I was flipping through some DVDs in the TV room the other day and ran across a favorite: the 2001 remake of "Bedazzled" with Elizabeth Hurley as the Devil. It's not exactly "From Here to Eternity", but it was a fun date-movie with my then-fiance. New retelling of an old version of the story: Lead Sap is obsessed with one thing (usually a girl), Mephistopheles slides up to him at exactly the right time, tells him everything he wants to hear, but nothing he needs to hear, Lead Sap gets what he wants, hates it, and risks eternal damnation.
That's me within a blaze of glory / I'd sell my soul in order to succeed
Good thing you brought that forward. Because that's exactly what's going to happen.
Every tale about someone so driven to success or otherwise gaining something for themselves follows this same tack and all have a few things in common:
- They're inherently unhappy with their lives.
- They feel if they just get That. One. More. Thing. their lives will become suddenly perfect.
- They are self centered to some degree
- They're vulnerable to suggestion and easily manipulated.
- It isn't until they achieve what they want that they realize how much work isn involved. More often than not, they can't handle it.
- When the world they've created falls apart, they find themselves in their own personal idea of Hell.
I don't think these parallels were intentional here. As usual I could be wrong but that's how it looks from my chair.
Now that the drugs, groupies, and whatever trinkets and beads his handlers have thrown him have tilted reality, the payment is due. He gets trapped in a spiral, practically an addiction of needing applause and approval, and feeling lost without it. ("He's a Star") His friends are gone and the one person in his life he should have been paying attention to has also drifted away. ("Written in Stone"). He's paid for his fame with his soul.
Next comes Hell. ("Letter From a Fan/So Heavy, So High") If it's not bad enough that he can't give any more of himself and his owners keep trying to take from him, you have the fans who have absolutely NO idea what his reality is like. Even their innocent letters and reaching out is a thorn in the side. He's surrendered his immortal soul, now he's going to experience damnation. ("Everybodys Leavin") It was there all along, disguised as a party ("Wine Song").
Even though he offered to sell his soul, he wants to renegotiate. He wants some control back. ("Who Needs You") But it's hopeless - he can't control anything of what was created in response to his wish. ("Winner Go Down") That's how deals with the Devil always work out.
Rock bottom. He's given up and admits his failures and his fate. ("Slept Through the End of the World")
At the last minute, he is offered salvation. ("Reflection", "Trainwreck") He gets to start over and if he has a brain cell left, he'll not make the same mistakes again. ("15 Minutes - Reprise") Maybe he's figured out that the price of fame doesn't have to be so high. He doesn't have to offer as much as his soul in exchange. Negotiate a little this time. Offer so much but not one bit more. That and getting his priorities in life straight and it might just work out better. ("Everything's Gonna Be Alright")
Or, just like in the CD player in my car, the cycle will repeat....
Like I said in an earlier post, there's enough going on in this album to talk about for years.