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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One day I was full of life but now my branches suffer

So, on the drive to work this morning, I was listening to a mix cd that I put together for my wife's work party this weekend. And I was enjoying the songs, all of them mellow, when on comes "A Day in the Life of a Tree" by The Beach Boys. For those of you unfamiliar with this song, it's from the mostly brilliant 1971 Beach Boys album "Surf's Up".. For some reason (a.k.a. my impending fatherhood making me face my own mortality & aging), this song made me cry for its entire duration. On the surface, the song can be read as an "save the trees" anti-pollution song, but it's really an analogy for becoming old, useless, and dying a slow death. It's really moving stuff & as allmusic says, "the somber tones of a pipe organ build atmosphere."
Here is an mp3 of Matthew Sweet's cover of it. His version isn't quite as powerful as the original, but you get the idea.

"A Day in the Life of a Tree"
by Jack Rieley & Brian Wilson


Feel the wind burn through my skin
The pain, the air is killing me
For years my limbs stretched to the sky
A nest for birds to sit and sing

But now my branches suffer
And my leaves don't bear the glow
They did so long ago

One day I was full of life
My sap was rich and I was strong
From seed to tree I grew so tall
Through wind and rain I could not fall

But now my branches suffer
and my leaves don't offer
Poetry to men of song

Trees like me weren't meant to live
If all this world can give
Pollution and slow death

Oh Lord I lay me down
No life's left to be found
There's nothing left for me

Trees like me weren't meant to live
If all this earth can give
Is pollution

Trees like me weren't meant to live
(Oh Lord I lay me down)
If all this earth can give
(My branches to the ground)
Is pollution and slow death
(There's nothing left for me)

Oh Lord I lay me down
My branches to the ground
There's nothing left for me

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