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Lyrics Writing Challenge #7 - Protest Song

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john    1,418

Hi Gang

This week we have an important challenge, because it should be about something important to you:

 

  • Write a protest song. You pick an issue that you think worthwhile highlighting. This was a very common type of song in the late 60s and 70s, but it is seeing a degree of revival just now... if not necessarily in the pop market.
  • Consider using a metaphor as a main mechanism through the song. If you prefer not to, that is ok.

 

Please note, if a member posts a political or religious song, don't critique their opinion. Critique the song, and how well they represent their opinion.

 

Have fun!

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Timbre    151

Had the strangest experience with this challenge--I jumped in the car to run an errand and popped in some music and the first song to come up was an a cappella version of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush on a CD of my college singing group from a looong time ago. So that reinforced my idea to write about the environment, which has been weighing on my mind more than usual due to recent events. Then, I could not shake the cadence and insistence in the sound of Billy Bragg's Power in the Union as I was writing--and I've only heard portions of that song after watching the movie Pride. Had to play it again after I was done drafting. That song is the truth--as they say. I didn't question the inspiration, I just went with it. Here's my first take.

 

Fever

Copyright 2017 by L. C. Campbell

 

V1

Mother says tend to her rivers and streams

Littered with signs of her deep misery

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah, her fever will break in the morning

 

V2

Mother says tend to her oceans and seas

As her temperature rises and land disappears

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah, her fever will break in the morning

 

V3

Mother says tend to her soil and seed

She’s too ill to work but her children must eat

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

V4

Mother says tend to the air that she breathes

The forests are burning, her lungs are the trees

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

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How interesting I found this post today. I've been working on revisions to one that I wrote from an object writing session. It's called Fallout, and this is today's version:

 

Fallout


v.1
Fallout shelter underground.
Survival gear scattered around.
Drums of grains. Mildew stains.
Cold War relics still remain.

v.2
Rural folks lived to tell
of childhood days they knew too well.
War fears stoked. Paranoia stroked.
Armageddon had been provoked.

v.3
Another generation's passed.
Fallout shelters holding fast.
War fears stoked. Paranoia stroked.
Armageddon's still blowing smoke.

c.1
The fallout is here
We see it clearly
Profiteers and financiers

(hell bent on)
choking off our atmosphere.
Armageddon's marching near.

v.4
Fallout shelter underground,
survival gear hand-me-downs, 
Militia crackbrains. Bulging veins.
Armageddon's drum still sounds.

c.2
The fallout is here.
Our consequence appeared,
a dying global biosphere.
We look to space, the new frontier.
Armageddon perseveres.

 

© 2017 JKNebel

 

 

 

Edited by Chicken picker
edit to c.1
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6 hours ago, Timbre said:

Had the strangest experience with this challenge--I jumped in the car to run an errand and popped in some music and the first song to come up was an a cappella version of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush on a CD of my college singing group from a looong time ago. So that reinforced my idea to write about the environment, which has been weighing on my mind more than usual due to recent events. Then, I could not shake the cadence and insistence in the sound of Billy Bragg's Power in the Union as I was writing--and I've only heard portions of that song after watching the movie Pride. Had to play it again after I was done drafting. That song is the truth--as they say. I didn't question the inspiration, I just went with it. Here's my first take.

 

Fever

Copyright 2017 by L. C. Campbell

 

V1

Mother says tend to her rivers and streams

Littered with signs of her deep misery

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah, her fever will break in the morning

 

V2

Mother says tend to her oceans and seas

As her temperature rises and land disappears

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah, her fever will break in the morning

 

V3

Mother says tend to her soil and seed

She’s too ill to work but her children must eat

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

V4

Mother says tend to the air that she breathes

The forests are burning, her lungs are the trees

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

 

 

Beautiful imagery. I love how you personify the earth by describing climate change as a fever and her lungs as the trees. Brilliant. 

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Timbre    151

Welcome to the site! Thanks for the nice comments. I heard a great talk a while ago that the oceans are the earth's circulatory system and the rain forests of Brazil act as lungs because they determine the CO2-oxygen exchange for the planet, just like our own lungs do. It was fascinating and it stuck with me. ~T

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I think I remember something about that from college, but it was long forgotten. Still, it's true and it makes a wonderful visual in your lyrics.

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Timbre    151
On 6/7/2017 at 8:24 PM, Chicken picker said:

Fallout


v.1
Fallout shelter underground.
Survival gear scattered around.
Drums of grains. Mildew stains.
Cold War relics still remain.

v.2
Rural folks lived to tell
of childhood days they knew too well.
War fears stoked. Paranoia stroked.
Armageddon had been provoked.

v.3
Another generation's passed.
Fallout shelters holding fast.
War fears stoked. Paranoia stroked.
Armageddon's still blowing smoke.

c.1
The fallout is here
We see it clearly
Profiteers and financiers

(hell bent on)
choking off our atmosphere.
Armageddon's marching near.

v.4
Fallout shelter underground,
survival gear hand-me-downs, 
Militia crackbrains. Bulging veins.
Armageddon's drum still sounds.

c.2
The fallout is here.
Our consequence appeared,
a dying global biosphere.
We look to space, the new frontier.
Armageddon perseveres.

I like the cautionary tale these lyrics tell about living under the threat of nuclear Armageddon while creating another form of annihilation that is less dramatic but no less devastating.

 

I was also curious about aspects of the overall structure and the rhyme structure. The overall structure is VVVCVC. I wondered about your decision to present 3 verses before going into the chorus. It felt a bit lopsided but perhaps there is an intention behind that. In terms of the rhyme scheme, there were 3 schemes across the 4 verses--V 2 and 3 had same scheme, but V1 was completely different from those verses and also different from V4. Because the verse rhyme scheme across the verses the distinction between V and Ch wasn't as pronounced. I also wondered about the use of the Armageddon lines. I thought they were all interesting, but if you use them as the last line for the verses (all but V1) and the chorus, it further blurs the distinction between verse and chorus.

 

A final observation is about protest song structure. I'm no expert on this, so for this challenge I studied traditional protest songs like "if I had a hammer", "We shall overcome", "Bread and Roses", "Power in a Union" that are in the AAA form with no chorus, just verses that use repetition either in the beginning of the verse and a refrain at the end. But there also more modern VCVC forms of protests such as "Conviction of the Heart" by Kenny Loggins that uses a refrain-style chorus but it's not necessarily a song to march to. Curious if you had a protest song structure in mind? ~T

 

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On 6/14/2017 at 10:29 PM, Timbre said:

I like the cautionary tale these lyrics tell about living under the threat of nuclear Armageddon while creating another form of annihilation that is less dramatic but no less devastating.

 

I was also curious about aspects of the overall structure and the rhyme structure. The overall structure is VVVCVC. I wondered about your decision to present 3 verses before going into the chorus. It felt a bit lopsided but perhaps there is an intention behind that. In terms of the rhyme scheme, there were 3 schemes across the 4 verses--V 2 and 3 had same scheme, but V1 was completely different from those verses and also different from V4. Because the verse rhyme scheme across the verses the distinction between V and Ch wasn't as pronounced. I also wondered about the use of the Armageddon lines. I thought they were all interesting, but if you use them as the last line for the verses (all but V1) and the chorus, it further blurs the distinction between verse and chorus.

 

A final observation is about protest song structure. I'm no expert on this, so for this challenge I studied traditional protest songs like "if I had a hammer", "We shall overcome", "Bread and Roses", "Power in a Union" that are in the AAA form with no chorus, just verses that use repetition either in the beginning of the verse and a refrain at the end. But there also more modern VCVC forms of protests such as "Conviction of the Heart" by Kenny Loggins that uses a refrain-style chorus but it's not necessarily a song to march to. Curious if you had a protest song structure in mind? ~T

 

 

Thank you for reading through my lyrics and taking the time for such an in-depth reply. As you can see, I'm not very experienced at either poetry or songwriting. There was no structure in mind for either the song itself or for the rhyme scheme. I just did my best to tell the story using imagery, rhythm, and rhyme, and this is the direction it took. I'm not sure if I can put it to music. That' the next challenge, which will likely result in another dozen or so rewrites. I appreciate your feedback and will likely polish up the structure and rhyme scheme when putting it to music next.

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Ray888    159

This is a song that I co-wrote with John Night and Ulf Andersson.

 

Environmental song about how man is disrespecting the planet. It is in the style of U2.

 

Very rough Mp3 mix included at bottom of page.

 

"What do we do now" Lyric by: Raymond Fry & John Knight – Music & Vocal by: Ulf Andersson

 

When the oils all gone

And the sky rains tears

The coals been burned

And the fish have disappeared

What do we do now

On the road ahead

If there's nothing left here

When the worlds been bled 

 

Who is gonna save us

Cause it better be soon

We better pray that we

Are Gods signature tune

 

When the ice caps melt

And the air is drained

The seas polluted

And the soils been washed away

What do we do now

In this reign of greed

If there's nothing left here

But our children's needs

 

Who is gonna save us

Cause it better be soon

We better pray that we

Are Gods signature tune                                                      

 

Is it gonna be too late, too late, too late

Is it gonna be too late, too late, too late

Is it gonna be too late, too late, for us....................................

 

When the foods run out

and the hunger kills

When our bank accounts

are all filled with worthless bills

What do we do now

When all hope is gone

If there's nothing left here

For the weak or strong

 

Who is gonna save us

Cause it better be soon

We better pray that we

Are Gods signature tune       

 

Is it gonna be too late, too late, too late

Is it gonna be too late, too late,

Is it gonna be too late, too late, for us....................................

 

© Copyright worldwide all rights reserved

 

What do we do now.mp3

Edited by Ray888

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Ray888    159
On 2017-6-7 at 10:36 PM, Timbre said:

Had the strangest experience with this challenge--I jumped in the car to run an errand and popped in some music and the first song to come up was an a cappella version of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush on a CD of my college singing group from a looong time ago. So that reinforced my idea to write about the environment, which has been weighing on my mind more than usual due to recent events. Then, I could not shake the cadence and insistence in the sound of Billy Bragg's Power in the Union as I was writing--and I've only heard portions of that song after watching the movie Pride. Had to play it again after I was done drafting. That song is the truth--as they say. I didn't question the inspiration, I just went with it. Here's my first take.

 

Fever

Copyright 2017 by L. C. Campbell

 

V1

Mother says tend to her rivers and streams

Littered with signs of her deep misery

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah, her fever will break in the morning

 

V2

Mother says tend to her oceans and seas

As her temperature rises and land disappears

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah, her fever will break in the morning

 

V3

Mother says tend to her soil and seed

She’s too ill to work but her children must eat

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

V4

Mother says tend to the air that she breathes

The forests are burning, her lungs are the trees

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

Her fever will break when we all come awake

Yeah her fever will break in the morning

 

I like the way you have presented earth as the mother who's children are not looking after her.

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V1

outside in the cold on A Friday  night 
looking  up to  a velvet sky
everybuddys out counting the stars  
i see stars on the ground COUNTING stars in the sky
the time is 11:59
the dates december 31st  1999
10 SECONDS LEFT untill we pass our time into the future

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 

 

V2

welcome to the 20th century

where technology will grow and become a must necessity

we'll all separate and reconnect

smartphones and faster internet

now were stuck together in the world wide web

well i guess that's the way it was supposed to be

it 2000 and 17

and i wonder still  what the future is yet to be

 

C.1

smart phones dumb people

what is the future what is the sequel

more work more work

less fun less fun

more work less fun

 

V3

 

I hope we still find time for each other
spend time with our loved ones

put down the distractions

go out and take action 

stop taking my time

id rather be in nature than inside

time to start taking whats mine

time to start taking whats mine

 

C.2

less work more fun

more fun less work

we the people are the future another sequel

so more fun more fun

more fun more fun 

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