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It’s not too typical to do a playlist full of the same artists over and over, namely Beck, Radiohead, Bjork and the Gorillaz. But the music all has the same thing in common– a dystopian reflection of modern society.
The mix opens with “Modern Guilt” by Beck. Beck has long been ahead of the curve musically mostly because his lyrics are usually a mirror of our high-tech problems.
“Modern guilt/ is all in our hands/Modern guilt/won’t get me to bed” he sings. The lyrics bring to mind a modern, educated city-dweller aware of the environmental and human impacts of the iPhone in his pocket but the real conflict that you need it to stay in touch, to keep up with everything and everyone.
In the Gorillaz’ “Kids With Guns,” the exact meaning is unclear, but it is reminiscent of the surge of mass killings in first world countries as well as the children and teenage men who fight in wars.
In “White Flag” by the Gorillaz with the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music and British Grime rappers Bashy and Kano, a futuristic utopian society is built on the plastic-trash island the size of Texas currently swirling in the Pacific gyre.
“Morning Bell” and “Dollars & Cents” by Radiohead muse on our international on-again off-again love affair with Wall Street and the worship of the dollar.
Beck’s “Drefriended” is a reminder that no relationship of the future is real unless it’s Facebook Official.
But that’s all just “Human Behaviour” (Bjork), and when your “Cell Phone’s Dead” (Beck), you will be “Fitter, Happier, More Productive” (Radiohead).