If I Could Be Anywhere Lyrics

Sliding through the shimmering surface between two worlds

Standing at the centre of time as it uncurls
Cutting through a veil of illusion
Moving beyond past conclusions
Wondering if all my doubt and confusion will clear

If I could be anywhere,
If I could be anywhere
If I could be anywhere right now, I would want to be here

Searching for the future among the things we’re throwing away
Trying to see the world through the junk we produce every day
They say nothing lasts forever,
But all the plastic ever made is still here
No amount of closing our eyes will make it disappear

If I could be anywhere,
If I could be anywhere
If I could be anywhere in history, I would want to be here

The Romans, the Spanish, the British, the Dutch
American exceptionalism, so out of touch
The folly of empire, repeating its course
Imposing its will and ruling by force
On and on through time

But the world can’t take it, very much longer
We’re not gonna make it, unless we’re smarter and stronger
The world is gonna shake itself free of our greed somehow

If I could be anywhere,
If I could be anywhere in time
If I could be anywhere and change things, it would have to be now.

They say nothing lasts forever,
but all the plastic ever made is still here
No amount of closing our eyes will make it disappear

And the world can’t take it, very much longer
It’s not gonna make it, ‘less we’re smarter and stronger
The world is gonna shake itself free of our greed somehow

And the world can’t take it, that you can see
If the oceans don’t make it, neither will we
The world is gonna shake itself all the way free somehow

If I could be anywhere, If I could be anywhere in time
If I could be anywhere and change the outcome, it would have to be now.

If I Could Be Anywhere by Jackson Browne from his Standing in the Breach album.

I wanted to add two things.  First, again, Jackson Browne who is often written off by many younger artists, is actually saying something that takes courage in the place of so much of the ironic detachment that is out there.  Also, he has written a song that deals in part to the environment calamities that we are facing, but in a very thoughtful and sly way.  Writing a song about the environment is really, really tricky.  But taking on the idea of the environment in the margins of the songs, there are very few direct lines that actually mention it, it is actually more powerful.  It’s so easy to sing about environmental themes in a way which is cliched.  Save the planet, etc.  I remember hearing the Melissa Etheridge song at the end of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and being embarrassed for her.  My Dad was an environmental lawyer for most of his career, and now is a professor of environmental ethics.  He has long asked me to try and write a topical song that deals with environmental themes.  I have never been able to find a way into the subject that really felt authentic.  I feel like Browne has done so here.  The couplet, “They say nothing lasts forever, but all the plastic ever made is still here”, is witty.  It plays with your expectations, it goes one way and then turns it around.  He makes you think about something without telling you what you should be thinking with those lines.  

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

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