This song expresses distress over the current state of mankind on our planet. But it is also optimistic that better outcomes are possible.
It began as a simple acoustic arrangement but evolved into something with a greater sense of urgency, one of the reasons I added trumpets to the arrangement. The music rides on top of the Morse Code for SOS, which is three dots, three dashes, three dots. SOS stands for Save Our Souls which is the universal distress signal. It begins with a sound like a telegraph tapping SOS, which is picked up by other instruments throughout the song. By the end all instruments are sounding the SOS.
One problem with the idea of a better life is that everybody has their own idea of what a better life is. Humans have long fought wars over whose idea of a better life is better.
The album cover, which I also designed, reflects this. The picture frames contain blank canvases so that others can photoshop their ideas for a better life into them and distribute them on social media. You might put your favorite presidential candidate in there or a religious figure or some other symbol or image that is important to you. This will promote the song, but also make people think about what their own better life would be.
Audience participation helps.
can I talk freely
can I speak my mind
I'm troubled by the state of things
afraid for all mankind
I think the world's gone crazy
it's not how it should be
running circles like triple crown horses
wearing blinders we cannot see
there's got to be a better life
a world that's free from all the pain and strife
we've got no plan
there's not much time
for you and I to make a better life
a better life
the drums of war are beating
our leaders make their threats
seduced into submission
by technology and debts
a tiny planet hurls through space
basking in the sunlight's grace
angry people they don'e care
who lives who dies, it's just not fair
breathtaking foolishness all the time everywhere
released September 6, 2019
Words and music by Chip Gibbons
Produced by Chip Gibbons
Performed by Chip Gibbons
Cover art by Chip Gibbons