Song of the year 2012 – World Upside Down by Jimmy Cliff


I’ve decided to use this first blog post in August to nominate what I believe is undoubtedly the song of the year for 2012. (Yes, I do know this year still has four months and three weeks to run! However, I’m confident this nomination is unlikely to be transcended in that time).

My chosen song is World Upside Down (from the new album ‘Rebirth’) by the Jamaican reggae legend, Jimmy Cliff.  The album/song was released last month and, in my view, perfectly sums up the state of global society today (…hence it being ideal as my candidate for ‘song of 2012’). In fact, in just 3 mins 11 secs, it also sums up everything I have tried to say in my novel, LOVE, GUDRUN ENSSLIN.

Apologies – I was genuinely not intending to turn this particular post into a plug for my own work…however, it’s true that every sentiment conveyed in this song is the very quintessence of that I have attempted to convey in my book…which is undoubtedly one reason why this song appeals so strongly to me. The other reason for its appeal is that it is classic reggae – and an outstanding return to form for the man who wrote You Can Get It If You Really Want; Many Rivers To Cross and Wonderful World, Beautiful People (among other classics). It’s an irresistible combination – foot-tapping, joyful, upbeat reggae and a seemingly simple, yet profound, lyric. I’ll even excuse the use of the slightly odd compound word “tyrannity” – perhaps all the more effective for standing out as a focal point – as the song in its…er…entirety is so perfect!

However, the brilliant music is only an added bonus . For me, it’s the lyrics that are the core strength of this song. In my view, this song is destined to become Jimmy Cliff’s 21st century version of Marvin Gaye’s  20th century ‘What’s Going On?’ (…a topic I’ve also blogged about previously on this site…check the archives folks!); a song for our times. This is great popular music for thinking people – and, unlike the 1960s protest song era, that’s something that’s rarer than hen’s teeth these days!

You’ll see what I mean from the lyrics (shown below in bold font). However, I strongly recommend doing yourself a favour – pop over to iTunes (or its equivalent) and check this one out pronto!

CHORUS:

They say the world is spinning around

I say the world is upside down

VERSES:

Looking at the world today

I am implored to say

So much war and poverty

While few enjoy prosperity

Looking at the world I agree

What fools we mortals be

Morality is in demise

Immorality is on the rise

Too much injustice

How can there be peace?

Religious hypocrisy

Political tyrannity

You see it my bredren

What about the children now?

Crime and violence

Poverty and starvation

Ecological calamity

Economic instability

What’s wrong with humanity?

Have they lost their sanity?

For the sake of vanity?

What about the love?

You know that we need it, yeah?

What about the love?

Just one word, amigos………………………GENIUS! 🙂

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