The Hymn of Acxiom

She's a helluva chef. Interpretation, praise, criticism ...

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The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby artmarcia » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:18 pm

Vienna's lyrics are intellectually complex and poetic--even more so in the new album, AIMS. When deciphering the lyrics, I try to have Google close at hand.

After looking up "Acxiom" the chilling reality of this lovely "hymn" became apparent.

Now I'm trying to delve deeper into phrases I don't totally "get". Currently I'm working on "marshal feed and force." On Wikitionary I discovered that "marshaling" is a computer term that means: "In computer science, marshalling (sometimes spelled marshaling with a single l) is the process of transforming the memory representation of an object to a data format suitable for storage or transmission, and it is typically used when data must be moved between different parts of a computer program or from one program to another." Not knowing that much about computers, I don't understand the definition, but think I might be on the right track.

Any thoughts?

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Re: The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby MannyQ » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:30 am

This song grabbed me on my morning commute. So much so that I listened to it for about a half hour before I penetrated its meanings. So, here is my interpretation:

Somebody hears you.
Instantly, this has become an impersonal song. The format is a love song or a hymnal, so you are lead into that.
But, she chose the word "somebody" because it is faceless and obscure. not he, or she. But, as Vienna is too subtle, the use of "they" would be blunt.

you know that. you know that.
We know that data is gathered about us.

somebody hears you.
Let's reiterate the subtext, you are being monitored. Also, this kind of repetition is common in the love songs she is kind of parodying.

you know that inside.
Here she switches from the vague and impersonal outside, to the directness of your insides. It's a statement of you being fragile.

someone is learning the colors of all your moods, to (say just the right thing and) show that you’re understood.
Here she is repeating (in theme) the kind of phrase found in love poetry, while continuing the undertone. Here, it isn't that something is known about us, but that it is understood. To know and to udnerstand are very different things.

here you’re known.
Understood, known, reinforcing the lesson.

leave your life open.
There is no use trying to hide from us, we will get the data we need.

you don’t have.
you don’t have.
leave your life open.
you don’t have to hide.
This bit is juxtaposed, so she gets into another duality. "You don't have" can be seen as a lead in to either statement, or taken on its own: You don't have *something*

someone is gathering every crumb you drop,
Remember: even things you find unimportant can be used against you. The fact that you have an ad blocker, for instance, tells me that you will be susceptible to other kinds of ads.

these (mindless decisions and) moments you long forgot.
You are a slave to your impulse, but we tracked each and every one of them.

keep them all.
they will never, ever stop tracking everything. They know more about you than you do.

let our formulas find your soul.
First, she sets the scenario: we know everything about you, let it go. Stage one fear. Next step: befriend, cajole, and beckon. The language changes from we know or do to let us, please.

we’ll divine your artesian source (in your mind),
A religious aphorism, the juxtaposition of machine and god.

marshal feed and force (our machines will)
We can compress every piece of you into managable data.

to design you a perfect love— or (better still) a perfect lust.
Your carnal and immediate desires are easy to grab, so we'll go for that. Remember: business is about instant gratification and low hanging fruit.

o how glorious, glorious:
a brand new need is born.
And now, here is the triumphant victory. Apple is magic here, creating a need is the DREAM of anyone trying to sell anything.

now we possess you.
you’ll own that.
you’ll own that.
now we possess you.
you’ll own that in time.
An entire victory dance.

now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
(reach in your pocket)
Apple is a perfect allusion here: keep makign the next thing slightly better and you'll ALWAYS buy it. Nothing is going to be enough. Slightly better, faster, sleeker. Forever.

embrace you for all you’re worth.
is that wrong?
isn’t this what you want?
And here, finally, the quiet thoughtfulness. I imagine here the thoughts of the latest engineer or marketer saying this at the end of a successful campaign. Is this wrong? Are we doing wrong? Help me?

Amen. Huge word. Very, very huge word, especially for her to use it. A prayer to the Machine.

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Re: The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby artmarcia » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:38 am

Bravo MannyQ!! I just feel like somebody heard me (in the human sense).

Got any thoughts on "Close to Home"? (see my post)

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Re: The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby Michele » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:13 am

I can't believe I'm posting this, but David Byrne has written about the subversion in this song.

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Re: The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby verteller » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:54 pm

Whoa, what a great interpretation! Thanks a lot for sharing :)
To want to, is to be able to.

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Re: The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby artmarcia » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:34 pm

Thanks for that link Michelle. Very interesting to see that Vienna's Teng's songs take on a life of their own.

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Re: The Hymn of Acxiom

Postby Ang Mo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:02 am

It is a very deep song. I was thinking it was going to be about religion, similar to this passage I read out of a book,
Jews wait for the Lord, Protestants sing hymns to him, and Catholics say mass and eat him"
", but once again Vienna stumps me again.
--the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, and fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved once and for all. Would you trade your depression to become any of these?

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