This week, KEXP is featuring songs written in response to the climate crisis, as selected by DJs John Richards, Cheryl Waters, and Kevin Cole. Tune in this Friday, February 7th as KEXP celebrates International Clash Day; what began as a tribute to The Clash’s music and legacy has evolved into a banner celebration of the issues and message they stood for. The Clash were unapologetically confrontational and champions of the oppressed, always striving for the possibility of a better world. That’s why in 2020 we’re using the holiday to Clash For Climate. More information here.
Don’t worry if all life is gone
The rocks and sea will still roll on
And new wild creatures will be born
As this is far from over
On the somber, yet still lovely sea shanty "This Is Far From Over", Bonnie “Prince” Billy (aka Will Oldham) imagines a future where "all that's left is sea and sun," imploring parents to teach their children how to swim and how to navigate using the stars above. Since we last heard from Oldham with his 2011 album Wolfroy Goes to Town, he has gotten married (to artist Elsa Hansen) and the two had a daughter, Poppy, in 2018. It's easy to imagine Oldham singing this song to her, envisioning a watery apocalypse, thanks to climate change.
The accompanying music video features footage of Captain Olivia O Wyatt, an award-winning filmmaker, TV producer, writer, and USCG certified captain. Wyatt recently completed a 23-day-long solo transpacific journey from San Diego to Hawaii on her 34 ft. boat, Juniper. In an interview on Wyatt's blog Wilderness of Waves, she asked Oldham about the genesis of this song:
The specific inspiration for the song came from my friend Sam Calagione, who is head honcho at the Dogfish Head brewery. He and I communicated about a film he was going to be working on that traced some of the impact climate change appears to be having on individuals, communities, businesses and environments up and down the eastern US coast. He wanted me to come up with some sea shanties, but the first thing that came to mind was this: a feel-good anthem about the natural apocalypse.
He added that the song was a message for Poppy and her generation, stating "whatever ills they have, we can say with confidence that Mitch McConnell will be dead by the time Poppy is doing her big stuff. Small victories." He hopes the song will encourage listeners, "that there are other feelings available to us about the future than fear, anger and resentment."
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