I’m an old fart by now, but I’m intrigued by how young people interpret the insanity they’re forced to dwell in. And music has of course always been the main way through which we express that. And what I ran into today is just an amazing artistic interpretation of the predicament, by NotLewy and Harlow Road. All of this is basically produced by people who grew up listening to the emo rap style pioneered by Lil Peep.
I will quote the (most) relevant lyrics here:
left turn leave the earth say goodbye to what i luv
and I will not accept a life i don’t deserve
we’ll come before this morning
grab my bag and my axe
i’ll drown myself in honey so it covers my tracks
i’ll chop every tree i plant it down to the ground
the seeds replant themselves thus don’t make a sound
i used to miss the way the trees sang when i was young
but now i’m happy there is a new song to be sung
fall back into the habit
fuck everyday’s the same again
wake up in the morning and i see the rain again again
i’m done with the rain
i’m done with the snow
so when the leaves are green that’s my cue to leave i’ll miss you though
i’m not going with them
i’m not paying their toll
i forgot what they told me
cause it’s not in my control.
This hits hard. Now for some context, the artist Harlow Road, grew up in around the woods of rural Massachussetts. And when he released this song, Massachusetts had just suffered through a massive drought that triggered widespread forest fires. So what he’s basically singing is that he does not want to have to live through this again, he wants to “leave” before the leaves are green and the drought and fires reveal themselves again. He knows how the place used to be and he knows how it is today.
I have to point out that more than ever, it’s “cringe” among young people to really care about anything. You’re not supposed to really care passionately about anything. This has always been kind of the case, but Zoomers really dissociate, because they realize the hand they were dealt and they’re just not willing to let this be their lives.
And so in the context of the climate crisis we see the artists convey this message too: “I don’t want to know (because it’s not in my control), but I’m not going to live through what you have set up for me.”
And if you think I’m just misinterpreting some stuff, I have to point out that these guys songs are generally nature related, but as Zoomera, they don’t want to constantly explicitly point out the elephant in the room. They know that you as a listener know it’s there. There’s a track Harlow Road made called “invasive species”.
But more importantly, check out the lyrics of another song by NotLewy, who is from Humboldt county California:
The sky is falling down outside and everything is on fire tonight
and I just want to sit here and watch it burn with you (with you)
I just want to sit and watch it burn I dissolate(?) the time as I wait my turn
to face my fate I’m gonna leave this Earth and I can’t imagine hell will be much worse
Again it’s essentially the same message.
These are not people who feel as if they have the power to change the world. And they don’t accept having that burden cast upon them. But they see what’s going on.
Whether you like these songs or not will depend on your taste.
But I thought it was worth pointing out, because this sort of stuff will generally just completely slip past you if you are older, especially if you don’t have children.
Underground artists like this don’t show up on TV, but they voice a sentiment that is widespread among young people today.
And I’m not just cherrypicking. Because if I was cherrypicking, I would show you what I want to find, which is “I’m angry as hell and I’m not going to put up with this”. But that’s not really what I run into. What I run into is: “I didn’t ask for any of this, I have no control over it and I’m not going to pay your toll.”
And I think that’s worth making note of.