Gronlandic Edit

Album: Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (2007)

Songfacts®:

  • Gronland is an area in Oslo, Norway, where Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes was living with his wife Nina, who is from that country. They moved there so Nina could give birth to their daughter, Alabee, in 2004 (this was a financial move - the procedure is free in Sweden but very pricey in America).

    Barnes went into a depression around this time that left him lethargic and confused. As he sings in the first verse, he would hole up in their friend's apartment, leaving just once a day. In "Gronlandic Edit," he muses about religion, and how wonderful it would be to give himself to a god of some kind to heal his pain. But then he'd have to pick a god, and also suspend his belief in science - he thinks we're destined to fall back to Earth because "physics makes us all its bitches."

    "I was raised in the Catholic church and a lot of the members of my family are still involved with the church," Barnes told Songfacts in 2020. "So I've had first-hand experience with that form of religion and I can see how there are many toxic aspects to that, especially the way the more uptight sects of Christianity deal with things like homosexuality and women's rights to choose. In general, I see how religion is used as a manipulation tool by the state to create a patriarchal society with individuals who are unable to make their own personal decisions and are often oppressed by the patriarchal hierarchy. So, I can see how it's extremely toxic in this country or any country that has any sort of official religion because it's always used to oppress people. There might be some other side-effect where people have an easier time sleeping at night, but I don't think it's worth what you give up for it."
  • Typical of Of Montreal, this song couches various anxieties and other deep thoughts inside an almost danceable beat. Kevin Barnes kept the music upbeat throughout the Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? album.

    Also typical of the band, there is no chorus and no mention of the title in the lyric.
  • The opening line in the song is "nihilists with good imaginations." Kevin Barnes was kind enough to explain it in his Songfacts interview: "It's a reference to the Dadaists. I was thinking about this other art group and how they are basically nihilists with good imaginations. I was wondering if I should be a part of that crew in my mind or look for something that's deeper and less empty emotionally speaking."
  • Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? was a breakthrough album for Of Montreal, who released their first album ten years earlier. It also marked the emergence of a stage persona Kevin Barnes came up with: Georgie Fruit. His costumes got more and more flamboyant over the years and he gradually took full control of the group. By the late 2010s, Of Montreal was essentially his solo project.
  • "Gronlandic Edit" got a lot of airplay on Indie Rock radio (mostly college stations) and held up as one of the group's most popular songs, played at most of their concerts.
  • This song plays in a T Mobile commercial starring the band. In the spot, a tone-deaf promoter uses his device to work up a reunion tour for Of Montreal. When they tell him they haven't broken up, he says, "you will."

    By this time, Of Montreal had already handled the fallout from allowing their song "Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)" to be used in a commercial for Outback Steakhouse. As Kevin Barnes explained, artists have to take the money when it's available, and as long as it doesn't compromise their work, there's nothing wrong with it.

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