Erase the Sun
By: Beck Hansen
Written by: Beck Hansen

Versions:
  1. Erase the Sun (3:15)
    Available on Deadweight.
    Credits
    Recorded at: G-Son Studios
    Beck Hansen: Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboard / Synthesizer, Piano, Producer, Vocals
    Joey Waronker: Drums
    Mario Caldato Jr.: Producer
  2.  
  3. Erase the Sun (Deluxe version) (2:56)
    Available on Odelay.
 
Lyrics:
Erase the Sun [Version (a)]:

Offices and fountains they named for you
Stacks and zealots wither in shit-filled rooms
Hari-karis barely a tear for you
Hairy fairies spinning the golden looms
Wake up the ghosts and lepers
Aching in their slavery smoke
Delinquent hygienes atrocious
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
We'll shoot out the great white crescent

Fisticuffs and zithers of Zanzibar
Body pills that shiver the caviar
Dazzlements and accidents body's chart
Choice cut meats of derelict boulevards
Wake up the ghosts and lepers
Aching in their slavery smoke
Delinquent hygienes atrocious
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
We'll shoot out the great white crescent

Wake up the ghosts and lepers
Aching in their slavery smoke
Delinquent hygienes atrocious
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
Erase the Sun (Deluxe version) [Version (b)]:

Offices and fountains they named for you
Stacks and zealots wither in shit-filled rooms
Hari-karis barely a tear for you
Hairy fairies spinning the golden looms
Wake up the ghosts and lepers
Aching in their slavery smoke
Delinquent hygienes atrocious
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
We'll shoot out the great white crescent

Fisticuffs and zithers of Zanzibar
Body pills that shiver the caviar
Dazzlements and accidents body's chart
Choice cut meats of derelict boulevards
Wake up the ghosts and lepers
Aching up their slavery smoke
Delinquent hygienes atrocious
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
We'll shoot out the great white crescent

Wake up the ghosts and lepers
Aching in their slavery smoke
Delinquent hygienes atrocious
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
We'll shoot out the great white crescent
 
The Song:

This somewhat demented folk song, originally released in 1997 on the "Deadweight" single, was actually an outtake from Odelay. It was recorded with Mario C at the same 1995 Odelay sessions that produced "Minus." The Dust Brothers were not involved, but Joey Waronker was there. Not that Beck needed the help! He played the acoustic guitar, bass, piano, harmonica, and synthesizer himself.

Anyone familiar with both "Diamond Bollocks" and "Erase the Sun" may notice that the two songs share numerous lyrics. Why Beck went back to this song when putting "Diamond Bollocks" together is unknown. They are quite odd! He probably just reached into his notebook and pulled out them out againódid he even realize they'd been recorded already? "Fisticuffs and zithers of Zanzibar / Body pills that shiver the caviar" may be one of Beck's weirdest lines. All the instrumentation, especially the heavy acoustic guitar, somewhat drowns out Beck's vocals, so maybe he felt it was safe to reuse them.

Anyway, the song begins with a jolt, as Beck immediately starts singing. Beck's first verse seems to be sarcastic praise for someone: "Offices and fountains they named for you / Hari-kari's barely a tear for you." Beck throws a twist into the rhyming too, even though it would have rhymed with "hari-kari's barely," he sings "tear" as in "cry," not "tear" as in "rip." He follows that twist by returning to the original rhyme with "hairy fairies." He's got such a natural flow with words, here and always.

My favorite part of the song is the "doooo" bridge between all the verses and choruses. Then what follows is one of Beck's strangest choruses. "Wake up the ghosts and lepers / Aching in their slavery smoke" evokes a mysterious, haunting history. The song feels like a whirlwind of images and ideas, even if their focus is hazy. "Delinquent hygienes atrocious" is another Beck phrase of note, especially since he uses it again a few years later on "Static": "Delinquent hygienes are so abrasive." The next line, repeated twice, is the point of the song and is of course ambiguous: "We'll shoot out the great white crescent." Presumably, this is where the name of the song comes from, though a "great white crescent" would more normally be associated with the moon, not the sun.

Then when Beck released the Deluxe version of Odelay, he included a disc of b-sides from the time. He included "Erase The Sun," however it appears to have been remixed entirely. As far as I can tell though, it's the same track... just sped up slightly. This ends up making the song sound a bit less hazy, somehow a bit more normal, if you were.