"Cathy Don't Go": A religious cult's lost new-wave gem | Bleader

"Cathy Don't Go": A religious cult's lost new-wave gem

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A screen shot from the
  • A screen shot from the "Cathy Don't Go" video.
If you pay any attention at all to the music press, you're probably already aware that Christopher Owens—who used to front the band Girls and just released a fascinating debut solo album, Lysandre, that's festooned with 70s soft-rock signifiers—grew up in a charismatic Christian cult called the Children of God. That fact's been mentioned in approximately 100 percent of everything written about him, but it's hard to blame writers for wanting to include such a fascinating piece of information, especially if you know anything about the sect, which was a wing of the hippy Jesus Movement before its founder, David Berg, began preaching on subjects like the sacredness of children's sexuality.

While Owens's roots in the Children of God—now known as the Family International, a failed bit of rebranding that didn't improve its creepy image—are well documented, the Children's own musical proclivities as a whole aren't as widely known. The other day the Internet culture blog the Daily Dot posted a video that suggests the group actually used pop music as a recruiting device, a strategy that they may have picked up from the Jesus Movement members who founded the Christian rock industry. (The CoG also used something called "flirty fishing," which consisted of women from the cult seducing strange men in order to entice them to join up.) A strange amalgam of apocalyptic Christian eschatology and power-pop-influenced new wave, "Cathy Don't Go" is jangly, up-tempo number about a woman in peril of losing her soul to Satan by making a transaction at the grocery store using bar codes, which the singer contends are the Mark of the Beast foretold in Revelation. It's also surprisingly catchy.

Check out the video, featuring bar-coded zombies, soldiers representing what might be the New World Order, and an impressive bit of shopping-cart choreography, after the jump.

If you have some time to kill you might want to check out the comments on the video's YouTube page—a bizarre intersection between 80s new-wave nostalgists and total religious loonies.

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