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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Soma Holiday/G.O.L

This week Classics Rock! is observing Banned Books Week 2009 (September 26-October 3) by featuring songs based on frequently challenged books.

Soma Holiday appeared on the 1995 album Sensations of Tone, the only work produced by the experimental musical group Gods of Luxury, known as G.O.L. It is inspired by Aldous Huxley's 1932 satirical dystopian novel Brave New World. The novel depicts a World State that uses science and technology to control all aspects of the lives of its citizens--even reproduction, which is now carried out in labs called "hatcheries" and is carefully manipulated in order to limit the population and produce members of the five castes necessary to keep society running smoothly. The government provides for all the needs of its citizens, including readily available quantities of a hallucinogenic drug called soma. The government encourages the populace to indulge in soma (to take a "soma-holiday") in order to keep them docile and happy. The song's lyrics are culled directly from three different sections of the novel. The first verse--Feel how the Greater Being Comes/Rejoice and, in rejoicing, die/Melt in the music of the drums/For I am you and you are I--are from a Solidarity Hymn, sung at Solidarity Service Day meetings that members of the highest caste are required to attend. These rituals involve the consumption of copious amounts of Soma and conclude with an orgy--referred to as an "orgy-porgy" in the book. Soma Holiday was released as a single in 1996, and is currently available on the compilation One A.D.

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