Phantom Songs: Jesus Jones – “Right Here, Right Now”

Phantom Songs is an ongoing series of musical pieces that you can’t quite put your finger on. You have most definitely heard the song before, but are most likely not able to pinpoint who made it, when it was released, and/or what the song is really about. All of the artist’s history and biography was either stolen from wikipedia or made up entirely.

Looking back, I can’t really point out a moment in time of which this week’s song actually meant something to me. But certain images still come to mind. Picture an overhead shot of a ’92 Sunbird Convertible driving down a dirt road. Or a bunch of kids having fun at a concert. Or an insurgent throwing a bomb at a tank. Or a guy getting hit in the face with a pie [which would actually make a good juxtaposition with the tank thing]. Or a guy in a Polo™ shirt getting the mail, immediately dropping everything except one letter, ripping it open and jumping up and down in glee, high-fiving his dog in the process. These are all fair assessments, but one thing that rings true above all is that it’s about Living In The ’90s:

Enter Jesus Jones, a Wikipedia-proclaimed “British Alternative Dance Band”. Just trying to remember the name sends off an epic chain of misfires:

Jesus Jones
Jesus and the Mary Chain
Jesus Lizard
The Lounge Lizards
Q. Lazzarlus
Toad The Wet Sprocket
The Toadies

It can go on for hours, without once realizing that in order to had “Lived In The ’90s”, you would’ve needed a love for reptiles and amphibians. In any event, Jesus Jones was a hard-rocking grunge disco band that happened to have one breakout hit, “Right Here, Right Now”.

As I mentioned, there are many settings in which this song would fit perfectly, but I always felt like there was something more to it. Something that has to be read in the mumbling of the verses. Wait, are there any verses?

A woman on the radio talked about revolution
when it’s already passed her by
Bob Dylan didn’t have this to sing about
you know it feels good to be alive

Oh, good. There IS a verse. And…umm…wow, what? So, some sort of revolution happened and suddenly Bob Dylan can’t sing? Was that the revolution? Taking out Bob Dylan’s vocal chords? Whatever just happened, I can’t wait to hear what it actually is. I would love to live in a world where Bob Dylan can’t sing. That’s, like, on my Top 5 list of things that I want to happen:

5) Gatorade Shower
4) Sex™
3) Bob Dylan not singing <—- SEE! Right there!
2) Bearstronauts
1) Infinite Prosciutto

Alright, so what the fuck happened, Mr Jones [err… Mr Jesus]?

I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this

Good god, stop getting me so worked up! You were waiting, I was waiting, we were all waiting. Just spit it out! WHAT HAPPENED?!?

Right here, right now
there is no other place I want to be
Right here, right now
watching the world wake up from history

Jesus_Jones_doubtOkay, I guess he’s just torturing us. If something great happens, then of course, we would all want to be right there, right then. There’d be no use to be somewhere else. Nobody wants to be late for the party, that we can all relate to. It’s really the last line that bothers me. Wherever the place is, it has a vantage point of watching the entire world. On top of that, it’s the world waking up, which means that one could also watch the world sleep. Just mull on that for a second: have you ever abruptly woke up in the middle of the night and had the dreadful feeling that someone was watching you? Of course you have. Because Jesus Jones has made a hobby out of it, the son of a bitch.

Which makes me wonder, does this song also in a way, explain the name, Jesus Jones? As if the band as a character represents an every-man Jesus? He may be our savior, but he makes mistakes like you and me. And he also watches you sleep. That’s Jesus Jones®!

But we still have two words left. “From history”. He’s watching to world wake up…from history? I’ve heard of waking up from a coma, a deep sleep and a dream, but history? If you wake up from “history”, then that would surely mean that it was actually a dream or something that just wasn’t real. Therefore, it is not history, in a bona fide sense. It’s really the word “from” that messes everything up. If it was changed to “wake up TO history”, then that might coincide with what the song may or may not be about. But no. The world is waking up from what they thought was history, only to realize that they were just part of a Jesus Jones song.

I saw the decade in, when it seemed
the world could change at the blink of an eye
And if anything
then there’s your sign of the times

Cool. He saw the decade in. We all did, to some extent. It’s not like he was the only one to live to see 1990. As if, holy shit, everybody in the world decided to re-live 1989 and ignore the coming of a new decade, except for one brave soul, Jesus The Jones®, who said “Fuck That. The year is 1990. Get a calendar, Planet Earth!”. And apparently, when this happened, the world has the capacity in changing in the blink of an eye. That’s never really true. Back in those times, I was confident that I would wake up one morning to find that the sky was purple and every shingled roof became an uber-modernistic bubble dome, like the Spring Yard Zone in Sonic The Hedgehog. The world just doesn’t act like that. There is order and processes.

But if anything, for whatever it’s worth, it’s just a sign of the times. You couldn’t be more right, Jesus The Jones®. Hearing a song like this, in which all of the words are annoyingly vague but are meant to imprint something wholly important, is a sign of the times. Only in the ’90s could bands get away with making songs like this. Well, also in the ’80s. And the ’00s. And the ’10s. Fuck, it’s always possible. But it’s a sign of the times, hearing some shitty British singer say something cliché like “sign of the times”.

So come on, what actually happened that was so cool?

[Screeching, generic guitar solo]

[Chorus Repeat]

And that’s that. There’s nothing more to be discovered about this. In this dream world, everyone thinks it’s 1989, Bob Dylan isn’t allowed to sing and a man named Jesus The Jones® watches people sleep. However, if you refer back to the music video, it reveals an under-lying message:

People escape reality into television. They don’t play Bob Dylan on MTV. Things are going on in the news. It happens all the time. And now, with Cable News, you can get this useful information 24/7/365.

Right Here.

Right Now.

There’s no other place I’d rather be.

Than watching Cable TV.

Now that’s what I call a sign of the times!

A sign of the times that lives on today. In chipmunk form.