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"Shockwave" Analysis


RadZakpak

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I recently did a deep dive into the song "Shockwave" by Kevin Sherwood and Elena Siegman in preparation for @caljitsu's last podcast. After a lot of study and listening, I think I've deduced a really interesting interpretation that I'd like to share line by line.

 

Preface: Shockwave is from the point of view of Ultimis Richtofen, speaking to Primis Richtofen about the nature of their constantly repeating journeys.

 

Mein clouded Faustian enigma

[Ultimis Richtofen’s journey mirrors The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, a doctor who gave up his soul to the devil for power. You see a poster for a film based on this story in Kino der Toten:

See the source image]

Time is a lunar paradigma

[He describes time and the cycle as being similar to the moon. It's round, constantly spinning, has a dark and light side. This dark and light side is a major theme throughout the song.]

How will you

Dream when dreamland is so far

away from you after all

distance takes time time

takes us all

away

[Ultimis Richtofen is telling Primis Richtofen that Agartha or "Dreamland" is impossible to reach due to the nature of the cycle. They will always fail in their attempts, Ultimis seeking it for power, and Primis seeking it for safety. The mention of dreamland also fits well with Classified since the ultimate goal of Ultimis in the map is to reach Groom Lake or "Dreamland".]

 

I'll always follow 

you and be your 

shadow

Shadowing

everything that you’re

ever glowing knowing brings to light

(just like a shockwave)

[Primis and Ultimis are constantly following one another in a circle, representing the duality of the universe. Light and dark, Keepers and Apothicons, Monty and Shadowman. Ultimis Richtofen is the darker, more outwardly evil “shadow” of his other self, always following and still always a part of him. This shadow casts darkness over everything Primis Richtofen tries to bring to light and all the knowledge he has attained. He can’t escape his influence.]

 

I'm floating up into

the bright air

light sanctified

[The rising of Primis Richtofen’s “light”, cleansing his soul, which becomes Eddie. Remember this later, as these lyrics will be reversed.]

 

They'll hear my name

just like a shockwave

mind rarified

shockwave

[This again represents Primis Richtofen, who desires to cleanse his past, to be the hero who bears a burden of responsibility. His mind is “rarified” or made richer by the Kronorium. You could also interpret this as Ultimis Richtofen, a man seeking power and so full of himself, whose mind was rarified by the voices in his head and his own journal.]

 

Nine deicidal apparitions

Time is the poison of attrition

[Possibly the nine apparitions are Ultimis, Primis, and Sam, excluding Eddie of course. They come together in Classified with the express intent of "defeating" Dr. Monty. Monty’s plan in maintaining the cycle is a war of attrition, but time will continue to worsen this war as everything becomes more and more corrupted, including him, and eventually it must end with Monty’s death. As said before, "Time takes us all away."]

when will the 

day come when a new way dawns

the new day’s gone and the

night might bring the darkest

dawn to light 

our way

[This is describing the transition between Ultimis and Primis, and back again. Primis Richtofen’s new way “dawns” like the sun rising over darkness, but once again, the new day ends, and the night returns. Our way alludes to Richtofen’s favorite song ‘My Way’:

"Richtofen’s favorite song is "My Way". He wonders when he will get to sing it."]

 

I’ll be the tragedy

I stage your 

life on

[In Blackout, the Richtofens have a conversation like so: 

PR: You really should try to calm down, Edward. You’re a bit… dramatic.

UR: Dramatic?! (gasps) Me?! Mein life… is practically a Shakespearean tragedy… 

Ultimis Richtofen describes his life as a tragedy. He grew up an orphan, but became the famous scientist he always wanted to be, only to be corrupted and damned by the Apothicons. Ultimis Richtofen completely lost his mind and caused the destruction of earth, essentially setting the stage for Primis Richtofen’s life to “redeem” these actions.]

You're turning pages

that you're 

meant to wait on

They’re fate drawn of 

days gone by 

[Primis Richtofen reads the Kronorium, not understanding that it is his fate, not a plan to change his fate. He will simply repeat it again.]

your world and mine

in time collide now

[In Classified, their worlds finally collide, while before they each operated separately on opposite ends of the cycle. Again, "in time". This was inevitable in this war of attrition.]

 

I'm floating up into

the moonlight

night sanctify

[This is a reversal of the earlier line:

"I'm floating up into

the bright air

light sanctified"

Now Ultimis Richtofen once again returns as the lead, quite literally floating up into the moonlight. This is also thematically appropriate for Classified as another iteration of the cycle.]


 

I feel the pain

just like a shockwave

undemonized

An evil twin like

noon and midnight

turn endlessly

I break away

just like a shockwave

shockwave

["I feel the pain" I think is a reference to The Gift, which is heavily related to this song in many ways, and which I want to explore in another thread. Ultimis Richtofen is like the evil twin, the midnight to Primis Richtofen's noon, and they are in a constant back-and-forth. He says "I break away", possibly meaning he has something to do with the end of the cycle? This I'd like to see more explanation for.]

 

Why do we run in place

and fall from grace

and change our faces

such a 

wasted way to want

[Lamenting the cycle, nothing is changing, everything is wasted only to end up keeping it going.]

when what we will

wins what we won't

[Actions they believe to be their “will” such as Richtofen’s grand scheme or the Insurance Policy seem successful, but actually nothing is won. They win a battle which they won't see the end of.]

and now we don't know what we 

don't know and we 

won't know what we don’t and 

won’t see

[Richtofen can no longer rely on the knowledge of the Kronorium, it has deceived him. He knows he won’t know what he doesn’t see, as in he cannot know what he does not read in the book. He also won’t know what he won’t see, because he is in denial about the sacrifice that must be made.]

 

What's floating up into 

our blind eyes

[The answer is right in front of them, but they can’t accept it.]

rend entropy

[Entropy is the measure of randomness. To rend is to tear apart or split.]

It stabs me cold

just like a shockwave

[The truth stabs Richtofen when he does not expect it, i.e. Blood of the Dead. The use of “Shockwave” may imply that it’s all a sort of domino effect from a single point that breaks the cycle.]

now see me 

smiiiile an evil grin

and fall again

because of him

(I fade away)

I fade away

into a dark place

(into a dark place)

and disappear

[Ultimis Richtofen smiles one last evil grin, acquiring Victis’ blood for Primis Richtofen, before being left behind. He “falls again” because Monty orders Primis Richtofen to acquire his eternal soul from 2210, and Monty then wipes away the other Richtofens by the end of Revelations.]

I’m always here

I bring the storm

just like a

 

I'm 

just 

like a

shockwave

[Richtofen will always be there to return, his soul is literally bound to the Aether. His Ultimis self will continue to cause chaos, because it is his role in the cycle.]

 

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Excellent analysis and an absolutely BANGER of a song! Personally the line "nine deicidal apparitions" implied to me that the song was meant for a Chaos map, with "The Nine" being one of their main plot points especially in IX. The idea is further supported by the rumors that BO4 was supposed to be exclusively Chaos Story before shifting to both Chaos and Aether which is why I never bothered digging too deep into the lyrics of this song while enjoying it for what it is, but everything you've brought up makes sense and works with the lyrics nonetheless!

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6 minutes ago, clueless said:

Excellent analysis and an absolutely BANGER of a song! Personally the line "nine deicidal apparitions" implied to me that the song was meant for a Chaos map, with "The Nine" being one of their main plot points especially in IX. The idea is further supported by the rumors that BO4 was supposed to be exclusively Chaos Story before shifting to both Chaos and Aether which is why I never bothered digging too deep into the lyrics of this song while enjoying it for what it is, but everything you've brought up makes sense and works with the lyrics nonetheless!

That's something that came to mind for me as well. Some of the songs from the Chaos maps also have lyrics alluding to lyrics from Aether songs "Waiting for someone to come here and kill me", stuff like that. Might be just Kevin alluding to the other story, or even implying some kind of connection.

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The way you break this down into a perfect step-by-step description that aligns chronologically, seems to me evidence enough that it was not repurposed. The imagery is so specific, not to mention its parallels to other songs about the same person. 
Awesomely done. Think you would consider making this into a YT vid? Even if you just wanted to record the audio, I’d be happy to stitch the rest together, myself, and could have it done by tomorrow. 

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Great analysis! I don't think we've had a song meaning like this ever before, as they were mostly from the MPD occupant's perspective I believe. But this is really cool.

7 hours ago, clueless said:

Personally the line "nine deicidal apparitions" implied to me that the song was meant for a Chaos map, with "The Nine" being one of their main plot points especially in IX.

It also reminds me of a line in Pareidolia:

 

"My nine eyes die of light die by the blight"

 

This relates to the Egyptian Nine Eyes of Light. The 9 eyes, or 9 Ascension Keys, are essential for becoming a multidimensional being. Nine levels of consciousness, and every eye gives us more godly power. But I don't know how this could relate to 'nine deicidal apparitions'. I do think that once someone got in the MPD, he/she can uses it's nine eyes.

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12 hours ago, RadZakpak said:

That's something that came to mind for me as well. Some of the songs from the Chaos maps also have lyrics alluding to lyrics from Aether songs "Waiting for someone to come here and kill me", stuff like that. Might be just Kevin alluding to the other story, or even implying some kind of connection.

If nothing does come of Chaos in Cold War would it be reasonable to say that Chaos existed in a separate dimension of Aether while still respecting the separation of it altogether? There's ever so slight nudges pointing to a relation such as Shaw saying how a German doctor taught him how to make Elixirs (come on, they could have said any other nation yet they chose German which is like the character icon of Zombies), and the Blightfather appearing in the Specialist Mission and Blackout which also has Aether ties (using a Ray Gun to fight it in the former, and Samantha/Aether characters in Blackout alongside the Chaos crew as well). There was a whole thread on how Tag affected Campaign and MP as well, and I think tying Chaos to Aether while respecting its space would open up a new side of theories regarding everything.

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