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10 Awesome Earth Day Songs

April 22, 2011

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In the event of beautiful Earth Day being upon us, I’ve  come to realize that some of my favorite songs are reflections of nature’s both beautiful and often savage features.

As a tribute to the Earth and the emotions it can evoke at times, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite songs about nature in celebration of Earth Day, which are below.

.1.)

“Mother Nature’s Son” by the Beatles– Forever a favorite, the combined prowess of John, Paul, George and Ringo make this song an Earth celebration in its serene instrumentation and it remains a standout as one of The Beatles’ more mellow and beautiful songs. It was featured on the legendary “White album” in 1968 and was crafted as an ode to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while The Beatles were in India, according to Wikipedia. It includes gorgeous lyrics such as, “Sit beside a mountain stream–see her waters rise, listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies.”

2.)

“Earth Died Screaming” by Tom Waits– Tom Waits is an acquired taste and not usually my cup of tea for recreational purposes, but he’s definitely a genius in his unique way of making music. This song was featured on the album “Beautiful Mallaidies: The Island Years”  and shows the Earth’s darker side of “kill or be killed.” This is shown in his unique lyrics, “With crows as big as airplanes, the lion has three heads- and someone will eat the skin that he sheds. And the Earth died screaming while I lay dreaming of you.” Haunting but magnificent.

3.)

“Cloudy” by Simon and Garfunkel– This song showcases the wonderful combination of Simon and Garfunkel’s effortlessly gentle music and Paul Simon’s amazing lyricism which give the song a much deeper philosophical meaning,  while also being smile inducing on even the murkiest of days. The standout lyrics of the song are: “These clouds stick to the sky like floating questions, why? And they linger there to die. They don’t know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.” Listen to the song and your mood will be lifted again! (Apologies for the depressive note there.)
4.) 

“Sprawl II: Mountains beyond Mountains” by Arcade Fire– Featured on Arcade Fire’s 2011 Grammy-winning record “The Suburbs”, this song is pretty inspiring in escaping the confines of city life and live life to the fullest. It’s one of their more electronic experimentations in their music, which is super dance-inspiring in any given situation and really just a great blend of music to blast on the prettiest of Earth days.

5.)  “New Pollution” by Beck– Featured on Beck’s album “Odelay” in the mid-90’s, “New Pollution” talks about a girl who embodies consumerist culture which often contributes to much of the Earth’s pollution. It’s a really catchy and jammable song, as most of Beck’s tunes are, but has a great meaning (see below.)

6.)

“(Nothing but) flowers” by Talking Heads– This song is awesome as is most of the Talking Heads’ work. It features rocking instrumentation and the unique voice of David Byrne with a meaning of returning civilization back to nature. Standout lyrics include,  “There was a shopping mall, now it’s all covered with flowers- you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”

7.) 

“Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes- This song is really great for driving in the countryside and seeing a peak of mountains in the distance- which I guess I can sort of not really compare to the hills of central Texas. It’s very peaceful and aesthetically reflective of the Earth’s beauty, making it that it’s kind of easy to forget that you’re not on a camping trip in Tennessee while you’re listening to it.


8.)

“Plateau” by Meat Puppets- The Meat Puppets have a lot of earth-inspired jam songs as a country rock band, yet this particular song is haunting and beautiful in its underlying meaning. Notoriously covered by Nirvana on their “MTV Unplugged” album, the song reflects upon the giant microcosm of the planet and the great unknown in the purpose of life. Standout lyrics include, “Others decided that it was no where except for where they stood, but those were all just guesses- wouldn’t help you if it could.”

9.)

“I don’t believe in the sun” by Magnetic Fields– This song talks about the solar systems’ discouraging elements in a metaphor for the deflated feeling of being in love. While not particularly being about the Earth per se, it shows how the emotions we have can distort our natural surroundings such as our feelings toward sunlight. Standout lyrics include, “How can it shine down on everyone and never shine on me? How can there be such cruelty?”

10.)

“Blue skies” by Allman Brothers Band- This song is aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully upbeat while showing the musical mastery unique to the Allman Brothers Band. It’s reflective of the pure happiness on a lovely sunny day and holds all of the hippie 70’s charm that makes it a great ending for this list.

So that’s my list. Happy Earth Day everyone!

What are your favorite nature/Earth songs?

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