Understanding how different texts influence the overall meaning of a song can be crucial. By discovering these texts in their own right, the information they bring defines an artist’s intent. The works surrounding Fugazi’s The Kill are no different. By examining Ian MacKaye’s vocal delivery in the studio version of the song and the band’s rendition of the song live, The Kill’s meaning becomes even deeper than ever before. 

Looking back through all of Fugazi’s discography the band started their roots making post-hardcore music (as explored in post 1). However, as the years progressed and Ian MacKaye’s singing evolved, he stopped shouting out his lines and started producing more melodically dense sounds. By the standards that we as a society have created as “good” singing MacKaye’s vocals may have not gotten “better” but they still drastically improved. I think this context is important to the discussion of the song because it shows that MacKaye’s vocals are what the listener may be instantly pulled into when listening to the song. His calm and subdued nature leaves an uneasy feeling that something is wrong. It’s the same feeling that directly influences the lyrics I’ve talked about in previous posts. MacKaye wants the listener to be uncomfortable with truth, to do this MacKaye must dawn the voice of his creation. It seems as if the muse for the character would have taken a page out of a Hitchock-inspired sociopath. This is all to say that without MacKaye’s different approach to vocal delivery on The Kill, the song would suffer. 

Much like Fugazi’s evolution from their hardcore roots to a more artful approach their live performances began to change too. By the time The Kill was released, Fugazi had already decided to hang up their coats indefinitely. They embarked on a year-long tour in support of their final album The Argument throughout North America and Europe. Because of this, the song’s context becomes more than that of the lyrics. Not only during tours would Fugazi add and subtract moments from The Kill and other pieces to make them more interesting. The song now felt more like a warning cry. Without another album, MacKaye’s messages being displayed post 9/11 still reign true today. Fugazi’s performance of the song live left a feeling of despair within while watching these performances but most likely had the same effect on the patrons who soon discovered they’d never see Fugazi again. 

Texts and contexts give a reader, listener, or viewer more of an appreciation of the art they consume. Lyrics can drive a song but without lyrics where does the importance lie on the listener? In my case listening to how Ian Mackaye and Fugazi change the way they approach music makes The Kill a much more powerful and present song than it was in my first 2 listening posts. Therefore, I believe in some regards this post should be read before my second or even first post. Indirectly approaching a song can turn out to be a lot more enlightening than any other way.