Transition Radio vol. 7: Music is a Mirror

So, as a music addict all my life – my life is music and music is life  ;)  (Felix da Housecat) – it is time to join the club! Below a selection of songs that make me think in one way or another about things related to this weird era we are living in. An era where we gained the knowledge about our planetary boundaries, our persistent lock-ins in management of unsustainability, and the failing systems around us.

Queens of the Stone Age – If I had a tail

Makes me think of how we got to the place where it is all about systems (e.g. care, economy,…), not people.

If everything we do needs to comply with the system, if it’s all about efficiency, did we then turn ourselves into obsolete machines?

“I’m machine

I’m obsolete

In the land of the free


Stromae – Alors on dance

Quote from the artist pins it down nicely: “Music is like a medicine. I prefer to talk about my problems because my problems are a little bit exaggerated. Actually they’re our problems, our human problems, and I prefer to show instead of hide it. Everybody thinks that the only way to forget your problems is having fun, and I don’t think that’s the only way to have fun. You can have fun talking about your problems. Yeah, dance about your problems.” © Time Out, New York 2014

“Who says study, says work

Who says work, says money

Who says money, says expenses

Who says credit, says debt

Who says debt, says bailiff

Yes, also says being in shit”

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Television, the drug of the nation

These lyrics rather speak for themselves, although I wonder how many people are aware of these side effects… Also makes me think of the role of the media, how they frame topics, seek controversy and how people in the media are in need of self-reflection of the role they play: are you part of the problem or the solution?

“T. V. Is the place where phrases are redefined

Like ‘recession’ to ‘necessary downturn’

‘crude oil’ on a beach to ‘mousse’

‘Civilian death’ to ‘collateral damages’

And being killed by your own Army

Is now called ‘friendly fire’

T. V. Is the place where the pursuit

Of happiness has become the pursuit of trivia

Where toothpaste and cars have become sex objects

Where imagination is sucked out of children

By a cathode ray nipple

T. V. Is the only wet nurse

That would create a cripple

Television, the drug of the Nation

Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation”

Tame Impala – Cause I’m a man

This is one of my favourite songs of 2015!

Makes me think of how we got to be in a culture where male values still govern the world: where it is still mainly about competition, not cooperation; data not empathy; personal status instead of collective good.

We urgently need more women in powerful positions, but we need to create a selection environment that allows the uptake of more feminine values instead of female ‘fit and conform’ strategies. And for that to happen we need more brave men that are bold enough not to let their feminine side to be overruled ;)

“Cause I’m a man, woman

Don’t always think before I do

Cause I’m a man, woman

That’s the only answer I’ve got for you

Cause I’m a man, woman

Not often proud of what I choose

I’m a human, woman

A greater force I answer to

Once again, as it takes a hold

I am aware I’m not in control

You see, I have a conscience and it’s never fooled

But it’s prone to be overruled

You wanna know what I always think I’m bind by

You never accept defeat or let it slide

But I have no voice if I don’t speak my mind

My weakness is the source of all my pride, I’ll tell you why”

MGMT – Kids

While the papers are full of the small Syrian boy that drowned in pursuit of a life without war, I can’t seem to shake this song out of my my head.

Isn’t life about making the world a better place? Can you be happy in a failing world?

Trees make oxygen, bees pollinate, birds sing, flowers paint colour,… What do we humans do to make our home a better place?

You were a child

Crawling on your knees toward it

Making momma so proud,

But your voice was too loud

We like to watch you laughing,

You pick the insects of plants

No time to think of consequences

Control yourself

Take only what you need from it

A family of trees wanted

To be haunted

Netsky – We can only live today

Makes me think of the short-termism that still rules the world. And – at the same time – also the fact that today is the day that we need to implement solutions, not tomorrow… Also links up to the theme of our ARTS project: cities in transition. How come we have allowed our lives to be one big highway? How come cities are designed to fit cars not people (aren’t they just means that get us from A to B)? Great song to dance to though!

“Water runs in one direction

Colors change in the light of day

Our lives’ are one big high way

And we can only live today”

Hot Natured – Benediction

Here‘s another one with an irresistible groove! Even though I love urban life in many respects, the concrete gets to me… It is nature where my love has found its home. Time to bring nature back into our cities.

I feel like my love has found a home

In this place I know that I belong

I feel like my love has found a home

Benediction in my mind benediction in my heart and soul”

Daft Punk – Lucky

Let’s finish on a more positive note!

We come too far to give up who we are, so let’s raise the bar and our coups to the stars!”.

Need I say more? Did you know Pharrell is collaborating with Al Gore to promote more awareness about climate change? We need more mash-ups like this one! More Pharrell Williamses that cross-pollinate with transitioneurs! Also, great floor filler ;)

Like the legend of the Phoenix

All ends with beginning

What keeps the planet spinning

The force from the beginning.

We’ve come too far

To give up who we are

So let’s raise the bar

And our coups to the stars

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This article was written by

Hello there, I am Leen, one of the transition researchers involved in transition region Genk. Passionate about transformative change for sustainability and also a permaculturer.

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