Is anybody really alive out there ? – Nominate your favorite song that captures these times

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Is anybody really alive out there ? – Nominate your favorite song that captures these times

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    That question is what devoted and even marginally aligned fans of Springsteen would recognize as one of his stand-by,well-known opening greeting questions at most of his live concerts of recent memory. (it has been a few years since the last live tour with some sad deaths and departures from core E-Street band).

    This posting is not about that. It is about by observation (I am not alone on this one) that the active social and cultural commentary and back-and-forth we had going here on several contemporary topics (primarily OWS)  just a few weeks back,  has gone somewhat dormant and diffuse. Even the irregular/regulars and “usual suspects” seem to be missing in action here. 

    So try this topic on for size- What is a favorite song of yours that comes to mind that seems to best capture these national scale times, troubles and tribulations you may be experiencing or know someone else who is ?  List it here in your reply, give a link to its live performance if you can find one, and offer a drop of consciousness as to why it moves you.

    Writing for myself here, I have many that come to mind, but this one by Don Henley, tops them all. For me it is as relevant and spot-on accurate in describing what was gripping our country, over ten years ago when it was first written. Even more hauntingly prescient now.

    Inside Job

    • Songwriters:  Michael W. Campbell,  Don Henley

    While you were sleeping
    They came and took it all away
    The lanes and the meadows
    The places where you used to play

    It was an inside job
    By the well-connected
    Your little protest
    Summarily rejected

    It was an inside job
    Like it always is
    Chalk it up
    To business as usual

    While you were dreaming
    This little island disappears
    While you are looking the other way
    They’ll take your right to own your own ideas

    And it’s an inside job
    Favors collected
    Your trusted servants
    Have left you unprotected

    It was an inside job
    Like it always is
    Just chalk it up
    To business as usual

    You think that you’re so smart
    But you don’t have a fucking clue
    What those men up in the towers
    Are doing to me and you

    And they’ll keep doin’ it and doin’ it
    Doin’ it, doin’ it, doin’ it
    Doin’ it, doin’ it, doin’ it
    Until we all wake up
    Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up

    I know what I’ve done wrong
    I am acquainted with the night
    I know how hard it is
    To always walk out in the light

    And it’s an inside job
    To learn about forgiving
    It’s an inside job
    To hang on to the joy of living

    They know the road by which you came
    They know your mother’s maiden name
    And what you had for breakfast
    What you’ve hidden in the mattress

    Insect politics
    Indifferent universe
    Bang your head against the wall
    But apathy is worse

    It’s an inside job

    Roland Beinert

    “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” by REM

    Roland Beinert

    Now that I think about it, “Ignoreland” (also REM) would be another good choice.


    A Springsteen song has been in my mind a lot lately, only its the Rage Against the Machine version.  Its “The Ghost of Tom Joad”.  I think their version better communicates a sense of fear and of struggle against a malevolent economic and geographic landscape.  Springsteen’s original is just sad.  The line “Families sleepin’ in their cars out in the Southwest” is especially poignant for me, because I actually saw that happening, in the Southwest.  I even did it a couple of times when I drove from Las Vegas to LA for job interviews and was too broke for a hotel.  As I’m sure you know, Tom Joad was the patriarch of the Joad clan in Steinbeck’s Depression era novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Now we have cops beating guys AND girls.  Our Tom Joad is waiting in the wings somewhere, getting ready to step onto the national stage.

    Man walks along the railroad track
    He’s Goin’ some place, there’s no turnin’ back
    The Highway Patrol chopper comin’ up over the ridge
    Man sleeps by a campfire under the bridge
    The shelter line stretchin’ around the corner
    Welcome to the New World Order
    Families sleepin’ in their cars out in the Southwest
    No job, no home, no peace, no rest, NO REST!

    And The highway is alive tonight
    Nobody’s foolin’ nobody is to where it goes
    I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
    Searchin’ for the Ghost of Tom Joad

    He pulls his prayer book out of a sleepin’ bag
    The preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
    He’s waitin’ for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
    In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
    With a one way ticket to the promised land
    With a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
    Lookin’ for a pillow of solid rock
    Bathin’ in the cities’ aqueducts

    And The highway is alive tonight
    Nobody’s foolin’ nobody is to where it goes
    I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
    With the Ghost of old Tom Joad

    Now Tom Said; “Ma, whenever ya see a cop beatin’ a guy
    Wherever a hungry new born baby cries
    Whereever there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
    Look for me ma’
    I’ll be there
    Wherever somebodies stuglin’ for a place to stand
    For a decent job or a helpin’ hand
    Wherever somebody is strugglin’ to be free
    Look in their eyes ma,
    You’ll see me! [repeat 8 times]

    And the highway is alive tonight
    nobody’s foolin’ nobody is to where it goes
    I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
    With the Ghost of Tom Joad.

    Trace One

    “Chicago”, Crosby Stills nash and Young




    A great selection too in my mind, and not just because I am a Springsteen fan and opened up this forum with a quote from him.I have always felt that not only the title cut, but the entire “Ghost of Tom Joad” CD was a scathing commentary of the economic seizures and convulsions of that period (the Depression) and the life-altering way it affected an entire generation, for at least two generations after it.  I am in your camp, we are seeing mostly a contemporary renenactment here.

    Why do we continue to see the persistent use (and almost overuse) of the phrase “The Lost Decade (Generation)”.


    How do see and sense things are going in the regional economy of the greater Southwest right now ?





    Perhaps even a more potent song as the 2012 political conventions approach. I hope we are in the streets in a massive presence. Last time round, it really changed the political dialogue, but then again “law and order” was the prevailing knee-jerk reaction and we elected another ultra-paranoid  jerk named Nixon. I always felt one the great contradictions of his presidency was that, in order to stay fashionable and in vogue with the time, some of the most significant environmental achievements (e.g. EPA and Clean Water Act) took place.

    Tanya Olson

    “Woodstock”, but as a dirge. Its an ironic reminder of best hopes and ideals of the movement in the 60’s lost in the process of growing up, pushback, and the 80’s and 90’s….not exactly as specifically relevant of the other songs, but more zeitgeist….and darned sad in my opinion.


    I haven’t paid as much attention to the regional economy of the Southwest since I left in the spring after my girlfriend basically kicked me out.  Well, that’s a little harsh.  We basically agreed that since I couldn’t find work there I should move back east to be closer to my parents, who are getting up there in years.  Back here I’ve only been able to find temp and odd jobs.  I’m doing sales for a solar company, but they aren’t advertising, so no leads are coming in, and I haven’t sold any systems yet, so, no income.

    There is such a huge supply of homes in most southwestern metros now.  It will be a long time before housing gets back up.  The companies I worked for in LV are shadows of their former selves.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield

    Ryland Fox

    C.R.E.A.M. – Wu Tang Clan


    The River

    Clayton Munson

    “Letters to the President” – Hawk Nelson


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