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Where Did The Future Go?


This past weekend I found myself returning to the Carbon/Silicon album The Last Post, blasting it through the house for a welcome dose of uplifting reality. For some oddly serendipitous reason, after using iTunes to play the song “Oil Well,” about events since 9/11, I switched to (the band) James’ myspace page on the web, to see if they’d posted any more songs from their long-awaited tenth album, Hey Ma. (As it’s not released in the States, I’m having to exhibit unusual patience in waiting for my import copy to arrive.) They had done: the title track popped up at the top of the player and, as I listened to it for the first time, thoroughly impressed, it quickly became obvious that these lyrics too are about events since 9/11. Maybe it’s just coincidence – especially given that we just passed the five-year anniversary of Baghdad’s “fall.” But the manner in which these songs bumped up against each other made me call up each set of lyrics online and give them a thorough perusal. I figured I may as well start the week out by printing them heree.

I’ve said it many times before at these pages: I believe James’ Tim Booth to be one of the greatest lyricists in the world. In his own, purposefully straightforward and modestly optimistic manner, so is (former Clash/B.A.D. and currently) Carbon/Silicon’s Mick Jones. I’m not saying that the lyrics to “Oil Well” and “Hey Ma” qualify as the greatest ever written, nor that I agree with every word, and as is so often the case, they each benefit from being heard alongside the music. But I’d like to think that including them here might encourage some of you to do just that. “Hey Ma” will play the moment you click this myspage page; you’ll have to go to iTunes or amazon.com or something similar to hear a sample of “Oil Well.” Please consider supporting these artists by purchasing their music. In the meantime, thanks to Mick and Tim alike for continuing to think before they sing.

(Note: the “Hey Ma” lyrics were taken from the James web site and so are accurate. The “Oil Well” lyrics were taken from one of those online lyrics site and had several mistakes; I was able to pick up on a few by listening along but the tenth and eleventh verses still don’t seem right. If Mick’s reading, please send in the corrected lines!)

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OIL WELL by CARBON/SILICON

After 9/11 they had a three point plan
Usama bin Laden, Iraq, and Iran
So they went into Kabul to get the Taliban
In the Tora Bora caves of Afghanistan

Now you can listen to music or go to the show
And the Central Asian pipeline continues to flow
You can stand in the fields where the poppies grow
It simply begs the question, where did the future go?

Over there in Iraq there’s a big oil well
Everyone’s in shock overawed by the smell
With insurgents going live and no one can tell
That the end of the beginning was when Baghdad fell

Saddam was the Emperor of his Republican Guard
They found him in a hole in someone’s backyard
With all this making war with total disregard
Trying to make some peace, it shouldn’t be so hard

They’re getting all het up all around Iran
They don’t think it’s fair about this nuclear plan
It should be the same with London or Tehran
No one should have them, not any man

Let’s take all the money and all of the waste
And shoot the whole lot into outer space
And try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race

And please don’t think I don’t care ’cause I do
But I have to say the things we dare not say that are true
And please don’t put me on a list, when we’re through
Cause I been honest, I been true to you

Let’s drop some luxury goods on to their heads
Give them a DVD player instead
Like in the film when El Cid said:
“We wish you no harm and we bring you bread”

Is this how it’s going to be?
When the only platform is in the North Sea
Like a reverse domino
It simply begs the question, where did the future go?

Follow me down to the depths of Iran
We’ll try to geologically understand
Roll out a barrel, limit the price
Shake your money maker and make things nice

So you know the world’s a messed up place
Got to thank some puts and even band for interface
Unprovoked aggression, just won’t stand
That’s our future in a three point plan

Please don’t think I don’t care ’cause I do
But I have to say the things we dare not say that are true
And please don’t put me on a list when we’re through
Cause I been honest and I been true to you
You, I’ve been true to you

We’ll try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race
We’ll try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race

We’ll try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race
We’ll try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race

We’ll try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race
We’ll try to make a humanitarian case
For dropping some love on the human race
We Are The Night

Carbon/Silicon web site
Carbon/Silicon myspace page
Carbon/Silicon at iJamming!
Mick Jones interview at iJamming!
The Clash at iJamming!

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“HEY MA” by JAMES

Now the towers have fallen
So much dust in the air
It affected your vision
Couldn’t see yourself clear
From the fall came such choices
Even worse than the fall
There’s this chain of consequences
Within
Without

Action cause and reaction
Never follows to plan
Black swans on your picnic table
Knocking over the jam
Please don’t preach me forgiveness
You’re hardwired for revenge
War is just about business
Within
Without

Hey ma the boy’s in body bags
Coming home in pieces
Hey ma the boy’s in body bags
Coming home in pieces
Hey ma the boy’s in body bags
Coming home in pieces
Coming home in pieces

War

The dead live on within us
(In the atoms we trust)
Keep your fingers crossed
We were choking on the smoke and the dust
And the lives that were lost
Scratch the surface of liberals
There’s a beast underneath
Others hiding their Jekylls
Within
Without

Hey ma the boy’s in body bags
Coming home in pieces
Hey ma the boy’s in body bags
Coming home in pieces

War

I can feel the daylight
I can feel the daylight
Raining on me
Raining on me
Hey Ma

James web site
James myspace
Tim Booth interview at iJamming!
James at iJamming!

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