The musicto social network talks about tomorrow
With the holidays behind us, we’ve decided to look forward to today, tomorrow, and beyond on our February community playlist: 6 Songs for the Future.
6 Songs for the future from our global musicto community
65daysofstatic – Heat Death Infinity Splitter
The future is chaos. I think that’s actually its defining characteristic: “The increase of disorder or entropy,” Stephen Hawking said in A Brief History of Time, “is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.” We try to fight against it—we sort the mail, build sand castles, tidy up our rooms, compose music—living our lives as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the world. Still, the arrow of time points inexorably toward a heat death infinity splitter, a point where even atoms come apart and the universe itself unfolds into nothingness. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but the realization of this ultimate impermanence is an invitation for us to let go of fear and enjoy life, the universe, and everything; it’s all merely flux.
Jon Hopkins – Singularity
My selected song is “Singularity,” by Jon Hopkins. This track takes me to the typical moon/out-of-earth movie where the action takes place on a moon/planet where a rover is moving around creating dust after its path, where it is very cold, very lonesome, and where there are no living creatures around and where the sky is just dark with a universe of stars.
The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
I’m 10 years old, terrified and unable to sleep. The dormitory I’m in dates back to the 13th century and I can almost feel the ghosts of previous residents. Between me and the thousand-year-old cathedral next door lies the monks’ cemetery — one particular grave is covered in a green slab that, if legends are to be believed, should you walk around it 12 times counterclockwise in time with the bells of midnight, the devil will appear!
So yeah, I’m kinda shitting myself. But I have salvation. I have a radio.
I had to balance the volume on the radio so that it wasn’t too loud to wake others up but also not too quiet that I had to smash my ear into the pillow just to hear it (and yes, this was before earbuds were ubiquitous!). One of the tracks that left an indelible impression on me was this one-hit-wonder from The Buggles. I remember having such mixed feelings about it. First off, I loved the track: the melody, the composition, the piped vocals and the beautiful break down and build up of the hook at the end. But lyrically, it was just weird, because while the message is clear enough (and check out the lyric today, if you want to capture the AI zeitgeist!), I couldn’t help but feel bad for the poor protagonist. Here I was, having my soul saved by a faceless voice coming through the radio, and yet the very song itself told of its impending demise.
It was my first introduction to how the future, while fascinating and brilliant and full of hope, could also destroy. And while I’m as much as a forward-looking optimist as the next person, I’ll always be grateful for the artists and institutions that served their purpose in their time. Even if they didn’t make it.
David Bowie – Five Years
You can’t help but think of the future when listening to “Five Years” by David Bowie, and I’ve always thought that it manages to capture a deep sense of anxiety but in such a beautiful way. I also think it fits (sadly) rather well for the present time in its acknowledgment of the potential dangers we all face, which can counterintuitively make it quite a cathartic song to listen to.
Oasis – Live Forever
The verses of this song were so relatable, the melody and strength of that guitar, plus the impact of the chorus specifically, makes me feel eager to know what the future would possibly bring. We’ve all had our no-good years and those types just make you feel like things won’t get better, but when I give this song a listen, it’s like it just shoots up this feeling in me like, “No, you know what, I gotta see what the future has in store.” The verse that stood out for me:
Maybe I just wanna fly
Wanna live, I don’t wanna die
Maybe I just wanna breathe
Maybe I just don’t believe
Maybe you’re the same as me
We see things they’ll never see
You and I are gonna live forever
Richie Havens – Here Comes the Sun
When I think of the coming year, and the one after, and the one after that, I’m excited about life, the things I hope to accomplish, the adventures that await, and new friends to meet. I live on an optimistic plane with a positive outlook for my own near future, even if I am acutely aware that my life in this world will inevitably end.
Nevertheless, my outlook for the future as a writer who loves to build worlds, imagine and re-imagine earth in the past, present, and future is far bleaker.
Our collaborative musicto community playlist “Songs for the future” prompt was posted in early January, just after the New Year, and just as I finished writing a 1000-word snapshot into the life of a found family of the apocalypse, on the edge of their world, enjoying a morning they designate Christmas, before the eldest of them dies.
I didn’t write a song into this vignette, but our community’s song for the future prompt made me think that I should have. What song, though, and where would it come from in a world absent of music? Only my oldest character, Arturo, is the only one that lived long enough before the apocalypse to have memorized any lyrics.
“Here Comes the Sun” came instantly to mind. Yet, feeling The Beatles song a bit too orchestrated, I landed on the earthier cover by Richie Havens, which is perfect for an apocalypse, and perfectly hopeful for today and days to come.