It’s incredible how popular Achilles has become around the world. As an example, I have a neighbour who is an 81 year old retired Ancient History professor from the University Of NSW. When we were recently having a chat about history the subject of Greek mythology came up and I mentioned she might like to listen to the song. Not only did she know it well, she told me most of her peers and students had discussed the lyrics in depth! I was blown away…
Also interesting is the fact that Dave (presumably) has turned the comments off on the band’s official YouTube clip of Achilles. This tells me he’s not too happy about conjecture on the lyrics’ meaning, when he has previously stated their meaning. This is what he said:
"It’s floated around my consciousness since before The Positions was even recorded. I love Greek mythology, and this Homeric hero of Achilles in the Iliad always spoke to me in a real way, because his invincibility, obviously, was not 100 per cent airtight. And I think I identify with this really strongly, this image of him contemplating the realities of immortality and also the realities of his potential mortality. And used him as like this iron-clad figure to present the notion of depression and the notion of this other Greek mythology story, The Myth of Sisyphus , who Albert Camus uses as his prime source of material for that book of the same name.
The first question that Camus asks – it’s sort of like, your entry-level existentialist text for any pissed-off teenager – (is) “do you commit suicide, or do you live and embrace absurdity?” I was also very touched by the image of Billy Crudup in Almost Famous standing on top of a roof getting told to come down and shouting “I’m a golden God!” and jumping off into the pool. I thought that was a really magical, cinematic moment.
All these kind of themes tied itself into this idea of me dealing with the question of, you know, should I just end it or or should I keep going and embrace absurdity? And learn to love, and love dangerously, etc, etc".
Anyway, the discussion over the lyrics in the academia and Greek mythology world doesn’t look like stopping, and Achilles is now the most viewed video on YouTube by far…
@matt, you’ve said before you don’t like it, but I personally think it is a brilliant song, and I would love to see Dave perform it live with a full string ensemble- ce serait fantastique!!