Neil Young is about to release a new album, titled Storytone, on which he features his proudest new song ‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up (And Save The Earth)‘. He’s a hugely respected musician, (borderline aging-hippy), but will this song save the world?
Personally, I don’t think so. It just lacks…. depth. Narratively speaking, it’s nothing we’ve not heard before; it’s a list of all the things that are destroying the Earth that make those of us who care feel bad which, when spelled out like that, make sustainable living seem like a big, many-versed difficulty…
Rather than continue to point out what I think Neil’s song lacks (like some generic climatologist), I’ll show you a song that’s actually moved people, a song that is worthy of huge praise (like a Rock’N’Roll Conservationist): Kimberley, by John Butler.
John’s actual song starts at 4:40, but if you’ve watched this video from the beginning (thank you), you’ll have the full story behind this song. The song itself has a great narrative story; personifying The Kimberley region of North-Western Australia, a truly incredible environment, as a girl from a classic hero-tale. Not in a way dissimilar to the brilliant folk behind Nature Is Speaking. Immediately – a story! Something we humans can instinctively follow. It’s got the role of villain perfectly filled by ‘Prince of the Cowboys‘, Colin Barnett, from the sounds of it Butler’s long-time nemesis and the perfect Baddy in this tale. And most poignantly, we have the tale of John’s friend Paddy, who’s side we’re on before the song even starts; the simple, honest, good man, who’s trying to be no more than that and thereby plays the hero. And finally, there’s you. John echoes the thoughts of thousands in lyrics ‘Where do I stand? There’s a hole in my heart & a line drawn in the sand… etc.’
The efforts of John and fellow campaigners went on to actually save the Kimberley in a massive victory a few years ago, for which they should all be immensely proud. I’ve heard though, that all their hard-work has been thrown out the window since the rise of Australia’s current PM, Tony Abbott, who’s just so… um, yeah, and he’s declaring an active war on the environment.
Overall, while Neil’s new song fills us with, if anything, a sense of obligation, John’s has the power to speak to us in our hearts & souls, and fill us with Pride. And I thank them both.
What moves you more?