The Past Is A Grotesque Animal

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

  • This song takes us inside the mind of Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes at a time when he was extremely tormented. When he wrote the song, he was dealing with a clinical depression and in a state he later described as "borderline suicidal." He was on the outs with his wife Nina, who had recently given birth to their daughter Alabee but had taken her back to Sweden. The song is a very visceral description of that time.
  • In the lyric, Barnes explains how he met his wife Nina in 2001 at a music festival in Oslo where Of Montreal performed. She was in a band called The Ethnobabes that were on the label that organized the festival. The label boarded Of Montreal at Nina's friend's house, which is where they crossed paths. As Barnes sings in the song, the hyper-cultured pair discussed the Georges Bataille novella Story Of The Eye, then fell in love.

    Kevin and Nina reconciled before the Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? album was released, but later split for good.
  • In a 2020 interview with Kevin Barnes, he explained what it was like to still perform this song. "I still get a therapeutic charge out of it," said Barnes. "It feels to me like a very powerful song, and I'm very vulnerable in the song, so I'm not just going through the motions. I'm still transported back to that time period and to that emotional state when I wrote the song."

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