Jean-Baptiste Clamence's Megamix
...of The Fall by Albert Camus
Artist: Bad Religion
Song: Automatic Man
Album: No Control
1.Bad Religion's Automatic Man is a fast paced song from their most popular album, telling the story of a man who goes through life on "automatic". "He's the quintessential mindless modern epicine. His life is meaningful because he gets things done." Although the song takes a sarcastic stance by hailing the automatic man, it is quite relevant in describing the average citizen. Clamence, the protagonist from The Fall, happens to fit this description quite well, as the first thing we're told of his early life is that he was once a just lawyer and a reputable citizen.
"When he has an original thought, he forgets it right away.
He's a paradigm of carefree living.
He's our mentor, disturb him if you can.
He's the answer if your peace of mind is lacking.
He's our savior, he is the common man.
So if you are troubled by the daily bump and grind,
Then take a careful look around and brother you will find...
The Automatic Man."
Again, here we see traces of Clamence. By the end of the text, he regards his early complacency with scorn and embarassment. Throughout the text, we see the evolution of Clamence's intellect, but while he was a lawyer and a charitable citizen...he was simply an automatic man.
Artist: Third Eye Blind
2. The song Jumper by Third Eye Blind takes much more of a literal meaning when compared to The Fall. In the text, Clamence has a life changing experience when he witnesses a girl commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Rather than take action and try to save the girl, he continues to walk home and tells nobody of the incident. The song states, "I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend," which obviously references a very similar situation through the eyes of the singer. Clamence would have continued to lead a life of normality had this girl stepped away from the ledge, but he was not so lucky.
Artist: Explosions in the Sky
Song: The First Breath After the Coma
Album: The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
3. The First Breath After the Coma is an instrumental song by the post-rock group Explosions in the Sky. The song itself is very melodic, and serves as the intro track to their best-selling album. Clocking in at just under eight minutes, it starts off with a very soft repeated guitar note and builds into a very beautiful climax of guitars, bass, and drums ringing together in something that sounds orchestrated. This song serves to represent Clamence's "awakening" into his true intellectual/existential state of mind, which in many ways is really his first breath after the coma of conformity. The build-up to the climax respresents his conformity until the girl takes her own life. After the climax of the song, all the instruments remain playing. This is parallel to how Clamence is finally able to fully utilize his mind after the climax of the text.
Artist: The Cure
Song: Killing an Arab
Album: Staring at the Sea: The Singles
4. This song is ironically based upon another text by Albert Camus, yet the meaning encompasses both texts quite well. Although Camus hated the label of existentialist, many of his texts certainly fit the label.
"I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I choose
It amounts to the same
The protagonists of The Stranger and The Fall share similar situations, in that the final outcome of their life changing decisions prove to be completely meaningless. These lyrics especially frame this point. If Clamence had done anything to save the girl, it still wouldn't have REALLY mattered.
Artist: Arab Strap
Album: The Red Thread
5.Cherubs is, to put it bluntly, a song about sex by an artist who sings primarily about sex and women. Clamence's weakness (or perhaps strength if you look at it through his eyes) is that he loves having sex with as many women as possible. The actual sex gives him a feeling of control and actually allows him to feel human.
"The walls breathe we're locked tight - it's a lovely end to an ugly night.
I think I could burst but I'm sure it'll keep.
The strobe in my head keeps me from sleep."
These lines especially embody Clamence's state of mind when pursuing sex. When it occurs/he succeeds, he views it as a "lovely end," yet his mind is still constantly buzzing with thoughts of love, existence, etc.
Artist: Bright Eyes
Song: The City Has Sex
Album: Letting Off the Happiness
6. As the novel progresses, we begin to see Clamence truly reach an existential state, where nothing has any meaning despite his search for it.
"This feeling’s familiar, I’ve been here before
In a kitchen this quiet I waited for a sign or just something
That might reassure me of anything close to meaning or motion
(With a reason to move)
I need something I want to be close to
And I scream, but I still don’t know why I do it
Because the sound never stays, it just swells and decays
So what is the point?
Why try to fight what is now so certain?
The truth is all that I am is a passing event that will be forgotten"
These lines by Bright Eyes really represent the futility of Clamence's search for purpose. The final line of the song ultimately sums up what Clamence's final conclusion of his existence really serves.
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Song: Heresy (Blind)
Album: Closer to God
7. In one specific chapter near the end of the text, Clamence goes on for quite a bit about how Jesus was a sinner and how he doesn't concur with the modern portrayal of Jesus in society. Ultimately, Clamence references the death of God, which fully cements him as an existentialist.
"Your God is dead and no one cares
If there is a hell I will see you there."
These two lines embody how Clamence has come to terms with religion. He refuses to allow God to have any influence on his decisions in life, and honestly doesn't care if he winds up wrong in the long run.
Artist: Sigur Ros
8. This song by the Icelandic group, Sigur Ros, may as well be instrumental since the lyrics present are in the Icelandic language (spoken by only 300,000 people world-wide). In actuality, it's the music and not the lyrical content that allow this song to represent the conclusion to The Fall. The song is altogether very quiet and subtle, much like the ending of Clamence's tale. However, the song ends without a very conclusive finish (in fact, there is another song on the album that is supposedly the real ending). This is very similar to the ending of The Fall which leaves us wondering if Clamence is at the conclusion of his life or if he will move on and continue his intellectual development.