How Can You Be Relevant When You Grew Up in a Religious Cult?
Still, the album addresses spiritual questions right up front, opening with "Book of Revelation," a song that straight-up denies any sort of afterlife. "I've seen the world and there's no heaven and there's no hell," Pierce coos on the chorus. "And I believe that when we die, we die." He confirms the belief the song sets forth: "I have a hard time empathizing with anyone who believes in any sort of God. Atheism seems to give you a sense of urgency. If this is all there is, I better do something with it." Like run away from a cult-like situation, maybe.
Grimes embraces the dramatic side of it all. Her orthodox Catholic childhood provided inspiration for some of the sweeping, gothy soundscapes and themes on her 2012 album Visions. At least one of the record's standout tracks, "Genesis," was inspired by her extremist education. "I went to this terrible school where we didn't learn anything because we were always in church," she explained in an interview for Foam Magazine just before the album's release. "I just remember sitting there in this reverb chamber, with the choir singing in Latin and this violent image of a man nailed to a cross. I wrote that song to replace that feeling, because when it wasn't scary, it was nice."
Birch seems to relate to that same idea. Her album Bible Belt has no internal church references, but she explains the title on more general terms. "The bible was the center of the household for me and it represented strength," she says. But she too has grown up to reject the Seventh Day Adventist beliefs she was born to.
It's worth noting that Haze, Pierce and Owens identify as gay, bisexual or pan-sexual, lifestyles that probably wouldn't be tolerated in their parents' faiths, which only reinforces the alternative music pantheon's identity as a salon for rebels and outcasts who take issue with societal conditions thrust upon them. It's a safe place for those who had no hope of fitting in.