Monday, October 23, 2017

Songs for the apocalypse

Right now I'm so despondent about the state of our planet that I can't be bothered to rant. Instead, I've started compiling a list of songs that represent my feelings on where humanity currently sits, teetering on the brink:

Marillion: Season's End
Released in 1990, the clue's in the title. "They say it may never snow again in England".

Depeche Mode: Going Backwards/Where's the Revolution
A double-header from their 2017 opus, 'Spirit'. Two brilliant tracks, particularly the first: "We have no respect, we have lost control"; "We're going backwards, ignoring the realities". Each line more damning than the last.

Julian Lennon: Saltwater
Brings tears to my eyes. From 1991, when the realisation that "I have lived for love, but now that's not enough, for the world I love is dying" started to surface. 26 years on, things haven't got better.

George Michael: Praying for Time
George was pilloried for this song on its release back in 1990, because as a rich man he had no right to deny everyone else a slice of the pie. Yet his words are chillingly prophetic, chronicling the beginning of our slide into delusion: "The rich declare themselves poor, and most of us are not sure if we have too much, but we'll take our chances because God's stopped keeping score". "And the wounded skies above say it's much much too late, maybe we should all be praying for time".

a-ha: Living at the End of the World
From their 2015 album, 'Cast in Steel'. The clue is in the title - we in the west seem incapable of charting another course now. Certainly not if it inconveniences us in any way.

a-ha: Mother Nature Goes to Heaven
This came from their 2009 opus, 'Foot of the Mountain'. It's about the death of nature, eight years before reports revealed that insect numbers have declined by as much as 75% in the last 25 years. To quote a line from another track from Depeche Mode's 'Spirit': "We're fucked".

Queen: Hammer to Fall
Written as the Cold War reached its crescendo in the early 80s, it's now relevant again with the rise of Trump, Brexit, the Middle East and North Korea, with Putin in the background pulling strings here and there.

Aerosmith: Livin' on the Edge
Written in response to the 1992 LA Riots, it proves we've not moved on in 25 years. People are still judged by their colour, gender, race ("If you can judge a wise man by the colour of his skin then mister you're a better man than I") and creed, instead of being treated as individuals. I've been reading my US history, and it reinforces how we white, male Europeans have no idea how shitty the world is for so many people because they're neither white, male or European (heritage). But that doesn't stop us whining about our "hard" lives. Or voting for Trump or Brexit, come to think of it.

I'll no doubt remember more as time goes by, but for now when I want to despair, these songs are the perfect accompanient.

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