Ramblin’ Man: Don’t Gamble with Climate

October 16, 2014

Denier-ville chewing carpets over this one.

Detroit Free Press:

Bob Seger, the Midwestern meat-and-potatoes rock ‘n’ roller, is going worldly.

“Ride Out,” his first album in eight years, features familiar Seger themes of hope, honesty and moving forward, and finds him taking stock of a music career that has now hit the half-century mark.

But it’s also his most explicitly political work in years, tackling debt, gun violence and what the Detroit singer-songwriter calls “the No. 1 issue,” climate change.

Seger has certainly gotten political before, with topical antiestablishment themes on early songs like “2+2=?” and “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class).” But the new material may be his most outspoken yet.

Environmental matters dominate several new songs, most notably “It’s Your World” (“Say a prayer for the victims of extinction,” he sings. “Say another for the redwood trees”). It’s an ominous-toned take on climate change that Seger knows could prove divisive among fans. Here, after all, is one of the Industrial Belt’s most prominent musicians going green. He says his management team “is petrified of it.”

“People are going to be mad at me. There may be a lot of people that won’t come to the shows because of it,” he says. “But I just feel it’s something I’ve got to say.”

He presses the point, brandishing a news article about the United Nations’ latest climate-change report.

“There are a lot of culprits in climate change, and everybody’s responsible, myself included,” he says, voice rising. “Nobody gets a free pass on this one. We’ve got to change our ways and change them fast.”

Music clip from new album below:


I realized this makes an interesting contrast to Neil Young’s new song, “Who’s Gonna Stand up and Save the Earth”

But frankly, I prefer the older stuff. Songs that are explicitly made to “send a message”, no matter how well intentioned, usually come off as didactic and tedious.
“After the Goldrush” seems to me to have something of an environmental message, but goes down a whole lot easier.

We got mother nature on the run, in the nineteen seventies
Look at mother nature on the run, in the nineteen seventies

Quick, what year is it now?


2 Responses to “Ramblin’ Man: Don’t Gamble with Climate”

  1. Pete – i really agree with you about poetry needing to be indirect in order to get a really engaged listening. People won’t listen closely to a lecture. But fables, ballads, beautiful lines that raise the mind and imagination are what works. Subtlety! Evocation! I am a little surprise to see these accomplished artists going in for messaging that’s so “on the nose” (as we said in creative writing school).

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