Friday, November 23, 2007

Lyrics of the Day

Bruce Cockburn weekend continues...

I've never been a big fan of free verse. When I read it, I can't help wondering why the writer couldn't either rhyme or form sentences. Most Cockburn lyrics stick to a meter, even if it's sometimes endearingly clumsy (he'll squeeze in odd words or phrases at times). But "If A Tree Falls" is sort of Cockburn's 1988 experiment with rapping. Inspired by the clear-cutting of rain forests, he sings the chorus but speaks the rhymeless, rhythmless verses:
Rain forest
Mist and mystery
Teeming green
Green brain facing labotomy
Climate control centre for the world
Ancient cord of coexistence
Hacked by parasitic greedhead scam -
From Sarawak to Amazonas
Costa Rica to mangy B.C. hills -
Cortege rhythm of falling timber.

What kind of currency grows in these new deserts,
These brand new flood plains?

(chorus)
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?

Cut and move on
Cut and move on
Take out trees
Take out wildlife at a rate of a species every single day
Take out people who've lived with this for 100,000 years -
Inject a billion burgers worth of beef -
Grain eaters - methane dispensers.
Although I am an unrepentant carnivore, that's one of my all-time favorite lines: "Grain eaters - methane dispensers." That really describes cattle in their most basic form, don't you think? An interviewer presumed this song was inspired by a trip to Brazil, but there is a clue in the lyrics: "mangy B.C. hills." That's a reference to British Columbia; Cockburn was thinking of the Pacific Northwest rain forests that he had visited.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it