Combing the Earth for Environmental Songs|
Compiled by Alex Cosper
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Notice there aren't too many songs on the charts about saving the environment. Even back in the sixties when rock had much more socially conscious lyrics, it was rare to find music that warned about environmental destruction or proposed solutions to the problem. Creating a playlist of all songs about nature is an easier task, since there have been plenty of songs about beaches, birds and forests.
The fact that there aren't many well known anthems for the environmental movement makes the goal of cleaner, greener world more difficult since it's a fact that music has the power to move society in certain directions. The civil rights and war protest movements of the sixties were fueled by anthems. But as the music industry grew more corporate, message music disappeared from the pop landscape.
One of the more well known songs that remind us about the environment includes "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles. The Beach Boys helped connect music with the ocean but one of their lesser known songs had a pollution warning theme called "Don't Go Near the Water." John Denver developed an environmental-friendly image in the seventies with songs such as "Rocky Mountain High" and "Calypso." In the early 90s Julian Lennon had a worldwide hit that didn't get much airplay in America called "Salt Water," which dealt with climate change. Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" was one of the few big hits of last century to address the issue directly.
One thing that could speed up society's direction in going green is a unifying anthem that raises awareness about the earth. There are actually plenty of songs with this theme but they are usually too unknown, too melodically uncreative or too lyrically awkward to be considered anthems. If more people were exposed to more meaningful songs about protecting the earth, the environment might become a more conscious issue.
Environmental music can take many forms. It can be relaxing meditation music mixed with nature sounds. It can be fun sing-along music that's easy for families and school classes to learn. It can be daring rock music with interesting production. It can even be dance party music with a memorable chorus for crowds to echo. The flute, one of the oldest instruments on the planet, is perfect for creating earthy soundtracks.
I've been trying to make a list of great environmental indie music for years, but it's been a difficult search. Part of the problem is that many songwriters think what they hear on the radio is what they should be writing about. The radio, of course, is driven by advertisers that are trying to reach a mass audience as a result of mass production that exists to make profits off mass consumption.
Here are some of the more compelling eco-friendly recordings I've found on YouTube: