Dan Bejar of Destroyer is hyper-aware of being in the music tradition: that as much as he carves his own monument as the 21st century esoteric, we are always made of aware of his struggle to make his way in it- as he most tellingly croons in ‘The Bad Arts’ ‘Why did you spend the 90’s cowering?’.
And so in ostentatiously borrowing from the musical canon we see both the man and the myth. The man in that he shows his debt to these musicians, but the myth that he can so wantonly scrape some of rock’s most sacred lines and graft them into his songs takes an assuredness that Destroyer’s monument will be just as large as his idols’.
A great conceptual example is the admitted influence Roxy Music’s Avalon had over Bejar while he was making Kaputt. On one level it shows that Bejar would not have been able to make Kaputt without Roxy Music building the groundwork. But on another level, Bejar uses Avalon’s as a springboard to create his own masterpiece, and I believe, to overshadow Roxy Music as the go-to for that genre.
Anyway, I thought it would be a fun exercise to pinpoint some of Destroyer’s most obvious lyrical tributes, how he takes such well-known and concrete lines and reimagines them through his Destroyer’s lens.
My personal favourite is the ‘Music Lovers’ Fleetwood Mac rip
‘Oh life, is bigger…’
from: ‘Watercolours into the Ocean’ (go to 0:58)
original: R.E.M ‘Losing My Religion
‘Until this Phoney Beatle-Mania has bitten the dust…’
from: ‘The Sublimation Hour’ (Go to 3:06)
original: The Clash ‘London Calling’
‘You can go your own way…’
from: ‘The Music Lovers’ (Go to 2:10)
original: Fleetwood Mac
‘You gotta have faith…’
from: ‘English Music’ (Go to 1:27)
original: George Michael