Re: Discussion thread for Final Frontier/El Dorado single
Riff is a killer, can't wait for the album!
Riff is a killer, can't wait for the album!
LooseCannon said:Given Bruce Dickinson's love of things occult and strange, it should be no surprise that a poem by Poe serves as the likely inspiration for the lyrical portion of the song "El Dorado". Indeed, it goes a long way towards explaining the presence of a quick riff in the song, because those of us who know anything about the legend of El Dorado are aware that the search for the mythical City of Gold was usually undertaken not by horse, but by boat, imagery constantly referred to in the song.
The legend of El Dorado comes from the conquered Muisca people, who would tell legends of a chieftain named El Dorado who swam whilst covered in gold dust in Lake Guatavita. From this arose the myth amongst the Spanish conquistadores of a City of Gold that supplied the Muisca people with their wealth - a people who had no gold mines of their own, but traded for the precious material easily from other tribes. Over the passing centuries, the myth of El Dorado multiplied, grew, and expanded, with many explorers searching the thick jungles of South America for the lost city.
Interestingly, the tale of "El Dorado" is told from the perspective of someone recruiting people for an expedition to find the mythical lost city, rather than as a neutral observer (consider the voice used in songs like "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", in which a fable is told, but from the outside). As such, we are taken inside the mind and speech of a man knowing he is luring the innocent to their death for his own profit.
The first verse introduces us to the character, someone who looks clean and smooth and very professional, and who speaks to someone, telling them a story that will have them so ready to whisk off in hopeless exploration that they'll be buying the ticket he offers before he can think it through. This is telling us that the character Bruce portrays is a scam artist, someone who is completely sure of his ability to cheat money and life from his victim. The term "snake oil" refers to a "snake oil salesman", which is an American slang term for conman. His personal snake oil, then, is the story of El Dorado, and the promises of glory and money within. That's his cheat. It's just what he sells.
Bruce describes the character from the first person, explaining this man knows exactly what he's doing and what fate he's condemning his "clients" to. He has no regrets about the lethal consequences of his trick ("the jester with no tears") and he is taking advantage of people who are afraid of dying either nearly poor or unknown ("playing on your fears"). The "mask of love and death" is the story he tells of El Dorado, the fabled place from which none have ever returned - except for you, because he knows you're the one to find the City of Gold - his eternal lie. Of course, the tale of El Dorado goes far beyond our conman, and probably will last for the end of time. Finally, his tale, persuasive, has you fully drawn in - "hooked at every turn" - and your body will be consumed by your poor decision to listen to the trickster.
Now, the mark (the term for someone being defrauded in a con) has decided to ask for a little reassurance that Bruce is telling the truth and not just selling him a fib, but of course, the practiced fraudster dodges the request for contact information, for a legal contract, by reminding the poor fellow that he can take the offer for glory and gold, or leave it on the table. And we have final confirmation "if I didn't lie to ya, then I wouldn't exist" that this person's sole income comes from cheating; a professional conman.
Interestingly enough, we move back towards the abstract with this verse, when Bruce extrapolates on the overall meaning of being cheated. That everyone knows "someone just like me" and that being betrayed is "the same old same old way". He compares himself to a magician's "smoke and mirrors", and even to a "clever banker". It almost sounds like the conman is trying to convince himself that he's part of an ancient tradition, and that he is the same as a magician who lies and cheats to entertain, or a banker who will use loopholes to cheat someone, though he is stealing both money and life with his lies.
The chorus is the hook and the legend. Streets of gold, and all you have to do is come and play, step this way. So many people are coming along, there's only one spot left - and it's yours, if you dare to chance.
The reality of the con. There is no glory, or is there gold. The trickster has taken both from his mark and left them with nothing other than a one-way ticket to death. And of course, the loss of one more soul on the road to El Dorado is a story that'll hardly be told. As already established, the trickster knows he is doing wrong, he is a devil, and he revels in it. You accuse him of being evil, and he smiles and continues to cheat and defraud.
He's spun his web and he's issued the con, and the lie has grown "big and bad and twice as bold" as the conman's tale gets more risky, more wild, and more opulent. However, he's still sold enough to fill the doomed ship with tickets, and it's either overloaded with people, or sailing away to doom. After all, "there is no easy way for an honest man today" to make the sort of money our fraud did, and he is reminding the soon-to-be-deceased of this as he hops in his boat and pulls away, laughing, to presumably repeat the trick with new marks.
Of course, this song can serve as a metaphor for any number of illicit activities, such as drug use or even alcoholism, but it makes the most sense when approached from the promise of riches in something like the stock market, or a Ponzi scheme. However, I think it's mostly just intended to be a tale of a man who sold the story of El Dorado like many did - a false hope for any predator to leap upon. And consider it a warning - when someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
Invader said:I think it's great when a song has double meanings like this one, especially as you can still listen to it and not have to think about the "economy" meaning. Straight-out political songs that tackle the problem directly à la Megadeth are rather easy to do (for the same subject, see the song Bite the Hand); it's harder to put a hidden meaning and still make the song comperehensible from the "obvious" point of view. I didn't think of the economy at all before LC's post, but now it seems pretty clear to me. Though I must admit I also didn't read the lyrics properly at any point. I'll have to do that for the rest of the sogns when the actual album comes out.
Anyway, I'm going to bed and tomorrow this forum will be a potential minefield, though I appreciate the efforts of the mods. This is my last post, see you guys in exactly two months.
Jeffmetal said:It's Jan playing that.
Jeffmetal said:It might be a nod to a classic of the past, but I don't think it is. This kinda lick was done in several other songs like Losfer Words, The Clansman and The Fallen Angel, but obviously within the context ofthe song. It wouldn't make no difference if it wasn't there.
Jeffmetal said:About the credit order, I think it's Smith/Harris/Dickinson
Helphyre said:Interesting. Has a definite early 90s feel, feels it would fit right in on Fear of the Dark.
The artwork might just be their worst, but at least the new black and white Eddie logo is awesome
Mega said:Well, I know how to play the main riff of this song now, I couldn't wait!
What really helped is that, and I'm warning you, don't read this:
The riff is based on Barracuda by heart
fonzbear2000 said:I just realized something! Up until now, Maiden has NEVER had an album with more than 3 songs over 8 minutes long. This album has 4!!! And one of them clocks in at a WHOPPING 11 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!! And a fifth that's 7:48 long!!! WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EASILY their best single since Wickerman!
You're very welcome. Just wanted to keep the interview for myself and thought, why not share it with others?MadMax, thanx for the Rockline mp3. I listened yesterday, but I missed some parts.
Ah, and let's don't forget the awesome review of MadMax, which also must be copied on IMC.
We should have him post here more often, an excellent read, be praised Max
I really don't understand what I did that deserves that much praise I just wrote my impressions of the song. Glad I could contribute, and I will be around from time to time and discuss along with you guys once the new album is getting close!Thanks LC and MadMax, this is why I love Maidenfans!