Each week, ex-KDHX DJ Chris Ward examines a song from his quarantine-based playlist dealing with isolation, loneliness, hope and germs. This song and more can be found on the Spotify playlist, “Pande-mix: an end of the world playlist”: https://spoti.fi/2WZGTJZ.
“The Combine” — John Maus — Screen Memories (2017)
“It’s gonna dust us into nothin’.”
. With the same church bells and brooding organs that tell movie heroes “time is up,” the first track on John Maus’ Screen Memories
“I see the combine comin’. It’s gonna dust us into nothin’,” he repeats over and over, looking skyward, eyeballs white, fully possessed by the three-eyed raven. In the same way that Stephen King turns heartland imagery and colloquialisms into horror shows, “The Combine” gets under my skin. My dad grew up on a farm, but unlike his brothers he never stuck with it.
However, every once in a while, they’ll let him hop up in the John Deere Combine and go through some fields at harvest for fun. But I can’t imagine he has a single idea what he’s doing in this expensive machine, grinding through everything in its path indiscriminately. He has no skin in the game — he just kind of felt like doing it that afternoon.
If that isn’t an on-the-nose metaphor for the ho-hum way people are being threshed and mowed down into oblivion by this administration, I don’t know what it is. You may be at peace with it, you might not be, but you can see the Combine coming.
And, rooted to the earth, out here in the dark pink sky — elbow to elbow with every maskless, science-denying ghoul — there is no moving out of the way this time.
This song and many more can be found on Chris Ward’s Pande-Mix playlist on Spotify.