LYRICS // Second Hand Sunshine (2007)

‘Second Hand Sunshine’, a title that popped up one day in search of a song, was written as a global warming song. It’s not a subject that seems to have been tackled a great deal yet by songwriters, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get one in early.

Many of the lyrics had been hanging around in various forms for years, as scraps that hadn’t yet found the right song to end up in. I was glad to finally give them a home. The first verse starts with, of all things, a reference to the infamous Conservative politician Enoch Powell, who was sacked from the government front bench in 1968 for his notoriously inflammatory ‘Rivers of Blood‘ speech that raged against rising levels of immigration to the UK.

Naturally, I am fundamentally opposed to such views and see the world in an entirely different light. However, he did utter one truism (at another time) that stuck with me:


All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.
Understanding this helps to not place ultimate faith in political leaders as the ones that will provide the solutions to our world’s problems. While they may play a part, they will ultimately fail in what they are trying to do – even when with the best of intentions – because that is ‘the nature of politics’.

The opening of the song therefore is a plea for collective action against the status quo of the continuing pollution of our earth, rather than waiting for the people in power to make the changes needed.

The ‘same old juice’ of the second verse refers to the developed (and now developing) world’s ongoing dependence on fossil fuels, with ‘lizards’ being the dinosaurs that turned into automobile juice from millennia underground.

While the use of these fuels may well have led to the rapid development of many nations and so have been a measure of human and economic progress in many ways, our ongoing dependence on them is leading to vicious resource wars, destruction of eco-systems and economic fragility. Ropes can also be used to good and bad ends, for rescuing somebody or hanging them, and is given here as a metaphor for fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, we are living through very interesting times as well as dangerous ones. Largely powered by the internet as an element of the digital revolution, the early 21st Century is a period of unprecedented technological progress.

It is possible that some of the solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems can be found through technological innovations which enable us to better harness more natural sources of energy – such as solar power. Those who remain stuck in the older ways of thinking will be left behind, clinging on to outmoded means and watching slack-jawed as they are rapidly surpassed. This is the general thrust of the third verse.

The fourth verse alludes to the amount of information that is already available on the internet, which can point to different means of reducing ones personal carbon footprint or developing a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s out there at our fingertips, but so many choose to ignore it.

The song itself appeared on the first Shelf Life album, ‘Best Before End’, and can be previewed or purchased as part of the whole album on Shelf Life - Best Before End - Second Hand Sunshine (Live).

Second Hand Sunshine

All our leaders in the end are claimed
By Old Man Blood River
Won’t somebody turn the heat down?
It’s an arrow too much for our quiver

We’re still fixing up on the same old juice
The lizards died to give
A rope is a lifeline or it’s a noose
The reptile way’s too aggressive

Brave new ideas drop from your skies,
Like burned-out satellites.
You’ll fall to your knees watching people pass by,
And they follow their days with their nights.

Slip the URL into your browser.
You’ll find an answer on the other side.
If the decision makes you drowsier,
There’s no excuse to run away and hide.

Gimme some of that
Second Hand Sunshine
Power me up
And I’m on my way

Give us some of that
Second Hand Sunshine
Plug us in
And we’ll be on our way

All our leaders in the end are claimed
By Old Man Blood River
Won’t somebody turn the heat down?
It’s an arrow too much for our quiver

We’re still fixing up on the same old juice
The lizards died to give
A rope is a lifeline or it’s a noose
The reptile way’s too aggressive

Brave new ideas drop from your skies,
Like burned-out satellites.
You’ll fall to your knees watching people pass by,
And they follow their days with their nights.

Slip the URL into your browser.
You’ll find an answer on the other side.
If the decision makes you drowsier,
There’s no excuse to run away and hide.

Gimme some of that
Second Hand Sunshine
Power me up
And I’m on my way

Give us some of that
Second Hand Sunshine
Plug us in
And we’ll be on our way

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 2007, Lyrics, Shelf Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s