life that his mother wanted him to have, uninvolved with the Pimp/Priest and his ploys.


Into The Music

The drumming to start off the song swings between the kick and snare, setting the sinister tone of the song. The vocals come in with the haunting ‘Take me to the River’ line, with a muted trumpet as well, playing a theme that becomes the Pimp/Priests identity. The song is in C minor, but once again he borrows a lot of the raised 6th and 7th from C major. This song especially uses both the notes from C major and minor, as there’s a lot of chromaticism in the song, and especially in the main motif.

The verse has the vocals bouncing around in a similar pattern to the trumpet in the introduction, while the piano and horn instruments play around the drums. This on/off style with the supporting instruments gives the song a feeling of weight whenever they play, while giving a chance to breathe in the spaces between. The prechorus has the drums, vocals, and bass all playing, with emphasis on the drumming. There’s a lot of pieces used in the kit that give it a sort of ‘tribal’ feel, which paints an image of our character and his place in this jungle of a city.

Faster, save me’ rises through the scale, ending on a flat fifth degree. This feels a lot like the Dbmaj7add#11 chord (wow that’s some jazz) that we saw in The Inquiry of Ms. Terri, because they both borrow the tritone of the tonic, which isn’t normally used in either major or minor. For the chorus we get the horn instruments back in, along with strings that come in just before the chorus and support throughout. After the chorus we get a guitar with some effects, playing the same melody as the piano from the verse. This guitar continues into the second verse, to give extra depth on top of the same parts from the first verse. ‘Take me to the River’ comes back, this time with some sparse drums and a low horn (tuba?) playing. This leads into another chorus, same as the first.

At this point ‘Sing softly’ comes in. There’s ambient guitars supporting, while layered vocals repeat the line. More vocals come in, singing some ‘Bah bah bah’ melody you’d here in a song by The Turtles, along with bass. The guitars with effects come in, mimicking the Turtles vocals as everything is building up. This leads into another section of the chorus, which goes one extra time since it’s the last chorus and that’s required. The song ends with all the vocals repeating the lines from the ‘Sing softly’ section.


Personal Thoughts

Fantastic character introduction, with a lot of use of double meanings. There’s a lot to this song lyrically, and I think it’s the perfect setup for the next song in the album. Nick Crescenzo does a lot of intricate and fun things on the drums in this song that add a lot to the atmosphere. I shook his hand once and it was twice the size of mine. We also have the same first name. I feel like I know him, even though I definitely don’t. I’m working a lot on back-end things for the site, as well as some of my own music, so I’m hoping to have a lot more content come as the new years starts to roll out. Subscribe in the footer of the page for updates on new song entries, and look for more things being added to the site soon as well!