Friday, 19 June 2015

World's On Fire




It’s not often that a song actually inspires me the way 'World's on Fire' does, but the reason for it is quite simple: this is a song about making a stand and letting your voice speak out. 'WoF' encourages you to ‘stand up, stand up’ and it’s interesting how that phrase is repeated, as if to try and punch through the wall of apathy and reluctance in which we have retreated. 

“Time is a price we can't afford” is a particularly poignant lyric because it’s so simple: we think we have it all mapped out, and then something happens and our plans are changed forever. It’s not just an exhortation to live by carpe diem (I believe the kids call it YOLO) - it’s also a reminder that if you have a chance to do the right thing, to stand up for what you believe, you’d better do it now because you just don’t know what’s in store. 

The chorus keeps asking, "do they know that the world’s on fire?", "do they know that it’s time?". Here you can almost sense the frustration of the narrating voice, thinking ‘what is wrong with these people? Why aren’t they doing anything? Don’t they know that this is might be their last chance to speak out?’ These are the same people who say “we've gone too far/we're on the edge/we're in too deep”- the ‘why bother, it won’t make any difference’ type of people. People who have already succumbed to apathy, seduced by life’s many dazzling tricks: “Are we distracted by the sun/the glittering jewels and the beating drums?” Look around you - it’s everywhere: people drugged by television (the new ‘opium of the people’), insatiably craving material goods, brainwashed by false prophets. 

I could go on but I don’t want you to all fall asleep. Beyond a line-by-line interpretation of the lyrics, this song, to me, means do something and do it now, even if that means sticking your head above the parapet, even if that means breaking your own rules sometimes, taking a risk or a leap of faith. Sometimes, deep down, you know what is right (“and a voice says please don't forget”) but you’re watching from a distance without getting involved. It’s beautiful, yes, but that pretty scene will dissolve in front of you if you don’t grab it with both hands and treasure it, nurture it and keep it safe. 

On a very personal note, I think this song really speaks to me because, as someone who has always been outspoken, I’ve had to learn, over the years, since childhood, that if you stick your neck out, you might lose your head. So unlike someone who struggle to find the courage to speak their mind, my problem is, how do I keep quiet? 

'World on Fire' is available on iTunes as part of the 'Stand Up, Stand Up' EP or directly from the Hanson.net store.

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