Slow Dakota: I Saw Christ Crying in Hermès

slow dakota

Slow Dakota is the baroque pop project of our very own Fort Wayne, Indiana-based writer PJ Sauerteig, and we’re happy to present his new single “I Saw Christ Crying in Hermès” (out via his own record label, Massif Records). Like most of his work, this track is intensely lyrical and allusive, though perhaps somewhat more easily-digestable than his other work. PJ thought I would do a good job presenting his work, but little did he know – I’m just gonna quote his explanation word for word, cause the artist knows his own work best.

[The track] proposes the idea that Christianity has withered (as a cultural monolith) for mostly economic reasons. That is, value is determined by scarcity, and by exclusivity; the harder something is to attain, or enter, the more valuable or desirable it is. Christianity markets itself as all-inclusive, placing all members of society on an equal plane, all equally loved and cherished by its God. In a scarcity-driven culture, though, no idea could be more repugnant. If everyone is given a key, what good is the door’s lock? Of course, this indictment of Christian universalism backfires as an indictment of any culture that would reject an idea based on its vast inclusivity.

The main rhythmic element of this number is a jangly acoustic guitar (or even ukelele / mandolin-sounding) cadence that makes me immediately recall one of my favorite Animal Collective-influenced folk songwriting projects, Norwegian Arms (what with the arctic-sounding voicings and jangly rhythms underneath playfully high-voiced vocal layerings). It’s weird how a track that sounds so Americana-influenced (in an outdoorsy, folksy sense) can recall megachurches and the decline of American Protestantism at the same time. Or maybe it isn’t so weird. As I mentioned before, PJ’s lyrics are really the strong point here (sung from the perspective of Jesus):

I made a mistake: I told everyone
That I love them equally;
That they’re all the same to me.
What a foolish thing to do –
Boy, it shows how little I know you!

I should have made my Book exclusive –
Only sold in SoHo stores,
Bouncers at the golden doors –
Then a great big line would form!
A bigger line than Heaven’s had for years!

All in all, it’s a pretty wonderful track that speaks to PJ’s ability to coherently string together overarching themes with coy instrumentals. You can keep up with Slow Dakota on facebook and find the rest of his music on bandcamp.

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