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caljitsu

Not Ready to Die - A lyrical analysis.

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Before we begin, a foreword: From the official Treyarch livestream for Apocalypse Z, we learn that after deciding to write 'Not Ready to Die', Brian Tuey, director of audio at Treyarch, gave M. Shadows and the other members of A7X the ENTIRE Storyline they had written at that point. It's important to stress how many ideas we are only seeing come to light now in Zombies were conceptualised back in Black Ops (such as The Cycle, 'The House', the Keepers and Apothicons [known by different names then], corruption via the Aether, etc.). We also learn that lots of the song is specifically from (Ultimis) Richtofen's perspective. This is the only time we have been concretely given a perspective for a song. But without further adieu:

 

 

Gone, cast away in time
Evil yours, now evil mine
So, I robbed you blind
The voices in my head suggest a less-than-peaceful side
The endless possibilities controlling nine-three-five

 

The first couplet can suggest two, equally relevant ideas. Though "cast away" at the end of every cycle, the "evil" of Richtofen is one that he constantly re-inherits from the past version of himself. The second interpretation is that the inherited evil is that of the Shadowman, gained at the point when he encounters the MPD for the first time. 

 

The next line suggests a theft of power. Though vague, this can likely be attributed to Richtofen's betrayal of Maxis. This also retroactively alters the first lines, implying the evil within Ludwig Maxis that we, by the point of Call of the Dead, have yet to see.

 

The final couplet here serves as lyrical basis for Richtofen's schitzophrenia being more than just made-up voices, something that was just a community theory in 2011. The second line is vague and seems to just be there to finish the phrase, though a stretch would be to say that it implies a "greater being" puppeteer Maxis at the help of Group 935 (later to be concepted into Monty), though take that with a grain of salt

 

(You can't break me) Crush the fears of yesterday
(You can't save me) Barriers - our trust will fade
I've stood in the dark, been waiting all this time
While we damn the dead I'm trying to survive
I'm not ready to die

 

The chorus of the song, which will not be repeated hereafter, is incredibly interesting. The screamed lyrics (displayed in parentheses here), are seemingly from the perspective of the Test subjects. This is confirmed by the reference to the "Trust Barrier". This is referenced by Richtofen in one of Call of the Dead's radios, as the psychological block preventing "Tank" Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski and Takeo Masaki from being truly subservient to Richtofen, and is alluded to by Maxis in his "Red Telephone" on classified. The progression here from "Break" to "Save" alludes to this breach of the trust barrier - and yet, the lyrical reference to the concept is a corruption of it. The phrase is "Barriers - Our trust will fade", and this is a rather good illustration of Ultimis' realisation of where Richtofen's allegiances truly lie at the end of Moon (Takeo is quoted as saying he would "Destroy every last remnant of 935" at the end of Moon's easter egg).

 

The third line of the chorus is, again, a vague allusion to The Cycle , with the fourth being a general comment on the state of Ultimis. The eponymous final line, however, is one that becomes more unnerving the longer it is pondered. The defining trait of Richtofen's character, is that of his egomania. The only time we have seen Ultimis Richtofen truly die is in The Giant, where it is instantaneous - however, in Blood of the Dead, we see a different Richtofen writhe and beg in his death throws whilst proclaiming his own greatness - truly being an exemplar of "I'm Not Ready to Die"

 

Damned, watch the masses fall
Burn it down, control 'em all
(Let 'em bleed) Make them crawl
To daddy's little girl to read the writings on the wall
While cast into the nothingness, the final curtain call

 

In the second verse, we hear (what was) a hint (in 2011) to Richtofen's goal of control of everything, followed by an allusion to Samantha Maxis. The syntax of the phrase, the damned "crawling" to her, suggests leaving a trail of blood all the way to the end of Black Ops, certainly what we did, but following on, the final line of the verse alludes to the end not truly being the end, with "nothingness" being infinite - another possible reference to The Cycle.

 

 

 

Through the madness we find
Loyalty is no match for power
Say goodbye to your life
Left to rot in your darkest hour
Prayers won't help you now
As long as you're mine

 

The third verse, again, has a rather unnerving lyric to be this relevant this far into the future. The line "Loyalty is no match for power", could easily be attributed to the dynamic between Primis and Ultimis, especially fitting if the last map is indeed a return to the Siberian Outpost - Richtofen has betrayed us before and will likely do so again, especially when, as this is from his perspective, he holds loyalty in so little regard when compared to power. Continuing this theme, the third line seems comparable to Classified's "Dempsey" cipher, where we read the last words of Primis Dempsey, alone and confused at what he has just faced, dying in the cold.

 

I'll control the world
One person at a time
As I damn the dead I'm trying to survive
I'm not ready to die

 

The final chorus could imply the idea that though infinitely repeating unless extra action is taken, the cycle can be changed ever so slightly each time. By this was, Richtofen is gradually able to influence the outcome to benefit him (See this post for more information on that idea: https://bit.ly/2N1oN79), all the while damning the dead, trying to survive the hordes long enough to achieve his goal.

 

//

Apologies for the sheer amount of "if"'s "but"'s and "maybe"'s in this post, that's just how it is when dealing with analysis. As always, feedback is appreciated.

 


 

 

 

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Good thread Cal. Been listening to this song over and over again for the last few months and some of the lyrics still stuck out to me even now.

 

If you remember, Abracadavre seems to lyrically be Samantha comprehending omnipotence, so the idea of some plot threads from a song not being important for a very long time is nothing new.

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First of all, great analysis! Brains!

1 hour ago, caljitsu said:

Gone, cast away in time
Evil yours, now evil mine
So, I robbed you blind
The voices in my head suggest a less-than-peaceful side
The endless possibilities controlling nine-three-five

Probably irrelevant, but that first part seems to refer to Richthofen, as well to Yuri. I always found it striking how the stories of Yuri and Edward, though the latter had a much more tragical history, had a certain similarity in it: The talents of both not seen by their overseer, this frustration causing trouble, ending up with teleporting the overseer away. Samantha might have had the irony to let Yuri do the same as Edward did to her father (and her). This song definately refers to Richthofen, yet nontheless I just wanted to say that. 

1 hour ago, caljitsu said:

(You can't break me) Crush the fears of yesterday
(You can't save me) Barriers - our trust will fade
I've stood in the dark, been waiting all this time
While we damn the dead I'm trying to survive
I'm not ready to die

Spot on about the 'Trust Barrier'! But didn't the CotD radio refer to that of the undead army? Your comparision of the song's title with BotD's ending gave me goosebumbs.

1 hour ago, caljitsu said:

Damned, watch the masses fall
Burn it down, control 'em all
(Let 'em bleed) Make them crawl
To daddy's little girl to read the writings on the wall
While cast into the nothingness, the final curtain call

"The writings on the wall". From this sentence it seems like it are messages of Samantha. In that case, she might see the futuristic apocalyptic events this story leads to.

1 hour ago, caljitsu said:

I'll control the world
One person at a time
As I damn the dead I'm trying to survive
I'm not ready to die

Probably off+topic, but how does 'one person at a time controls the world' fit with fractures? As far as I always assumed, the MPD hold absolute control over one universe, but the fact the Apothicans hid it only in the Original Universe would make me think it might have control over everything. The device is and remains odd, and I'm now too tired to break my head about it. Guten nacht!

 

(Oh and by the way, I feel like Zombies Labs isn't the right category for this thread. Is it okay if I move it to R&D, or Story Discussion perhas?)

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At first I thought it was an undead army, but he just says "The Army". My thought process is this:

Maxis says in his telephone in Classified that 935 knew about the experimentation on those three, but was horrified at the extent Richtofen went to. In this radio, we hear about Richtofen's struggle to breach "the trust barrier". To me, this is him not having tried his methods that were so abhorrent that even Maxis was apalled. Also, these same methods could easily be applied to the Zombies.

 

Also yeah, feel free to move the post. I'm still not too sure where things should go.

 

 

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Never apologize for ifs and maybes. That's the stuff of theories. This analysis rocks.

 

I have one comment for now - we've seen Richtofen die once before...

 

image.png

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20 hours ago, NaBrZHunter said:

Never apologize for ifs and maybes. That's the stuff of theories. This analysis rocks.

 

I have one comment for now - we've seen Richtofen die once before...

 

image.png

classic

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