Tuesday, December 01, 2015

No sweet love for planet Earth

"Where are all the climate change songs?" It's a fair question - after all, the environmental crisis is ultimately the most serious threat to all of humanity and the situation would appear to have plenty of the hallmarks of a topic tailor-made for angry protest songs (corruption, power, corporate greed, political apathy, national and personal self-interest, discrimination).

Perhaps it's because of the nebulous and sheer overwhelming scale of the problem - one that makes people feel anything they do will be futile - or perhaps, as the article's author suggests, it's simply because it's extremely difficult to come up with a song about global warming that isn't unbearably naff. Even committed environmentalist Thom Yorke - one of several prominent signatories of a letter demanding an "ambitious and inspiring international agreement" in tackling climate change ahead of the UN conference in Paris - has admitted as much, in conversation with George Monbiot: "In the 60s, you could write songs that were like calls to arms, and it would work. If I was going to write a protest song about climate change in 2015, it would be shit. It’s not like one song or one piece of art or one book is going to change someone’s mind."

If I was to name a couple of environment-related songs that aren't terrible, I'd pick the title track of the last Drones album, 'I See Seaweed' (even if frontman Gareth Liddiard has said that the reference to sea levels rising shouldn't be interpreted as him "jumping on a soapbox or anything" and that it wasn't intended to be "direct") and the first track from the first Fuck Buttons album, 'Sweet Love For Planet Earth', that achieves the improbable feat of capturing both beauty and destructive violence at the same time. Neither is exactly likely to get much radio play, mind.

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