We No Who U R – Gaspar Noe

We No Who U R” is a song from the alternative rock band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, from Australia. Although Nick Cave pioneered The Bad Seeds in 1983 and has always been a member, the name of the band is always mentioned as “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.” One reason could be that throughout the active years of The Bad Seeds, different members have joined or left the band.

In January 2013, Gaspar Noe videographed a music video for the song “We No Who U R.”

Nick Cave Gaspar Noe
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

 

We No Who U R – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

The title of this song is purposefully written in colloquial abbreviation as “We No Who U R.” This song is the first track of the album “Push The Sky Away” released in 2013. The Bad Seeds released this track as a single in December 2012. In January 2013, Gaspar Noe made a video music for it, which was admired by Nick Cave himself. Regarding the music video, Nick Cave said:

“I love Gaspar’s beautiful, haunting and thoughtful video.”

(Quoted from The Quietus)

Nick Cave Gaspar Noe

 

Lyrics of We No Who U R

With a close look at the lyrics, one can realize these lines are not just words for a song, but they are in fact a meaningful philosophical poem. Read below the lyrics of We No Who U R copied from Nick Cave’s website:

 

The trees don’t care what the little bird sings

We go down with the dew in the morning

The trees don’t know what the little bird brings

We go down with the dew in the morning

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And we breathe it in

There is no need to forgive

The trees will stand like pleading hands

We go down with the dew in the morning

The trees all stand like pleading hands

We go down with the dew in the morning

And we breathe it in

There is no need to forgive

The trees will burn like blackened hands

And we return with the light of the evening

The trees will burn like blackened hands

There’s nowhere to rest, there’s nowhere to land

And we know who you are

And we know where you live

And we know there’s no need to forgive

 

Review on We No Who U R

The lyrics for We No Who U R remind us of Omar Khayyam quatrains. Nick Cave, the poet, believes that our lives as humans are as short as the morning dew; and we are passersby who neither stop to rest nor stay forever in the world.

But this poem does not solely remind us of the absurdity and brevity of life, but it also prompts us to know absurdity and brevity are not excuses for conceding defeat and being hopeless. We can be just the same as the trees that give shelter to “the little bird” while having no knowledge of what it sings. Also, despite they will eventually “burn [looking] like blackened hands,” but this does not make them fragile, unthankful, or futile. Although the branches burn, they give light to us _so they are not futile. The trees, despite being beneficent to the creatures, are thankful of nature as well. Most importantly, the trees stand firm to the end. In other words, the poet is encouraging us to resist the definite absurdity of life. In the poet’s mind, the efforts of humans are not merely fruitless exertion.

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Perhaps oblivion is human’s biggest fear, and the natures biggest revenge from the creatures (in human’s mind, of course); that is why at the end of the poem, the poet repeats “And we know who you are / And we know where you live” This means that oblivion, destruction, and futility do not exist; there would always be someone who is indebted to you even though they might not know you (exactly the same as the relation between the bird and the tree.)

 

Gaspar Noe’s Music Video

The music video that Gaspar Noe made, despite looking very simple, is rich with his genius. The atmosphere that Gaspar Noe reflects in his video complements the feeling of serenity and consistence of the poem and the music. He used the shadow of a human as the main subject of the video, which is an allusion to all the people who are like passersby or travelers in the world. Also, using a shadow instead of a person makes us think of the people who are not among us anymore; those who traveled the same path before.

Nick Cave Gaspar Noe

Gaspar Noe’s Music video is bountiful of analogizing humans to trees. Gaspar Noe’s camera first takes a shot of the shadows’ feet, which can be an allegory for tree trunk _again comparing the human to the tree. Later through the video, when the shadow walks among the trees, it sometimes stretches up to the tallest branches _yet another comparison. Although the shadow fills the center of the frame, the rest is lightened with the flashlight, which is a graphic resemblance to the branches that “burn like blackened hands” to give light to the travelers.

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Nick Cave Gaspar Noe

 

Watch this amazing music video below:

We No Who U R – Gaspar Noe
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