Extreme Ways (Moby) Lyrics Analysis

[[N.B. These are not necessarily the lyrics claimed by the artist Richard Melville Hall, Moby, that I’ve written out below. The lyrics below are merely what I “heard”. Not necessarily the same thing, but the lyrics, whatever they are, are his copyright. The comments are my personal interpretation, surely not the perspective of Moby. [My comments].]]

Extreme Ways by Moby

Extreme ways are back again [It’s not that they weren’t there all the time. It’s that we didn’t notice them. And then, there they are, in our face. Providence.]
Extreme places I didn’t know [This is a confession, a regret, a call to reform, to come back to reality of the way things are, like a “Vatican Commando!” ;-)]
I broke everything new again
Everything that I’d owned
I threw it out the windows [“I’d owned” = rejection of, in reality, being owned by what one just thought one owned. Brilliant rejection of that rejection. So, out the windows!]
came along extreme ways I know will part
The colors of my sea
All perfect coloring [A reference to Moses at the Exodus at the “Red Sea”, which in all the dark circumstances is about the most colorful place on earth.]

Extreme ways that help me
That help me out late at night [We’re all in darkness, in extreme peripheries, due to our own blindness about where we’re actually at in this world. Providence of extreme ways gets us to recognize what’s going on in the darkness. In that case, that dark night is not to be feared. Providence of extreme ways can handle any extreme places, any extreme worlds where we are at and don’t even know it until extreme ways come along to point the way. Thus:]
Extreme places I had gone
But never seen any light
Dirty basements
Dirty noise
Dirty places coming through
Extreme worlds alone
Did you ever like it then? [Again, this is where we have all been if without extreme ways. We didn’t even know we didn’t like it until extreme ways came along.]

I would stand in line for this
There’s always room in life for this [I laughed out loud when these two lines came along. This is it, exactly. Providence of extreme ways has us face the extreme dark peripheries where we are.]

Oh babe, oh babe [Sorry, but for me in my own little world this is my exclamation to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, to whom, as a priest, I am, as it were, married :-) Perhaps my enthusiasm is unbounded. It is what it is.]
Then it fell apart, it sell apart [“it” = the extreme places and worlds of the darkest of existential peripheries which fall apart upon the entrance of extreme ways. The extreme places and worlds, that is, “it” (as a collective) “sell apart” in that they just prostitute themselves to the next taker.]
Oh babe, oh babe
Then it fell apart, it sell apart [Repeated for the joy of seeing extreme ways smash apart the darkest of existential peripheries.]

Extreme songs [=extreme ways] that told me
They helped me out late at night [so as to face the way things had been up until this time in which extreme ways entered in; what follows is an incredible description of the darkest of existential peripheries. Yikes!]
I didn’t have much to say
I didn’t give up the light
I closed my eyes
I closed myself
I closed my world
And never opened up to anything
That could cut me at all

I had to close down everything
I had to close down my mind
Too many things could cut me
Too much can make me blind
I’ve seen so much in so many places
So many heartaches
So many faces
So many dirty things
You couldn’t even believe [Well put. Yikes! But with all that hell, now extreme ways move in and facing such a hell so as to conquer it with extreme ways is that in which we rejoice:]

I would stand in line for this
There’s always room in life for this [Again, I laughed out loud when these two lines came along. This is it, exactly. Providence of extreme ways has us face the extreme dark peripheries where we are.]

Oh babe, oh babe
Then it sell apart, it sell apart
Oh babe, oh babe
Then it fell apart, it sell apart [Up to now, this song has concentrated on one’s own self being rescued by extreme ways entering in. But now the emphasis, rightly, is immediately put on all others. Firstly, it’s an appeal to the listener, who is directly addressed. The singer wants help, and now points to those who have been just like him. He’s been rescued but he wants help in rescuing others, especially in the face of nobody caring at all about those still in the darkest of existential peripheries… This is gripping:]

Can you see my people?
Can you see what I mean?
Can you see my people?
Can you see what I mean?
Oh nobody cares
Oh nobody cares
Oh nobody cares [Kudos to Moby.]
If we’re living here [In solidarity, he stays with those suffering, but with great enthusiasm:]

Oh babe, oh babe
Then it fell apart, it sell apart
Oh babe, oh babe
Then it fell apart, it sell apart
Oh babe, oh babe
Then it fell apart, it sell apart
Oh babe, oh babe [This is completely justified triumphalism. I love it. I absolutely love it.]
Like it fell the stars, fell the stars [This is a direct reference to the fallen angels. Moby, for all his eclectic searching going on, knows Scripture pretty well and is most at home with Christianity. I’d love to have a discussion with him offline about how mercy is based on justice and what Jesus is on about, who Jesus really is as the Providence of Extreme Ways in the darkness leading us into solidarity and goodness and kindness.]

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Anyway, thanks for that Moby. Really cool. I hope you don’t mind my commentary.

Thank you.

2 Comments

Filed under Song analysis

2 responses to “Extreme Ways (Moby) Lyrics Analysis

  1. Bandit

    https://genius.com/Moby-extreme-ways-lyrics
    Moby told Reddit:

    At the time i wrote i was being way too social…drinking too much, going out 6 or 7 nights a week, staying out until 7 a.m every night(morning). so ‘extreme ways’ was written about that time and the exciting but soul ravaging degeneracy that was a big part of my life then. thanks.

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