Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Run Baby Run"

There's something so ineffably romantic, so attractive, seductive and yet so utterly heartbreaking about the image of a child of the 60s left to its own devices in the harsh, neon unforgiving reality of the 90s and 00s. That naive idealism that came to the fore on the road to Birmingham, Alabama, at the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC where Martin Luther King had his dream and at Woodstock just seems so expensive, so indulgent and so misplaced in this age of go-faster, market-driven entrepreneurship. Sometimes it's almost as if the 60s were a confession and an apology for what went before and what was to come.
Here's a song with a back-story, a timeline born in 1963, "the day Aldous Huxley died." It's a memorial, an elegy that lives on in every child who's turned 45 and who can't reconcile their 21st century struggle with the values their 60s parents brought them up with.
"And her mama believed/That every man could be free/So her mama got high, high, high/And her daddy marched on Birmingham/Singing mighty protest songs/And he pictured all the places/That he knew that she belonged/But he failed and taught her young/The only thing she's need to carry on/He taught her how to/Run baby, run baby, run baby, run."
How many are out there still, holding desperately onto the belief in the essential goodness of man despite reams and reams of evidence to the contrary, hoping against hope that one day we'll all realize that all we need, as the Beatles sang, is love. Not romantic love, but respect, kindness, trust.
"She counts out all her money/In the taxi on the way to meet her plane/Stares hopeful out the window/At the workers fighting/Through the pouring rain/She's searching through the stations/For an unfamiliar song/And she pictures all the places/Where she knows she still belongs/And she smiles the secret smile/Because she knows exactly how/To carry on."
Where is that place she's picturing? How can she hold onto that hope? And why does she keep running? Just how much pain and heartbreak does it take for an entire generation to realise it's been chasing a dream that we're not smart enough to earn?

4 comments:

Natsthename said...

I always wondered if this song was sort of autobiographical for Sheryl Crow, even if the places were changed.

I'm 48 and I didn't grow up with 60's values...my parents grew up in the 40's with Depression-era values. Still, I have clear memories of the peace, love, and understanding times, and I do have trouble reconciling them with my suburban mom values. Getting older can really SUCK!

Minerva said...

That was an incredibly hard hitting post...


Minerva *still reeling*

Cocaine Jesus said...

a brilliant song and an equally brilliant write up. terrific stuff. hats off to you sir!

Jo said...

I think I'm right in saying that 'the day Aldous Huxley died' was also the day JFK was shot. An oblique veiled reference to doomed optimism by Sheryl Crow? Great song.

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