Molars
28Apr/11

What’s Up, Jackal?

Oneida - The Eiger

N.B. I know people see 'Oneida' and think either: 'flatware' or 'noise rock'. Please believe me when I tell you that "The Eiger" is definitely one of the prettiest songs released in the last decade--for the string arrangements alone, that would be the case, but the singing is also right on.

This is a song for alpinists! "The Eiger" alludes to an earlier period when certain sporting activities still contained some elements of formality and etiquette and were reserved for only the priveleged (not that there aren't sports like that now). "The Eiger" is also terribly romantic--the narrator talks about the mountain itself being all-consuming, first as 'a whole wide world', and then 'my only world', but then contrasts that passion with the aforementioned scenario in which he dies and never becomes acquainted with the 'pretty little German girl' featured in the first line (the phrase 'pretty little German girl', by the way, is enunciated in such a sweetly rhythmic way--it locks into the systolic movement of the strings so well).

There is also something distinctly Clint Eastwood in this song. Not many people know about "The Eiger Sanction", the 1975 thriller in which Clint plays Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, art teacher/collector who finances his monstrous art addiction by performing small assassinations and by also climbing huge and dangerous mountains. But how can you discuss "The Eiger" without also mentioning this cinema classic? Impossible. George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke, Naked Gun) turns in the performance of a lifetime as Ben Bowman, the old (and possibly treacherous???) friend of Clint's character. I can and will recommend this movie wholeheartedly to you, but I can't help but think it might have been 100x better if Clint had somehow managed to work Oneida's "the Eiger" into the movie (perhaps by singing it?), despite the fact that the song was released a full 30 years after the movie was shot.

The last part of Oneida's Thank Your Parents trilogy, Absolute II, is coming out soon. You can listen to "Horizon" from Absolute II over at their bandcamp page.

[Buy the Wedding, you won't be disappointed]

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  1. The Eiger Sanction has the exact plot of the crime novel I’m working on now. What an upsetting revelation, but I have now this song at least.


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