5 Songs To Blast At Full Volume Before Climate Change Burns Your Speakers To Ash
By Reece Skelley (he/him)
Britain just hit 40°C for the first time in human history. It’s also the first time we’ve named a heat wave, as Zoe hits Spain. We’re learning that technology has its limits - air conditioning has to push the hot air somewhere. So, before your subwoofers melt under the pressure, listen to some environmentally conscious tunes to get the adrenaline pumping and get the Green Party into the majority.
Pinegrove - ‘Orange’ Pinegrove’s 11:11 is an album filled with personal reflection and existentialism, but ‘Orange’ has something more. It's a perfect juxtaposition of languid, alt-country waltzing and political damnation, taking aim at the American government’s inaction on climate change. “Today the sky is orange / and you and I know why” is a couplet alive with resignation, resistance and rage at the ecological end of the world. Don’t get me wrong, Pinegrove are no Rage Against The Machine - but after years of solipsistic pondering, it’s nice to see them fight for the planet.
The Beach Boys - ‘Don’t Go Near The Water’ Although The Beach Boys were musically subversive, they were also very sincere. Brian Wilson really did care about vegetables as much as he cared about love, and this can be felt throughout every five-layer harmony. They also single-handedly sold surfboards to an entire generation. ‘Don't Go Near The Water’ is a political reprieve about water pollution, which doubles as a rejection of their ‘California Sound’ identity. You might think it’s the perfect time for a wink and a nod, or maybe some sly sarcasm. But the tune is deceptively straight, contrasting Mike Love’s meditative tones with Al Jardine’s bombastic, melodramatic imagery. “Toothpaste and soap will make our oceans a bubble bath!” Just like sitting too close to the television will make your eyes square! Sure thing, grandpa. But it rings true, as its message gets chillingly closer to reality.
Mutton Birds - ‘Anchor Me’ Don McGlashan of The Mutton Birds famously said he’d rather have sex with a crayfish than let National use any of his songs in a political campaign. Well, if we don’t do something about the environment, then we’ll never get to see that happen! The song in question was the love ballad, ‘Anchor Me’. Don McGlashan’s nautical metaphors and lush, reverb-soaked melodies stand the test of time. ‘Anchor Me’ was released in 1994 and co-opted by Greenpeace in 2005 to commemorate the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. And it’s still socially relevant after all this time. A smart, moving pop song in every sense, hopefully by 2025 it finds another reason to be both anthemic and anathema to the malaise of the world.
Soundgarden - ‘Hands All Over’ Metal bands? Caring about the environment? It’s more likely than you think! Granted, the deforestation and oil spillage references are deployed sparingly; “Hands All Over” is more about Chris Cornell’s disappointment in the human condition than his disappointment in Shell or BP. Nonetheless, early Soundgarden’s raw droning fury, combined with Cornell’s falsetto theatrics, make the perfect soundstage for the matricide of Mother Nature.
Your Favourite Horny Song Cop out? Absolutely. Thematically relevant? Barely! But I’m running with it, because horniness is universal and a renewable heat source. My go-to this time of year is D’Angelo’s cover of ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’, for its simmering and soulful sexual tension, its a quiet storm of passion. As an alternative consolation prize - and a testament to my undying love for cheesy stuff - Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ has been making the rounds in my Spotify playlist. On the strength of its pre-chorus alone, it’s easy to see how the British heart-throbs took America by storm. Take that feeling and take the love of your life by storm too!
It’s not just important to examine genres musically, but aesthetically too! A band like Pinegrove lives in the present, sees orange skies and imbues green hues; a band like Soundgarden lives in days of future past, and trades in black. Hopefully we don’t have to see the day when we finally discover which colour reflects through that prism.