Rachel Taylor Brown
Half Hours with the Lower Creatures
In Music We Trust
If you’re not paying attention, Half Hours with the Lower Creatures by Rachel Taylor Brown is a whimsically light affair. If you are paying attention it’s like drinking cyanide Kool-Aid. Sure, it tastes good, but once you realize what’s in it, it’s too late. Let me explain…
Brown’s melodies and vocals, for the most part, are light and fluffy — not quite as much as Colbie Calliet’s and definitely not on the “Jesus Christ Superstar” -esque “B.S. (Beautiful Savior)” — but especially on the seven-minute instrumental opener “Hemocult/ I Care About You.” Once you get into the lyrics, though, you realize just how dark and cynical Brown is, especially about religion.
“Passion” was written when she was flipping through the TV channels and stumbled across a religious station broadcasting a video about the crucifixion with all the blood and the writhing hand with the nail in it and such. Her thought was, “Who wants a god who wants blood? His son’s blood?” Her lyrics are even more biting: “They’re spilling the fake blood of Christ/ On the deaf and dumb.”
She takes on the Biblical story about a father killing his son because God asked it of him in the song “Abraham and Isaac.” “Did Abraham say anything to Isaac like/ ‘I’m killing you today/ Better bring a coat it looks like rain’?”
The one break in the religious (or anti-religious depending on how you look at it) theme is “Another Dead Soldier in Fallujah.” It is still just as light musically and heavy lyrically as all the rest of the tracks on the album, with Brown poignantly pointing out the daily, but brief stories about soldiers dying and how the story doesn’t change even for your own child. “Saw the little sliver of a story about your boy/ If you blinked you would miss it/ And it looked anyway like a million stories we’ve seen before.”
Half Hours with the Lower Creatures is not an album for the ultra-religious, who would probably call it blasphemous, and Rachel Taylor Brown a minion of the devil. This is a beautiful album on the outside, but incredibly disturbing lyrically. It’s not an easy listen, but it does cause you to think. Anything that can make you think about and study ideas that have been taken for granted for generations needs to be heard, if for nothing else, to solidify what you believe, regardless of what that is.