A deeper dive into “Luna and the Destroyer”
If you’ve read my book, “How to Sacrifice Your Lover”… you’ll recall that the main character, Yuki, is working on an epic piece of music that he can’t seem to finish. The piece of music is a real thing, and unfortunately… still unfinished. Yuki describes it as a “concept album” that “starts off sad, then just goes downhill from there”…. the goal being to make the worlds saddest and most depressing musical work of art ever made.
Having been asked about it a few times recently as I have posted snippets of music from the studio on social media, I thought I’d do a dive into the composition of this thing…. how can a sad musical album become sadder?
There’s not much point in creating an 80-minute double album with 13 “Movements” (14 if you include the epilogue) which is what “Luna and the Destroyer” is. A massive undertaking sometimes with 130+ interweaving tracks, massive vocal choruses, 40+ guitar overdubs… a symphony of guitars, synths, drums, and vocals….
If someone actually wants to HEAR this thing… somebody better just plain-and-simple reach out to me and I’ll give you a taste… or better yet, maybe you have some engineering/mastering skills and want to help me “finish” the thing.
The whole album is about two characters… “Luna” and “The Destroyer” and chronicles the rise and fall of their love.
The “movements” of Luna and the Destroyer.
I – Hope and Ignorance – Is the happiest track on the album. It aims to be beautiful, cute and innocent… a story about two people falling in love for the first time… new love… young love. But interwoven into this new love is introspection on how they got where they are and points out that in enjoying each others’ love, they’re also ignoring their “bedridden and sore” mothers… and that they “care not of whose hearts [they] broke” to get there.
II – Wisdom and Nature – Is probably the most cryptic song on the album… full of imagery and metaphor… the song is about how we discard wisdom and ignore nature… foreshadowing that Luna will ultimately revert to her “nature” and shatter The Destroyer’s heart. The chorus line “Burn, Wisdom, Burn”… calls upon us to ignore nature, live in the moment… ignore the darkness.
III – Conquest and Apathy – Acknowledges how all the dreams we had a teenagers and young adults will probably never be fulfilled… and this person we’re in love with… who we know to be a thief… is actually just full of apathy. The Destroyer wants a life of peace, but it doesn’t seem to be his destiny. “can you live up to your silly, childish dreams, and wouldn’t life be so grand if you instead just sat with me… what if you grow old and tired?…. what if you concede defeat?.. and do I (even) believe in you?”
IV – Pandora and the Jar – The Destroyer acknowledges that Luna will leave him once he tells her he loves her. “I knew if I loved you it would only mean our end” She will leave him to stagnate and rot, but he buries this knowledge in a jar under the earth.
V – Idolatry and the All-Seeing Eye – The Destroyer realizes that he is just a dog to his God, and that “Love” is his god. And love, his god, can destroy him… and without Love… his god will abandon him. “Man is god, god is a dog, to kiss the ring of the higher hounds”
VI – Servants and Slaves – Luna embraces The Destroyer one last time, knowing she is about to leave him. The Destroyer is taken aback by how affectionate she is and ponders the meaning of it. “I love it when you clutch my leg… as they come to drag you away… this imbalance starts to shift it’s weight, as servants become slaves” Their roles reverse, and The Destroyer now feels submissive to Luna… He is the one clamoring for her affection and love. But truthfully he ALWAYS loved her… but he knew that if he told her that, she would leave him…. It ends with a long long chorus repeating “I don’t believe you could conquer me”
VII – Rats and Despair – Luna and The Destroyer separate, but it isn’t really over. She realizes that since The Destroyer is now submissive to her that she can manipulate him to her advantage. The Destroyer is hurt and angry and jealous that love seems to come so easily for Luna… that she can just walk away and find new love. “Pretty girls, they know nothing more than sparkle snows, rainbows, and unicorns… but to you love is just a useless chore…” Since love has abandoned him and sided with Luna, however, The Destroyer feels abandoned by his god.
VIII – The Selfless and the Selfish – The destroyer sees Luna with a new man and now finally knows that it is truly “over”. He sinks into the deepest, deepest of depressions… “The days feel like years, the minutes feel like days”. This song aims to recreate the feelings of getting dumped by the girl you thought you were going to marry.
IX -The Monkey And the Crow – The Destroyer begins to transform into something darker. “as you seek a man less pure than me, I become nothing that I was”
X – Hell and Penance – The Destroyer becomes what he is destined to be… the destroyer of all things, bringer of the Apocalypse. He flies “black wings spread” because he “must to maintain [his] throne” raining hell and murdering villages. A dinosaur metal piece punctuated with a chaotic drum solo.
XI -The Rumble Below and the Rainbow Haze – The war takes a pause. Luna attempts to pacify the Destroyer and succeeds to a degree. But she is also driven by her own impulses and temptations and will never be faithful. The Destroyer knows this, but he wants “this pretty picture, no matter if it’s fake”. The Destroyer has an actual heart for Luna and stays with her while her mother is dying in the room above. “The Rumble Below” refers to what’s happening underneath where her mother is dying, and “The Rainbow Haze” refers to Luna’s temptation and turn towards drugs. The Destroyer knows that once her mother dies, he will abandon Luna, because she doesn’t actually love him…. and the war will continue.
XII – Luna and the Destroyer – Luna’s mother is dead and Luna attempts suicide, not over her mother’s sadness, but when another man breaks her heart. The Destroyer honors his commitment to himself to move on and his commitment to the apocalypse. But he is reluctant to fulfil his purpose and contemplates the sadness of it all with the chorus “When your soul reaches me, I’ll show you my way”. This song contains some super dark, cringeworthy lines that make it especially uncomfortable to listen to… If it makes you cringe, I’m succeeding. A beautiful dark waltz containing the lines “It pains me to see you slit your wrists for someone unlike me” is some of the darkest stuff I’ve ever written.
XIII – The Funeral and the Fire – The Last remaining people on earth hold the last funeral mankind will ever see. The Funeral is for Luna’s mother. It contemplates how we gather for the dead, but should have gathered for them while they were living. “As we sing, we never meant to make you think, we were never ever thinking of you”. The chorus is very much an anthem. “Say goodbye, for one last time, and hear the harps play music one last day”
XIV – Release and Rebirth – The outro of the album, the recreation of the universe… the overall theme being that “times change and lovers rearrange”, “victims cry, mothers die, one day I”…. and “we don’t know the way it’s supposed to end…” fades to silence.
It is notable that this album does not include other tracks mentioned in the book, namely “Gaslighting”, “Life is Beautiful”, and “Truthiness”… as those tracks are about Yuki and Inari, not Yuki and Luna and something very separate.