The Hymn of Acxiom

I was browsing our CD collection for something new to hear in the car and picked up an album I hadn’t heard in forever: Waking Hour by Vienna Teng. All the way to Pilates and back that day, I was wondering why the heck I hadn’t listened to it in so long, because this woman is a brilliant lyricist and composer.

The next day my wife came home from work and said, “What do you have in the car? That’s fantastic!”

She was instantly a fan, so for the last few days we’ve been listening to samples of the five (!) albums that Vienna Teng has put out since I bought her debut album 13 years ago. Thanks, Spotify!

Her latest album has an amazing song on it called “Hymn of Acxiom,” a gorgeously arranged choral piece that makes one think of churches and cathedrals…until you listen to the lyrics. Which are creepy as hell.

One enterprising musician transcribed the song, and the ensuing video is a great way to appreciate the choral arrangement and the sheer artistry of the song. If you can do all that and still internalize the lyrics, you’re better at multitasking than I am, so I’m putting the lyrics below.

After listening to the song and reading through the lyrics, I looked up Acxiom. And then it all made sense. But I won’t tell you about that until the end.

Somebody hears you. You know that, you know that…
Somebody hears you. You know that inside.
Someone is learning the colors of all your moods, to
(say just the right thing and) show that you’re understood.
Here you’re known.

Leave your life open. You don’t have, you don’t have…
Leave your life open. You don’t have to hide.
Someone is gathering every crumb you drop, these
(mindless decisions and) moments you long forgot.
Keep them all.

Let our formulas find your soul.
We’ll divine your artesian source (in your mind),
Marshal feed and force (our machines will)
To design you a perfect love—
Or (better still) a perfect lust.
O how glorious, glorious: a brand new need is born.

Now we possess you. You’ll own that, you’ll own that…
Now we possess you. You’ll own that in time.
Now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
(reach in your pocket) embrace you for all you’re worth.

Is that wrong?
Isn’t this what you want?


Acxiom Corp. is a high-powered data broker based in Little Rock, Arkansas. It mines data on the online and offline activities of more than 500 million consumers worldwide, and sells these extensive files to any buyer who can afford them. That usually means companies that have something to sell, and want to know 1) who to target with ads, and 2) how to target them.

Acxiom hears you, learns the colors of your moods, gathers every crumb you drop…isn’t that what you want?

Creepy. But what a beautiful song.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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6 Responses to The Hymn of Acxiom

  1. Cheri says:

    Yes. Beautiful and creepy. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. canuckeh says:

    Wow. Beautiful. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Jacob says:

    I don’t think I’ve left a note before with you, but thanks for your posts. I’m a reluctant American (now British) living with my Irish husband in London (yeah, we’re both guys) — left Alaska in 2006, my home (so I know the Oregon references here). This song and lyrics evoke the world of metadata and what will likely become ever-learning, self-creating ‘synthetic intelligence’. We have already stepped in to a new world; this song is a sign-post on the road. I feel it in my very human bones.

    • oregon expat says:

      Holy cow, from Alaska to London — you might even beat me for initial enviro-shock. And you left the same year I did. Congratulations on your marriage, which I’m assuming is fairly recent, since equal marriage rights didn’t land in England until just last year.

      And I think you’re right about the data-driven future of our new world.

  4. Jorge says:

    Just dropping by to say…

    Holy cow.

    This is magnificent.

  5. xenatuba says:

    Stunning. Just stunning. Music and words, and target.

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