Doomsday songs pick-me-up

In the news here on Dutch TV this morning: the party of far right leader Geert Wilders (the PVV – ‘Partij Voor de Vrijheid’ which means ‘Freedom Party’ but there’s nothing free about it, in my view) leads the polls. He’s been leading for a few months now and his lead seems to be lessening but still he is leading! We have a multi-party democracy here in The Netherlands where several parties have to form a coalition in order to have a majority to govern. Thank goodness the center right party VVD (which is the largest party now and comes in 2nd in the polls, also one of the current governing parties) has already said there is a 0% chance they will form a coalition with the far right PVV whose main agenda is islamophobia. Even so, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that such a man as Wilders could end up getting the most votes here in our upcoming election in March! Same trend as in the UK with Brexit and in the US with Trump and it is all truly freaking me out! And this coming Friday super-narcissist Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the next US president despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

danger

This feeling of danger and doom has me playing all sorts of doomsday songs in my head…

For instance, the song ‘Land of Confusion’ from the mid 1980s by Genesis… I very well remember the videoclip at the time with ‘Spitting Image’ puppets, when we thought Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were questionable…

Or this R.E.M. song that I have always loved and feels more relevant to me than ever… don’t know if I feel fine about it, though…

‘The End’ by The Doors is depressing…

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival sounds more upbeat but the lyrics certainly reference doomsday. The lyrics can be taken both literally and figuratively…

David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ springs to mind (here elections are held every 5 years…) about a world going to pieces…

I also think of Chris De Burgh’s song “Spanish Train”, which is this story about the Lord and the Devil playing cards to win people’s souls and the devil keeps on winning… I only like early Chris De Burgh, he had interesting stories to tell before he became too sappy with “The Lady in Red” and the like… (Not at all about doomsday but check out “Patricia the Stripper” for a funny story and clever rhymes).

And there’s Muse, a lot of Muse, that I am thinking of! Like my go-to song from the time I was going through a downsizing crisis at work and this song helped me release my inner frustration… Naturally, I don’t want to literally shoot some leaders down, but figuratively, yes, I can subscribe to that!

“Hard times are ahead […] your time is now to be heard […] your number has been called”, as sung by Muse in ‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’…

“Time is Running Out” springs to mind, even though it is more personal than the other songs I reference here, but the time is running out feeling is relevant to me…

And then there’s the song ‘Panic Station’: “And this chaos it defies imagination […] you’ve arrived at panic station”

I think of the ‘Psycho’ song, from Muse’s last album, about being part of a war machine…

Or the ultimate protest Muse song ‘Uprising’…

The fact that these songs are out there makes me despair a little less and helps me feel a little better. They tell me: “You’re not alone!”, the same words David Bowie uses in his ‘Rock n Roll Suicide’ song, a song I absolutely love. I still get a thrill at the thought that I have seen the actual lyrics written in Bowie’s own handwriting for myself

There is always hope, right?

Music in a deaf world

Last night I saw the French film “La Famille Belier” at the cinema with a friend. It’s about Paula, a farmer’s daughter with deaf parents, who discovers she has a singing talent. Her family depends on her as a go-between in the world of the hearing and they fear losing her to that world when Paula wants to pursue her dreams in Paris.

It’s a comedy but also a drama and this confusion of genres works quite well. This genre confusion sometimes did make the film feel a little uneven, desperately angling for laughs when maybe they weren’t always needed. Regardless of that, it is a beautiful film and the audition at the end of the film – I defy anyone to not break down in tears at that point. Such a very touching moment!

The film made me think of another (German) film from 1996 called “Jenseits der Stille”. It deals with exactly the same topic, only “Jenseits der Stille” is about a girl who is a very talented clarinet player and wants to go to a conservatory in Berlin. I was only able to find a German trailer for that on YouTube:

This film is up there with my favorite films ever, Famille Belier can’t beat that yet, and I have watched it many times over the years. It never fails to touch me to the core and also features some beautiful Klezmer (Jewish) music by Giora Feidmann (who I once saw in concert).

There are many parallels between “Stille” and “Bellier”, so if you enjoy the one, I am sure you would enjoy the other as well. Go check them out even if they only tickle your fancy a little bit! 🙂