Earth Day: a playlist for fighting ocean acidification (text & audio)

As an Environmental Studies major, I always look forward to Earth Day in April, and now you can too! As happy as this day is to be thankful for all the Earth has given us, the uninvited party guest that is climate change has put quite a damper on the festivities.

Earth Day is now a reminder to take action and fight for our planet. In order to pump you up to get you ready to recycle some plastic, cut down some buckthorn and write to your local representative, I have curated a Climate Change playlist just for you!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/4YRGjiNn7xC8p0IJzXY9zU

Time is Up – Poppy, Diplo

This song is a total bop. The techno beeps paired with Poppy’s monotone delivery really set the serious nature of climate change. The song tells the story of an android that is tasked with saving the Earth for humanity only to realize that no matter how hard it tries, humans always end up continuing to destroy it, and thus the Earth can only be saved if humans disappear. This catchy track has an earworm of a beat thanks to Diplo’s collaboration on the composition. Although this song has lyrics that are rather convictive, this song is more a warning. Our time is up to not act on climate change, we have stalled too long, and now is the time for action.

Plastic Beach – The Gorillaz (feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon)

One of my favorite bands has to be the Gorillaz. There is something about virtual bands that I can’t help but obsess over. Plastic Beach (album) has some fantastic tracks, including Superfast Jellyfish and On Melancholy Hill, but one of the best has to be the title song. The song itself has amazing lyrics that add amazing imagery to ocean pollution. My all time favorite description of any climate change phenomenon has to be the lyric from the chorus, “It’s a Styrofoam deep sea landfill.” This melancholy track despite the rather dire lyrics still manages to get you to bounce your knee to its catchy musical hooks and 2-D’s voice.

Violence – Original Mix – Grimes, i_o

This track is from indie darling Grimes’ 2020 album, Miss. Anthropocene. For those unfamiliar with the term Anthropocene, it refers to the new geological period that humans have caused due to human-induced climate change. Most often the Anthropocene is traced to the release of the nuclear bomb while other scholars say the Anthropocene began once the agricultural revolution occurred, Some say it began at the discovery of steam power. Regardless of when this new geological era began, we are most certainly currently in it. Grimes’ album is loosely based around “an anthropomorphic goddess of climate change.” The song Violence in particular is a song that is sung from the perspective of Earth in regards to the way in which humanity has treated her. The rather eerie and confronting concept behind the song is only amplified by Grimes’ techno beats and her ethereal voice.

A Beautiful Lie – Thirty Seconds to Mars

As a former emo kid (let’s face it I still am), I grew up on Thirty Seconds to Mars. Although the lyrics aren’t specifically about climate change, the music video was very explicit in its intent. The music video which was directed by front man, Jared Leto, showcases melting ice interlaced with burning smokestacks. With such passion in Leto’s voice, this song is rather cathartic for those of us who have been vocal for years about climate change and haven’t seen much done. The fight is far from over and we have to keep trying no matter how little it feels like we are being listened to.

Dear Miami – Róisín Murphy

This song is rather blunt and it is delivering the message that a great deal of Floridians seem to avoid. Dear Miami informs the listener that although climate change seems far away at the moment, more and more places are starting to see its effects. It isn’t going to be much longer before the United States sees the effects of climate change on our own soil. What is unfortunate is that climate change is going to displace millions living on the coasts. Something I have noticed myself is that compared to early environmental songs by the likes of Marvin Gaye, the environmental songs of the past 20 years have been angry and increasingly more and more on the nose in what the song is trying to get across.

Hands All Over – Soundgarden

My father practically raised me on grunge. If you need to find him, just listen for the Pearl Jam music. A characteristic of almost all grunge is the uncaged emotion (most of the time anger) that truly resonates with the listener. This Soundgarden song was described by lead singer, Chris Cornell, as being “basically about how we humans tend to screw up everything that’s good enough as it is… or everything that we’re attracted to, we love to go and defile it.” One of the best lines refers to eagles being transformed into vultures, a fit analogy for the American manifest destiny that has led to the lush American landscape becoming a jungle of concrete and commercialism.

Time is Ticking Out – The Cranberries

I remember watching the music video for Time is Ticking Out as a little kid in the early 2000s. Back when I was 3, I didn’t really understand that the song was about climate change, I honestly thought because it was a yellow brick road it had to be about the Wizard of Oz. Reconnecting with this track I was surprised to see mention of the radioactive disasters such as Chernobyl. Ten years prior to the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, this song is a warning of our time slowly ticking away. Now in 2021, 20 years after this song was written, it feels as if we are nearing the end of that timer.

One Fine Day – Sting

This song is directed at the climate skeptics. Sting who previously was a teacher before becoming front man to The Police, pretty much schools anybody who was previously a climate change denier. Sting informs the listener that although it simply seems as if nothing is happening, it is only a matter of time before circumstances get worse and worse and by that point there won’t be a way for all of humanity to survive due to parts of the globe that will be unlivable.

Fall On Me – R.E.M

Any R.E.M song is chock full of meaning, from human rights abuses, agent orange and teenage depression. This R.E.M song is about acid rain (at least that is what drummer Bill Berry stated in 1986). I honestly had never heard a song that was about acid rain, and honestly it is really such a cool concept. The melancholy verses are an interesting foil to the more upbeat chorus that seems to reflect the way in which climate change is talked about in 2021. As depressing as the facts are, we prefer to procrastinate and draw our attention to happy distractions.

I hope you guys enjoyed this list. Email me vibecheck.dpu@gmail.com if you’d like to share your thoughts or add to this playlist. Remember to never give up on the fight for our planet!

Radio de Paul, 21 April 2021. Text and audio.

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