Meyer & McGuire
Song of the Month #3 - “All They Say Is Progress”
(Track #3 on the Home Town CD)
Lyrics: If your web browser does not support the Flash Player* included with the Lyrics, or you are uncomfortable allowing/downloading the plug-in/add-on, you can still listen to this song while you read. Just go to our Downloads Page and click on the link, “Buy Home Town Songs from Napster”. Then, click on "All They Say Is Progress." You can listen to it for free (not available outside the USA).
*Not being a techie, I use the term “Flash Player” loosely.
Do you enjoy picking out the many contradictions that appear when you are watching TV? For Siobhan and me, this is sometimes the best part of watching television. Here are some of our favorites. We love when the weather reporter tells you it is going to be sunny all day with a few intermittent showers. Another one we enjoy is the Rogaine commercial. This product helps you grow your hair back, so you can look better. Unfortunately, when you listen to the side effects, the cost for looking better can be impotence. Singulair, a product designed to help asthmatics, warns its customer that a respiratory infection may occur from using the product. Ambien, a drug to help you sleep better, cautions that the drug may cause drowsiness. Finally, one of the best ironies occurred when we saw a commercial for a tanning salon juxtaposed with a commercial for sun screen. These two conflicting commercials generated the lines,
“I hear they got these tanning booths that brown your skin real fast,
And I hear the tan you get just could be your last.”
From these two lines, I began to carve out “All They Say Is Progress.”
In all honesty, the verses in the song came from news reports and commercials. The common denominator appearing in these reports and commercials conveyed the constant struggle we confront when we attempt to move forward to improve our lives. Statistics will more than likely prove that our lives are improving; however, we are paying a big price for this better life. The imagery in “All They Say Is Progress” illustrates some of the prices we have paid for our new technology. For example, our new technology has introduced us to such things as oil slicks, ozone depletion, acid rain, contaminated water, and nuclear disasters.
After filling my verses with the consequences that result from progress, I created a chorus to show the narrator’s frustration with the contradictions that emerge from moving forward. The narrator is trapped. He must move forward even though his environment seems to be falling apart around him. It is hoped that he and the listener will try to move forward with a more sensitive feeling toward the world in which they live.
I dedicated this song to Steve Austin and Eric Cosman, two awesome science teachers I worked with at Canandaigua Academy. Steve, who has since passed away, taught ecology from the mid 1960’s through the mid 1990’s. Eric, Steve’s sidekick, came along in the mid 1980’s. He took the ecology baton from Steve, and is still teaching ecology at Canandaigua Academy. I loved watching these guys enlighten kids about their environment and all its complexities. They made kids understand that, although progress is good, one needs to evaluate it carefully and make wise, informed decisions when implementing it.
Although this song was written in the late 1980’s, it has not lost its relevance. As a society, we still struggle with the consequences that result from progress. If you want proof of the song’s relevance, take a look at Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.
I recorded this song in 1992 at The Garage, a little studio in Rochester, New York. The Garage, as I have told you before, is owned and operated by John and Joe Dady, two quintessential musicians. When you record with them, you can always count on great coffee, good stories, and an aching stomach from laughing.
Along with backing up my country beat with bass and drums, John and Joe enhance the theme of the song with an electric guitar and a fiddle. While John weaves the sound of the electric guitar around the sound of my acoustic, Joe creates two conflicting sounds with the fiddle. He blends a good old country fiddle melody with a new wave, somewhat alternative-sounding one. The sound of their instruments subtly accents the conflict going on for the narrator in the song. I like it, and I hope you do too.
I highly recommend John and Joe if you are interested in recording. Also, The Dady Brothers, John and Joe’s group, have many recordings of their own, and they tour the United States and Ireland. Check them out on the web.
Well, there you have it. I’ll have another song of the month for you next month. If you have any comments or suggestions, please pass them on to me. This is a work in progress, and I am always looking for new ways to improve it.
E-mail us at McRiley@Frontiernet.net