Gods’ Dice

Apostrophes are important. Don’t confuse what’s implied by “Gods’ Dice” with what would be implied by “God’s Dice”. Easy mistake to make, but a millimeter can make all the difference in the spiritual world. Jeff Ament’s power pop/punk track slipped onto Binaural at the eleventh hour, replacing an earlier version featuring “Sad”, “Fatal”, “Education”, and “In the Moonlight”, and many fans to this day don’t believe it was a fair trade. But “Gods’ Dice” has endured and weathered mixed reactions to be performed as recently as the rarity-filled Vic Theater show in August, 2007.   Ament’s statement in 2000 that he was still trying to figure out what his own song was about is key. I hope he’s still trying to figure it out. The ability for an artist to allow themselves the freedom to create something that they themselves don’t fully understand is not to be underestimated. Songs reveal themselves over time to musicians just as they do for listeners.  And though the core idea behind a song is usually static, connotations and loci of importance often shift.  The basic gist has to do belief or non-belief in God, figuring out the role of fate vs. free will, etc.  And as no conclusions are given, all ends relatively open, how one approaches the song, including Ament, is always in flux given the time in one’s life. This is not the same thing as leaving a song so vague as it could be about “anything”, which most of the time is a dreadful crime.  Instead, “Gods’ Dice”, despite not boasting any particularly revelatory or memorable moments, shows demonstrates a distinct style and method in Ament’s work, a thread that can be traced and followed, and which separates the bassist from other musicians who have tried to write occasionally for their respective bands.  Good, bad, or indifferent, the man does write with purpose.

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~ by Michael on September 6, 2007.

7 Responses to “Gods’ Dice”

  1. I have always enjoyed Jeff’s work, most times over Ed’s and sometimes Stone’s. He is very original and just the two tracks he wrote for Avocado show this: Army Reserve and Big Wave, how much different can you get? God’s Dice I don’t think would work as a b side for some reason and I think the first two songs on Binaural are perfectly placed. They’re short and basic and they hold enough energy to open people’s ears more; but Evacuation sort of makes me want to hurl.

  2. Derek Smalls is the bassist of Spinal Tap…

    Derek: We’re very lucky in the sense that we’ve got two visionaries in the band.
    Marty: Right.
    Derek: David and Nigel are both like, uh, like poets you know like Shelley or Byron, or people like that. The two totally distinct types of visionaries, it’s like fire and ice, basically, you see and I feel my role in the band, is to be kind of in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water, in a sense.

  3. Nice.

  4. C13, so what does the apostrophe imply exactly?

  5. Holy Christ! SAD, FATAL, EDUCATION and IN THE MOONLIGHT were left off in favor of …..GODS’ DICE!

  6. Oh damn, you got me BYM. This is what happens when you start a post and then finish it 5 days later. One tangent I could have spun off on was how “God’s Dice” would have implied Christianity’s God, which is not what the song is about. The song is about the idea of gods in general, whatever religion they might belong to. Somewhere along the line I must have decided that wasn’t such an interesting road to go down.

  7. Susan: Yep. They sure were.

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