Dirty Projectors- "Just From Chevron"

Dirty Projectors

Swing Lo Magellan

Domino; 2012

“Just From Chevron” comes off of Dirty Projectors’ studio album, Swing Lo Magellan. It is complete with prologue and epilogue, both sang beautiful by female vocalists Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle.  It tells the tale of an oil worker who is terminally injured in the oil company’s spill. On his deathbed, a blanket of ice, our protagonist calls to his lover assuring her that he died for a great cause. This oil worker believes he is dying for a noble cause, therefore characterizing himself as being just another brainwashed employee of the oil giant.  Singer/Songwriter David Longstreth makes comments such as, “All my friends, my enemies too/live in the shadows of the dirtiest fuel.” Implying that the oil giants are not the only one to blame. We all contribute indirectly to the disastrous consequences of an oil spill, just by driving to work each morning. 

Behind the topical political statement, there is a lot of musical implementations to appreciate. The song features rhythmic claps, gorgeous background vocals, and extremely raw guitar licks. The minimalistic style of the track allows for the listener to focus on Longstreth’s poetically structured message.

Is the political message too blunt or does Longstreth make valid criticism towards all oil companies? I personally can appreciate this track without the lyrics, but I  appreciate its poetry. The epilogue explains that the workers had buried the man near his home after the cleaning the spill. The ordering of these lyrics suggests that the oil company had put its own interests before its employees. Whether or not you agree with Longstreth’s message, it will make you think.