Sheep Go to Heaven – Cake
In their song “Sheep Go to Heaven” off their 1998 album Prolonging the Magic, Cake talks about how living the moral life set up by Christianity can actually lead to routine and sadness, while indulgence and less moral tracks can lead to a fulfilled life.
The song begins with the narrator dismissing things that are generally associated with happiness (laughing, smiling, etc.) because “[he’s] not feeling alright”. The narrator says that he just wants to “have a good time” by doing things such as “drink … wine” and “play on [his] panpipes”. The panpipes here are a reference to Satyrs, who were depicted in Greek and Roman myths as creature that were half man/half goat. They were known for drinking wine and playing their pipes. They were also known to partake in physical pleasure. The narrator wishes he were a satyr.
The chorus of the song consists of the repeating lines “Sheep go to Heaven/ Goats go to hell”. This is a reference to the parable that Jesus delivers in Matthew 25:31-34,41, which depicts Jesus coming down on the Day of Judgment and dividing the wholesome from the wicked (the “sheep” from the “goats”). The wholesome (sheep) will be accepted into the kingdom of Heaven, while the wicked (goats) will be banished to Hell. (The connection between the half-goat satyr and the narrator plays in here.) These are basically saying just that, good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell.
The narrator then goes into descriptions of professions that have to do with death (such as the stone mason who makes the gravestone and the grave digger). The line “the grave digger puts on the forceps” is a reference to the second act of Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. This line in the play talks about the tortures of routine.
The “carpenter” that is referred to is most likely Jesus. As far as the like that say that he’ll “take you out to lunch”, is referring to Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Captenter. In Carroll’s poem, the walrus and carpenter invite oysters to join them, only to devour them when they do. The carpenter and the walrus can be seen to represent Jesus and Buddha, while the oysters can be seen to represent their followers. This is the narrator’s way of saying that people can become consumed by their religions and never enjoy life.