Swans' Most Terrifying Songs


"Job," from Cop (1984)

"Cut off the arms, cut off the head, cut off the legs, get rid of the body." It's your job. If you want the money, you'll do what you're told. You really need the money.

"Cop," from Cop (1984)

"Nothing beats your head in like a cop in jail," Gira sings. The line appears clear: your enemy is the cop that's beating your head in, you're the victim. But Gira casually swaps "your" for "their." "Nothing burns their skin like a cop, with a match." He's antagonizing all sides: you're the victim, you're also the one doing the torturing. The possibility for empathy with the Other exists, perhaps. But it only comes from acknowledging that you're the cop doing the torturing at the same time as you're the victim being tortured by the cop. You embody both positions simultaneously. But, maybe there is no Other. Perhaps you're burning your own skin like a cop, with a match. You just set yourself on fire.


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