Kawau

Glyph of the word 'kawau'.

kawau

  • (v.) to fall
  • (v.) to fall down
  • (n.) falling
  • (adj.) falling

Aeiu hopeke kawau ei…
“Into the abyss I fall…”

Notes: This is the opening to one of my all-time favorite songs…

Number 7
“Powerslave”

Iron Maiden's album Powerslave

Powerslave (1984)

Going to back to what I mentioned in the first post in this series, this is a song that can be appreciated on a kind of separate aesthetic level.

See, a lot of heavy metal songs take a fantastical (and sometimes silly) premise and treat it seriously. Without lyrics, music is excellent at setting a mood. The music in this song, then, sets the tone, and forces (or allows?) the listener to take the content of the lyrics seriously.

The song itself is about a hypothetical pharaoh facing his imminent death. See, these are the type of nonsensical or silly premises that metal can explore and take seriously (hard to imagine a Justin Bieber song about the same). It explores the classical tragic theme of the futility of limitless power in the face of the ultimate power: death. The lyrics of the chorus are especially poignant (if you can call this poignant; I lack a better word at the moment):

Tell me why I had to be a powerslave
I don’t want to do die; I’m a god—why can’t I live on?
When the Life Giver dies, all around is laid waste
And in my last hour I’m a slave to the power of death.

Good stuff—and a nice companion piece to Metallica’s “Creeping Death”, which came out in the same year.

Up next, possibly the best comeback since Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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