Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Rules Are Changing

Naked soil, barren earth
The sun is shining down for what it's worth
Writhing field, funny crop
Flailing, scrambling just to stay on top

Full and fat today by forcing fields to fallow
Bodies pressed together meet a hungry end tomorrow

The rules are changing
The rules are changing

Chasing blackness, dripping gold
Guiding sparks inside the things we hold
Making journeys sitting still
Entrusting labor to an easy fill

Speeding South today by spinning wheels with smoke
Tomorrow journeys screech and halt as fires cough and choke

The rules are changing
The rules are changing

Sweating earns phantom power
Trading numbers for a safer tower
Rules are set, deals are made
Symbols printed, everyone gets paid

Paper notes in piles today make bags and pounds of plenty
Tomorrow numbered paper just won't fill a mouth that's empty

The rules are changing
The rules are changing


A pretty straightforward song. It's probably not inaccurate to say that overpopulation is at the root of almost every major problem facing the human race, and the curve shows no signs of tapering off. Unfortunately, food and energy aren't unlimited, and there's a good chance many of us will live to see serious crises on both fronts. If we do, the things we take for granted (labor made easy with the help of cheap power, cheap and abundant food) will be even harder to come by than they already are today (for much of the world's population, that is). In that kind of situation, the basic economic system (money=goods or services)--in which we all have so much faith--could poof-be-gone like the illusion it truly is. At that point, I'm not sure exactly what the rules will be (Cormac McCarthy's The Road might be onto something), but they're sure going to be different. What can we do about it? I wish I knew. The head-in-the-sand status quo doesn't seem to be doing us many favors. This song has music but something's missing--it might just be too straightforward or too unrelentingly dark, but I do like some of the words and the rhythm. I'll see what I can do. Meanwhile, please enjoy this tea-stained lyric sheet.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Head in the Clouds (Clarity)

Head in the clouds
Vapor zones
Blurry edges--hazy borders
Escaping capture
Disappointing grasping fingers
Established ghosts mock expectations
With the unquestionable touch of rain

Head's in the clouds
Feet not far below
Dangling out of touch with something solid
On the ground, with sense consensus
Is the ideal position
To stage the tired compulsory spectacle
No choosing--celebrate the magnificent piles we've made!

Head in the clouds
The inevitable diffusion
Viewpoints equal, denominators common
The skies--now--the only show--one!
Shield your eyes with illusion now, you'll see it later
Or stare now while you can feel


I'm in the process of setting these admittedly abstract words to music; sort of a dreamy but insistent guitar part with some tone painting and a growing between-verse guitar line that splits into R and L stereo channels for some hopefully interesting psychedelic interplay. We'll see. It'll certainly be difficult to realize by myself in a live setting, but the sound of the recorded version is already pretty well-formed in my head.

Since I'm trying to babble less extensively about these words, here are a few way markers. The song uses the familiar figure of speech "head in the clouds" to evoke the battle between abstract, mystical, imaginative thinking and extremely rational, cause-and-effect, score-keeping thinking. The first verse illustrates the mystical process--reality clearly exists as a force to be intuitively experienced, but its purpose is unclear--you can't deny the feeling of rain, but the abstract idea of the process of rain forming in the sky is difficult for the human mind to comprehend and express. Verse 2 more disparagingly refers to the rational denial of those types of thinking ("Get your head out of the clouds!") in favor of peaceful interaction with the rational world we strive to create for ourselves in human society (i.e. the "magnificent piles we've made," which is probably one of my more venomous images for the status quo). The third verse asserts that large, abstract and greater-than-human processes are at work whether you want to bury your head in society's sand or not. Ironically, the two viewpoints aren't really mutually exclusive, though today's world seems to have a large enough body of rational evidence that many people seem uninterested in contemplating what's going on beyond the reality that is immediately affecting their personal worlds.