Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Irreligious Song #16: El-P, “Flyentology” (feat. Trent Reznor)

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on April 24, 2011

I finally found an irreligious hip-hop song (featuring Trent Reznor!). It’s by an alternative hip-hop artist named El-P, and the song features some incredibly creative and well-constructed lyrics. The lyrics require a certain level of interpretive sophistication. In other words, you have to be a close reader. Take a look at some of the online discussions concerning the meaning of this song to see what I mean: the people who self-identify as Christian appear incapable of doing anything other than a surface analysis, and that analysis leads them to see their own beliefs in God reflected back at them. To summarize, they think the song is pro-faith. They are dead wrong. Take a listen and follow along with the lyrics. It would be interesting to hear your own interpretations. To get us started: 1) What does the sky represent in this song? 2) What do you make of the stanza describing the way in which the narrator adores God? 3) The narrator states, “This is Flyentology,” so what exactly is he saying it is?

“Flyentology” (feat. Trent Reznor, Rob Sonic)

[Trent Reznor:]
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I cry
I’ll become your servant if it’s worth your time
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I’ll say
I’ll become your soldier, at least for this day
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I cry
I’ll become your servant if it’s worth your time
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I’ll say

[El-P:]
I know I haven’t been walking a humble path
I know I cursed at your name and then laughed
And though I found it inane to bend calf
The servitude of groveling framed as pained task
I gotta figure, it can’t hurt to ask
Suspension of disbelief in uniquely freak flash
Admission of the faithfully shaken, now trapped
30 thousand and dropping it’s on and popping at last

[Trent Reznor:]
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I cry
I’ll become your servant if it’s worth your time
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I’ll say
I’ll become your soldier, at least for this day

No!
There are no atheists in the foxholes
No!
There is no intellect in the air
No!
There are no scientists on the way down
Just a working example of faith versus physics [x2]

[El-P:]
Flyentology (oh god)
Everybody get your ticket today
Flyentology (oh god)
Welcome aboard, sir, right this way
Flyentology, flyen-flyentology (oh god)
Our bible is in your seat back pocket
Flyentology (oh god)
Tuck your head between your legs, now pray

I adore you
The same way that others always adored you
Emergency, humility
Just break glass
I implore
With no knowledge of dogma to conform to
I know I don’t deserve it, but save my ass
And if I’m going down, let me do it in first class
The paganistic prayer of a heathen with wild past
Please forgive my bastardized style dash
And anoint me with salvation in form of non-crash

I wanna live so bad
All my life, I’ve been so arrogant
This is the vessel of my ‘wakening
Please father, put your hand out
Carry it
I wanna live so bad
All my life, I’ve been so arrogant
This is the vessel of my ‘wakening
God damn it, put your hand out
Carry it

[Trent Reznor:]
No!
There are no atheists in the foxholes
No!
There is no intellect in the air
No!
There are no scientists on the way down
Just a working example of faith versus physics [x2]

[El-P + backing vocals by Trent Reznor:]
This is (oh god)
This is flyentology (oh god)
Flyentology (oh god)
Flyentology (oh god)

[Trent Reznor:]
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I cry
I’ll become your servant if it’s worth your time
Keep me in the sky, that’s all that I’ll say
I’ll become your soldier, at least for this day [x2]

No!

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