Week 31: Coulda mighta shoulda

Here’s another environmental song – sung by my great great great grandson, living in a biodome in Greenland in the 22nd century, surrounded by a ruined planet, wondering why we didn’t do more to stop the catastrophe that we could see unfolding around us. Once I had the concept, the song was fairly straightforward to write, it just involved doing a bit of googling to get an idea of what the planet might be like in 100 years’ time given the projections of climate scientists. Enjoy!

31 Coulda mighta shoulda
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My name is Tim, I’m 23, you’re my great great great grandaddy
I live in Greenland in a dome of glass
In the 22nd century, I’m part of community
Descended from the wealthy ruling class
I’ve read of how it used to be before the slow catastrophe
Before the sea got sick and the forests died
Did you understand how good you had it then? I hope you could
When fields were green and skies were blue and wide

You coulda mighta shoulda
How I wish you woulda
Taken better heed of all the
Signs screaming at you about the state of our home
The scientists were saying no
But still you wouldn’t stop the show
You acted like you didn’t know
You saw the levees overflow
You saw the coral reefs turn white as bone

A hundred million refugees are running from the rising seas
Now that Manhattan’s more than 4 feet deep
Remember when the ice sheets fell you carried on like all was well
Now it’s high tide on 47th street


Now I guess I’m in the lucky few who had the means to make it through
And find our refuge in this biodome
And so we have the means to eat and synthesise our slabs of meat
And keep the hungry hordes out where they roam

Week 30: I don’t know what to do

A song about the general frustration I sometimes feel at trying and striving and working and thinking to find a way forward and feeling like nothing is working, and not knowing what else to do. It started out with the guitar part, which immediately interested me with its change from C minor to C major at the start of each chord cycle in the verses. Once I came up with the line “I don’t know what to do”, I was able to work backwards for each verse, finding words that rhymed with “do” and building the verses accordingly – so from there on it was fairly quick to write the words – although I decided each chorus should have different words, instead of just repeating the same one four times, so that ended up taking quite a bit longer.

30 I don't know what to do
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I put my best face on, tried to write a happy song
But it just came out blue, I don’t know what to do
I tried to say the thing I was ashamed to sing
But it remained taboo, I don’t know what to do

Something is driving me crazy
This feeling I’m in need of repair
Suspecting that I’m basically lazy
And if I just tried harder, somehow I’d get there

I tried to hypnotise myself with little lies
But they remained untrue, I don’t know what to do
I tried to meditate, restricted what I ate
But still I got the flu, I don’t know what to do

I need a week at the ocean
Let that sea breeze scatter my woes
Maybe replace this commotion
With the sound of seashells crunching under my toes

I went to therapy, please tell me how to be
He said it’s up to you, I don’t know what to do
I read a hundred books, to find out what it took
But still I had no clue, I don’t know what to do

Life’s got me itching all over
But I’ve got no clue where to scratch
Just trying to keep my composure
My calm exterior hiding my inner train smash

I thought I’d take a chance and make a brave advance
But slowly she withdrew, I don’t know what to do
I live my lonely life, meet a potential wife
I blow the interview, I don’t know what to do

Not sure I want to be human
In this unnatural style
How about adopting a family
Of mongrel dogs and charging off into the wild?

Week 29: Plastic Island

My first environmental song. I was listening to a podcast where they were discussing the dying out of a species of microscopic snail that was a component of the plankton at the bottom of the food chain, a dying out brought on by a half-degree rise in sea temperature, and the scientist being interviewed was saying that this is just the beginning of the catastrophe that climate change was slowly causing. Scientists have been warning us for decades about this, but nobody seems to take much notice. Well, I figured if there’s one thing I can do to make a tiny difference to this situation, it would be to write a song about it.

29 Plastic island
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Now that we’ve got more than we have ever had before
Seems all we can think about is how to get some more
The squirrel puts its acorns in a hole inside a tree
While the humans build an island out of plastic in the sea

It was a helluva time I had yesterday at the mall
I tried so hard to keep my eye on the ball
But by the time I had found what I went there for
I’d spent all my money on god knows what all


The price is too high I heard someone complain
For a thing that would astound a caveman’s brain
Constructed in china where children are cheap
Only to end up on some stinking heap


Like overfed grubs in fast food chains
Feeding our faces to forget all the pain
That we think we can fix with a serving of fries
But the thing that we need no money can buy


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Week 28: Hovering on the edges

This started out with the opening guitar part, which I really liked, and after playing it for a day or so, on and off, words started to pop into my head and so I just sat down and wrote whatever came, thinking I would try to work it into something more melodic, but then when I found the chorus, I decided the flatness of the verse was nicely offset by the melody of the chorus and it was fine just to leave the words as a sort of chant. It was a song I was not entirely sure was good enough to post, because of the kind of directionless way it evolved, with no clear plan. But then I played it to Chris, the producer of these song a week songs, at one of our recording sessions, and he said I should definitely put it out there, so here it is.

28 Hovering on the edges
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I was hovering on the edges and I was aching to be loved and I was taking the strain as I shoved to try to rise above and I was trying to find a way to make you see me
I was heavily engaged in some kind of dimly-felt rage and I was rattling my cage and I was trying to hide the fact that I was scared and I was needy

Where’d you go? I sat on the edge of the world and waited
But you didn’t show, leaving me lonely and unregulated
And slow to know, the world only sees the things you choose to show

I was a meddler on the make I was the rattle in the machine I was the sun-baked rain-drenched cloudburst landscape of all that comes when all your hopes have slid the ropes to nothing
I was the corona on the sun I had just turned 71 I was looking for some last-minute fun before I fired the gun that shook my frozen glaciated mind to gushing


In the cadences of my thoughts there’s an echo of feeling out of sorts and like when it’s Tuesday and it’s sports and I forgot to bring my shorts and like the dream you had again that you were failing
I was accorded an officious role in the curating of my soul and I was vicious in my control and single-minded in my goal but then the heart of me came bursting free and sailing


I was in an elastic state of knowing and in an elated space of nowhere and excited about nothing and I was talking about nothing much of consequence to no-one
I was the cold that creeps beneath the door when you forgot what love is for and as the rain began to pour I was trying to make my choice between the high road and the low one