Emergency Planet Earth

Our ‘Emergency Planet Earth’ shows are on March 21st, 2020 at The People’s Theatre in Heaton, Newcastle. All the songs we are singing were chosen to fit with our theme of the global issues surrounding the environment and climate change.

Here is part 3 of ‘Meet the Songs’…

Claimed By The Sea – Song from Kiwi band French For Rabbits’ debut album

New Zealand indie pop band, French for Rabbits, originate from Walkuku Beach on the country’s South Island. Their aptly named singer-songwriter, Brooke Singer, and guitarist John Fitzgerald united in 2011 when they began recording and performing together. They were later joined by drummer Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa, and multi-instrumentalists Ben Lemi and Penelope Esplin. The band made their debut in 2012 with their album and title track “Claimed by the Sea”.

Having toured Europe a number of times, their music has appeared on many TV series’ including Being Human and The Vampire Diaries. Though they are known for writing and performing some of their homeland’s most haunting and beautiful music, their live shows display a different side. With a thread of humour, charm and going off on tangents of chatter, they have been described as being “able to make a concert hall feel like a living room”.

Whilst there is very little publicly written about the song, and its meaning, we can swiftly come to our own conclusions. For years there have been grave concerns over global warming, caused in the main by humans continuing to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Our seas have absorbed almost all of the heat generated by these gases causing sea levels to rise. These rising waters threaten to engulf small-island nations and coastal regions by the end of the century. There’s a timely article in The Chronicle this week on the predicted impact on our very own North East coastline. The lyrics to “Claimed by the Sea” poignantly tie in…

This is no longer my house,

It has been claimed by the sea.

Claimed by the sea,

and it was always going to be,

Claimed by the sea….

Eyes Wide Open – Gotye’s song built on samples from a musical fence!

Goyte is a Belgian-born Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.  He is also the founding member of indie-pop trio, The Basics, who have released four studio albums since 2002. Goyte has independently released three studio albums of his own and it’s his third album, Making Mirrors, that features “Eyes Wide Open”. His voice has been likened to Sting and Peter Gabriel, but when talking about himself says he’s “less of a musician, more of a tinkerer.”

The baseline in “Eyes Wide Open” features samples of Goyte playing The Winton Musical Fence. This instrument is located in Queensland and has been made using five huge metal strings attached to fence posts and a wooden chamber. Goyte played keyboards and percussion on the track, Michael Hubbard added pedal steel guitar, Gareth Skinner cello and Lucas Taranto bass guitar.

There is a consensus on the meaning behind this ecologically themed song and it’s video. The lyrics clearly refer to our inability to stop consuming and exploiting the planet we live on. The often repeated line “We walk the plank with our eyes wide open” suggests we’re knowingly destroying the Earth, aware of what we’re doing and unwilling to stop.

Who’s Gonna Stand Up? – Neil Young song from his 34th studio album, Storytone

Canadian American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and activist, Neil Young, was born in 1945. His music career started in the 1960s when he moved to Los Angeles and formed the band Buffalo Springfield. Over the years he has released solo albums as well as with the band, his backing band, Crazy Horse and many other collaborations.

Storytone was Young’s 34th studio album from a career spanning over sixty years. It was released in two formats – one with orchestral and big band arrangements and the other with stripped-back recordings of the songs. In 2014 Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed their new track, “Who’s Gonna Stand up?” on their summer tour. The song then appeared on the album without Crazy Horse.

Well versed with taking a political stand in his music, he asks who is willing to stand up and protect our planet’s natural resources. The documentary ‘Under The Influence’ was the inspiration behind “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?”. It is about the influence large corporations have on government and in the song Young pleads to end the dependence of the world on fossil fuels.

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