Galactus invading New York. That's the backdrop that 'Losing On Yancy Street' is set against. Specifically, Fantastic Four #48 to #50 (known as "The Galactus Trilogy"). Call us comic book hipsters - the name of the World Devourer isn't explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, and I thought it'd be a more nuanced to use the name of Ben Grimm's old haunt.
Although fictional, if you put yourself in the shoes of a first responder (or even just a civilian) caught in the impending chaos, you can imagine how terrified you'd be. We're all de-sensitised to rampant comic book doom (thanks, summer tentpoles!), but the real-life ramifications are definitely there. A cosmic god with a penchant for gobbling up planets is on your doorstep, prepping his doom machine with its tendrils of terror to dig into the Earth's core to suck up the planet's essence.
Of course from all this, certain questions arise, such as:
1. What does Galactus do for dessert?
2. How does Galactus take a dump?
3. What intergalactic sanitation system south of Knowhere is robust enough to process the World Devourer's faeces?
The song itself sounds like a tubthumper, a fistpump of retaliation, a 'fuck yeah!' - only that it's not. It's written from the position of helplessness, where someone determined to help people out sees nothing but bleakness. It's the stark realisation that everything you do won't be enough.
There is no hope.
Now, the beauty in accepting that there is no hope can lead to two things. First, you might just want to end it all, which isn't really the best way to approach things, although given the circumstances, it's totally understandable.
You'll dig deeper, finding some renewed sense of vigour to go all out and just get it done. People are stubborn, and sometimes, magic can be borne out of stubbornness. Before that can happen, tragedy has to strike. And isn't that sad? That it's usually a tragedy that brings us together and blurs lines, while the simple things we do everyday usually can't bring us together?
This is not a song about naive optimism. By the end of the song, our Mary Sue has totally lost faith, because it just doesn't matter anymore.
(Thank goodness for the Ultimate Nullifier, the most deus ex of machinas.)
'Losing On Yancy Street' is the second song on "The Propositions Are Go!", The Propositions' debut EP. Join us as we officially launch the EP at Merdekarya on 30 June!