The Motion Sick: WBCN no more…Bastille Day…since 1789 – Jean-Paul since 2008

WBCN is officially shutting down: You might recall what an awesome time we had playing the Rock N Roll Rumble this year and we are very sad that the event is now in limbo along with one of our very favorite shows, Boston Emissions and its top-notch hosts Anngelle Wood and Shawn Clayton. This is a huge hit for local music and just makes me really sad. We’ve had Anngelle and Shawn get involved in supporting local rock in a way that made us all feel like this city was finally paying attention to itself. Now, we are reminded once again that all anyone cares about in Boston is sports. I really hope a day comes when the Red Sox get their season cancelled because a bunch of awesome concerts are coming to town. What an amazingly sad day.

As with all sweeping change, we hope something new and amazing will rise to replace all that Boston Emissions did for Boston music. Speaking of sweeping change, today is also Bastille Day, a major moment in the French Revolution.

The French Revolution, of course, reminds us of The Motion Sick’s song “Jean-Paul” each year. Here’s how I answered a question during an interview some time back about the origins of the song:

“The song, which was actually written by my wife, Sophia Cacciola, of the band Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, is inspired by the events surrounding Marat’s death, specifically the Jacques-Louis David painting The Death of Marat. The song’s narrative is somewhat inspired by the many points of view in the Dylan song “Tangled Up in Blue.”

The story itself has really been remapped from Revolution-era France onto what one might think of as the modern-day “sexy spy” genre. There is certainly a dramatic romanticism added with a particular slant toward the sexualization of violence. I always envision a lipstick gun in a garter belt. The Charlotte Corday character’s motives are in question. There is a new character who may or may not have been duped and used by Corday. There is a section where the dupe is being interrogated and makes claims that may or may not be covering something up.

I was initially drawn to the song because of the number of narrators present. By my
interpretation, we have: Corday, an omniscient viewer, the duped accomplice, the interrogator, and Marat. The meaning morphs depending on the attribution of the statements and descriptions. It also raises questions about whether the statements are facts, opinions, or outright lies. I have considered posting an annotated version of the song, but I think it’s nice to leave it open to interpretation. I am not actually sure that my interpretation matches Sophia’s intention completely anyway.”

Listen to and download “Jean-Paul” on our music page: The song was frequently played on Boston Emissions and that makes this an even sadder and more revolutionary day.

At some point, I was playing around with learning some video software and I put together this “unofficial” video for the song in about 8 hours from public-domain footage.  It’s nothing too fancy and it is far from perfect, but I find it kind of fun: