Song Analysis

Carbon

Thursday 22 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

(Coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song)

"Sometimes you don’t have to necessarily spend a lot of time with somebody to have exchanged a lot of yourself. And taking away parts of them that become a part of your body map, that sort of become... written, tattooed on you in some way. And it can’t be seen visibly but it’s felt internally. Carbon is this woman that Scarlet has gone to see. She’s Carbon-made, she only wants to be unmade. There is a brilliance, though, to Carbon, as there’s a brilliance to a diamond. But people chip away and chip away and chip away at this person, because of their brilliance. They wanted her, so they excavated her. So, there is not a lot left in some ways, but a whole another world has been created in all the ways for her to survive it. So Scarlet is having to deal with both these mm... people... who live in the one being of Carbon." (Scarlet Stories)

Next she meets up with the manic depressive Carbon. They travel through the Black Hills of Dakota and to Wounded Knee, scene of one of the darkest episodes in Native American history. "All Carbon wants is to disintegrate into nothingness. So it’s an extremely destructive story. Just as people risked their lives to keep their sacred land, a meltdown is about to happen in her life and a waltz into insanity is on the horizon. She’s on this downhill race in her mind and Scarlet has to get to her before she kills herself." They end up in a ski resort - Bear Claw, Free Fall and Gunner’s View in the song are all ski runs. But for Carbon the normal parameters and boundaries have ceased to apply and given way to self-mutilation and an urge to plunge over the cliff. Scarlet walks into this madness, but the outcome is left unresolved. (Scarlet’s Walk bio)

The writing adapts to the mood.

"Yeah. Or pulling yourself into a place where you can see from that characters point of view. That’s always tricky. Like in ’Carbon,’ trying to get into that space, being around somebody who is a manic-depressive, unless you’re that way, it’s very tough to see it like that. I found that one very tricky. To study and try to imagine being like that, doing that kind of research ... when you don’t feel it within yourself. You try and make yourself almost like a canvas so that their experience can just tattoo or imprint on you." (Journal News March 6, 2003)