February 23, 2018

Judas by Depeche Mode a Call to Arms?

The edgy, electronic sound of England’s Depeche Mode has made them one of the most successful bands in history. With sales totaling more than 75 million albums, this band’s atmospheric, slightly industrial compositions have intrigued and entertained generations. The group has an artistic, poetic approach, each song is expertly crafted, with just the right mixture of sunlight and shadow. Fans of the band love their dreamy, sexy sound. In the songs of Depeche Mode, tinges of Gothic melancholy exist alongside powerful messages of hope and peace.

On fan sites and message boards, people tend to butt heads as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of Depeche Mode Judas lyrics – for some, the song is very dark, with sadistic overtones. For others, it’s a postmodern hymn of faith and salvation. Let’s look at the Judas lyrics by Depeche Mode in detail to see what we can find. Here is the first verse:

Is simplicity best
Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path
Is always the holiest

So walk on barefoot for me

Suffer some misery
If you want my love
If you want my love

This oblique verse really captures the essence of Depeche Mode – themes of religious sacrifice become tangled up in sexual entendres and passionate statements. Sorting out the deeper meaning of these lines is all about understanding the questions in the lyricist’s (Martin Gore) mind – as he wrote the lyrics, he posed a query — is the hardest road always the most worthwhile?

Will it lead to fulfillment? To love and happiness?

Using imagery that seems to equate “holy” living with the attainment of love, he may be telling a lover – or a disciple – or even a guru – that he or she must “suffer some misery” to win his love.

From this point of view, the song could be written by Jesus or Judas or simply a demanding lover. To go deeper into the song’s secrets, let’s examine a later verse:

You can fulfill
Your wildest ambitions

And I’m sure you will
Lose your inhibitions

So open yourself for me
Risk your health for me
If you want my love
If you want my love
If you want my love
If you want my love

This verse has more sinister connotations – it seems to belie that the song is written to rally the faithful. Losing inhibitions is not normally a Christian goal – therefore, it narrows down the meaning of the song. The lyricist is demanding proof of love, but he is also asking for far more than that.

“So open yourself for me, risk your health for me, if you want my love,” can be viewed in a spiritual, or a sadomasochistic, sense.

It is safe to say that Jesus did not encourage his flock to “lose inhibitions”. This is why the song has a hint of darkness and sexiness – it seems that perhaps a lover has betrayed the lyricist, and he now requires proof of love that is all encompassing. Proof must come in the form of risk-taking, naughty games, and all sorts of painful sacrifices.

If the songwriter is playing the role of Judas, he may be tempting others to the dark side, if he is playing the role of a seducer, he may be toying with the idea of playing sexual games (including S & M) with a new love interest. In order to join with him, his love interest must give his or herself over completely. For Judas, there can be no half-measures at all.

Whether this song is a dark sexual or romantic invitation, or a true religious temptation, it poses more questions that it answers. However, all evidence points away from the song being a traditional Christian call to arms.

Judas by Cage the Elephant

Cage The Elephant burst onto the American indie rock scene in 2009, when their eponymous debut album was released through Red Ink Records. Powered by a mixture of funk, punk and classic rock influences, this Bowling Green, Kentucky band is also known for their high-octane, passionate live performances. 

When brothers Matt Shultz (vocals) and Brad Shultz (guitar) joined with bassist Daniel Tichenor, guitarist Lincoln Parish, and drummer Jared Champion, their goal was simple — to have fun with music! Over time, this garage-rock band put together plenty of enjoyable songs, including Judas, the eighth track off of their first album. Here, their lead singer explains a little bit about the development of the band:

cage the elephant tshirt“We’d write four or five songs and play them at our friends’ house parties until we were tired of playing them. Then we’d write five more. After awhile, we were like, “We could make an album!”

Here is a guide to the Judas lyrics by Cage the Elephant and what they mean. The first verse paints a portrait of a greedy, abusive authority figure. The singer asks this Judas: “Can’t you see the flowers dying all around you?”
The time has finally come you get a mouth full
You only act on greed and by your actions this is proof
And can’t you see the flowers dying all around you?
Got your hands in the devils pockets
Got everything to lose

In this case, the “flowers” may be a metaphor for people – after all, the world’s dictators and multinational corporations are destroying the environment and harming human beings. Since the original Judas betrayed the Son of God, we can surmise that this song’s protagonist is also an epic betrayer, possibly one who operates in political and corporate arenas.

When Matt sings about Judas having his “hands in the devil’s pockets”, he seem to be referencing the biblical Judas, who betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver. When he tells Judas he has “everything to lose”, he may be talking about his soul.

In the Cage the Elephant song, the idea of morality is strong. The lyricist has defined ethics, and he is defending his ideals against the repeated assaults of the Judas figure. Matt Schulz is looking at the actions of Judas and passing judgment…just as Christians have passed judgment on the biblical Judas for thousands of years.

Singer Matt Shultz’ voices oozes with disdain as he takes Judas to task for his cover-ups and his desire to control the masses:

Again you lash out
To hush the ones who know
All the ones that you fear most
And it’s called crowd control
Well let me break it down for you

In this song, Judas takes on an Orwellian cast; he punishes the “crowd” for their curiosity, their questions, and their concerns. Like Big Brother in Orwell’s novel, 1984, this betrayer of society refuses to allow the common people their say. In fact, much like the biblical Judas, this dark figure eventually draws blood to achieve his ends:

And it’s a shame to have to say
You had to kill to gain control again
But at least you made some money
Hey, let the good times roll

Modern themes of protest, such as “no blood for oil” or similar, anti-war sentiments seem to be echoed within these Cage The Elephant Judas lyrics. Whether the lyrics reference environmental disasters, cold-blooded corporate CEO’s, or political leaders who crush their enemies, this tune strives to introduce the world to a whole new Judas.

Say hello to Judas

This post-millennial version of Christ’s deceitful Apostle, Judas, is powered by money, force, and a soulless and selfish hidden agenda.