Welcome
to—

A Year
for Music!

R.E.M., "Walk It Back"

R.E.M., "Walk It Back"

Selected Composition

 

R.E.M., "Walk It Back"

 

 

Program Notes

 

Today, I watched a documentary, Last Call at the Oasis, about the world's growing water crisis. During the credits, they played R.E.M.'s song "Walk It Back," which is from the group's last album. I had never heard this song before. To my mind, it is the prettiest of R.E.M.'s songs.

 

R.E.M. was an alternative rock band from Georgia that formed in 1980. Their songs were part of my life when I was young. One, "Losing My Religion," haunted me when I was coming out, as that was exactly what was happening to me then (not that the Mormon church gave me any choice).

 

Here is a link to the song on Amazon.com, from R.E.M.'s 2011 album Collapse into Now:

 

R.E.M., "Walk It Back"

 

 

Coda

 

Fresh water accounts for only one percent of the world's water, and, with the human population soaring, there will soon not be enough. Already, in many places, water shortages are common. I often read, these days, predictions that the wars in this century will be fought over water—but, interestingly, this documentary discounts that idea. Still, because of overpopulation and limited resources, the future will likely be a grimier, dirtier, dustier place. Washing clothes and bathing will, by necessity, become rarer, and people will be forced to drink recycled sewage water (that's not as bad as it sounds: the water is purified using reverse osmosis: the water is turned into steam, then recondensed as water, thus leaving behind all impurities; Los Angeles will begin selling its recycled sewage as bottled water in 2021).

 

Our only hope is somehow to control population and to reverse the effects of climate change. 

 

Here is a link to the trailer for Last Call at the Oasis:

 

Trailer, Last Call at the Oasis


 

And here is a link to an interview with Jessica Yu, director of the documentary:

 

ReThink Interview: Jessica Yu, Director of Last Call at the Oasis

 

 

 

 

The photograph, above, is of daffodils in Lady Bird Johnson Park, part of the National Capitol Region Parks (Credit: NPS; used courtesy of the National Park Service). This is the eighteenth of twenty-five photos of National Parks that I will feature in this blog to honor the centenary of the National Park Service.

 

Lady Bird Johnson was one of the most distinguished First Ladies. Her Beautify America program had astounding, but sadly short-lived, effects. As part of that program, ugly billboards nationwide were torn down. This was in 1965. I vividly remember driving to Salt Lake City that year—and for the first time being able to see the city from the freeway, not just billboards. It was lovely. I remember driving with my grandparents into Montana, and the vistas were unobscured.

 

Lady Bird Johnson wrote: "Ugliness is so grim. A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions."

 

It couldn't last. Her efforts were rolled back under Nixon, the billboards went back up, and our lives were rendered poorer for it. I hope that someday we will again take up her work—and beautify America.

 

 

 

 

 

All Hallow's Eve

All Hallow's Eve

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra