This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 423,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review of "Judas Kiss" on Decker's album "Long Days"

"Long Days" track #4. "Judas Kiss"

Decker’s fourth track on “Long Days” is “Judas Kiss” perhaps the deepest song on the album. The song includes an eerie harmony played on a handsaw by Leah Baggao and two vocal tracks both sung by Decker.

“Judas Kiss” accompanies “In the Same Boat” but revolves around a single character looking at himself rather than outside relationships.

“When we attack each other, we attack ourselves,” Decker said. “This song is comes from looking at the wreckage of my own life. It’s about someone looking at track mark scars on his arm and asking, ‘when am I going to be on my own side?’”

The song is partially inspired by the Bible verse Matthew 12:25, “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (King James Version). Decker turns this back on himself, he becomes the kingdom, city and house divided against himself.

The two voices work thematically to echo the duality of two separate individuals. The emblematic kiss was the one marking Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, one of his dearest disciples. In the song, Decker’s Judas is himself.

Metaphorically, the song depicts the schizophrenic emergence of a split personality. From the start, Decker accompanies his own natural tenor register with a second vocal layer in the baritone range. This secondary baritone starts off harmonizing in unison with the primary tenor, but split as it realizes Decker’s destructive behavior patterns.

Decker’s naïve tenor voice remains stuck in the same cycle while his baritone voice develops self-critical sentience, reinterpreting the tenor’s chorus “With friends like me, who needs enemies?” to mean Decker himself.

The baritone then becomes a distinct layer. The two voices reunite when contemplating, “Where'd you get those marks upon your skinny arms?”

However, after the tenor repeats the seemingly unchanged chorus, it appears that the once-dominant can no longer grasp the weight of the situation or refuses to, at which point the baritone takes over and the tenor becomes merely an echo. The baritone seemingly sees the physical manifestation of self-destruction as the final straw and takes over the melody, effectively remaining dominant through the rest of the song.

Lyrics for "Judas Kiss"

said oh my Lord - then you clench your fist
really sealed the deal, sold out with a Judas kiss.
my, my, said it’s all so trite.
with your fingers crossed behind your back, is it still a lie?

with friends like me, who needs enemies?
with friends like these - friends like me

where'd you get those marks upon your skinny arms?
whatever happened to your hopes and dreams and all that childhood charm?
you say your best days all have come and gone (your stitches worn)
put you back on the shelf where you belong.

with friends like me, who needs enemies?
with friends like these - friends like me

when you were young, you were the light.
you were the moon and you were the stars.
you were like me.
and now you're walking in the dark.
no matter how far out you are,
you're like me.

with friends like me, who needs enemies?
with friends like these - friends like me

The CD release party for Decker's debut album "Long Days" is Friday, Oct. 2 at Ken's Creekside, 251 Hwy. 179, Sedona.
For more information, e-mail to


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