Well, either you’ve heard this during the opening credits of “Tokyo Drift,” or you’re old enough to have been a teenager when DJ Shadow used the vocals for his hit song “Six Days.” The version I first listened to was a Mos Def edit, but after a bit of research I found the original song, by this English band formed in the 1960s. Among the other covers and edits that I know of are ones by Mahmut Orhan and Deniz Tekin. (I should add that I’m not a fan of the former, but the latter made me more positive toward its singer, whose music had never attracted me before.) Around forty years have passed since the original lyrics were first sung, and notwithstanding the amount of time between now and the wars they were referring to, they have not lost even a bit of their essence, their soul. Because of the system, and the way things work on Earth today, a sane and sufficiently informed individual can easily be hurt by this song. It’s meant to hurt us; the song speaks to almost all humankind. It warns and scolds us over our mistakes, our conflicts. In few words, it manages to make us feel so many things at the same time: shame, guilt, hopelessness, hope, horror and the urge to act…. The song tells the tale of the war that ends it all, in the six days from Monday to Saturday. The blistering potential of this starting to happen one day makes you feel sick – because you can’t unsee the reality that hits you after hearing these lines: “Ain’t it funny how men think/They made the bomb, they are extinct/It’s only Saturday/I think tomorrow’s come I think it’s too late/Make tomorrows come I think it’s too late.”
Nas & Damian Marley – Patience
Above, it was a fiction or the possibilities that scared us. It was reflections and educated guesses from a nation living in an era of conflict. What this song speaks of has been happening already. It’s a poem, gracious in words and not kind in meaning, as the situation has gone way past the point of niceness, and humanity is struggling to resurface again. Seven years have passed since this song came out and shouted in our faces, “Plant a flag on the moon, and can’t find food for the starving tummies”; and today around 10 percent of the world’s population is still undernourished. “The average man can’t prove of most of the things that he chooses to speak of/And still won’t research and find out the root of the truth that you seek of.” We have literally everything in terms of access to information. But not enough of us use it, not enough of us are as open to change as we think. “And the rich get stitched up, when we get cut/Man a heal dem broken bones in the bush with the wet mud.” In fact, the rich do get better treatment. In most countries, the pharmaceutical industry is a lucrative business rather than a source of cure for everyone. (If you end up at the state hospital closest to Bilkent, take a look around and you’ll see.) “Anything along the land we consumin’, eatin’, deletin’, ruin/Tryin’ to get paper, gotta have land, gotta have acres.” We may have seen the image of the human as this giant destroyer, eating trees and pooping buildings – and we can’t say that it’s not an accurate portrayal. At first everything was abundant, and the people who thought we should respect nature and renew what we take from it weren’t listened to. Now we can’t even imagine being without a water shortage ten years from now. You may ask about the optimism in this one; only a hint of it comes at the end, and that depends on your interpretation. “Why we born in the first place/If this is how we gotta go?” Well, we don’t have to leave Earth like this. A late awakening is still an awakening. Humanity has done good, too, but we still have work to do to compensate for the bad. For an “impossible at the moment but fun to watch” alternative lifestyle, see the movie “Downsizing” (2017).
I keep writing about how music should feel, and how the tune is the protagonist in this love story. But sometimes, it’s lyrics that lure my brain instead; these are some of the ones that have. I’d appreciate it if you’d share some lyrics that have touched you.