SONG: Upside Down


“Upside Down” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Nature, 12 June 2018, “Africa’s majestic baobab trees are mysteriously dying”, as used in the post “The baobabs are dying”.


I suppose it helps if you know that baobabs are also called “upside down trees.” (Is that common knowledge? I honestly don’t know.) The idea here is that, yes, looking at them, you feel a little dwarfed by them but also a little disoriented because they look like their roots are reaching up and their heads are underground, almost like they’re burying themselves.

Which, metaphorically, they are, with this new blight spreading the way it is.

I’m glad I took a little extra time with the vocals here, just to mass them up nicely and to get a hushed performance that was still within whispering distance of “on key.”

For some reason, trees always want to sound like large groups of quiet voices to me.

The Rhodes piano was originally there as a vocal melody cue before I had words down, but then I kind of grew fond of the vibe – maybe if it was a little more organic, it’d sound like a Christie McVie solo? Maybe? Just a suggestion of it?

I knew I wanted this chord progression with that slidey C9 chord thing going C-D-Asus4, then way up to E and back down to D. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to pick the thing, so I kind of did it two ways and mixed them. I also was of two minds about yanking it into a waltz for the bridge, but felt like it needed something jarring and unwell-sounding for that. It’s a blighted waltz.

And I think I did OK at capturing the feeling of an earthbound alien thing that’s wasting away for reasons we can’t understand. There are some ASMR ladies counting in, and some sampled humming to fill the headphones nicely.

Next up, a penitential cover.


It took us years
to look through your garden frames
It won’t rain here
Shovels poised by thirsty veins

Winter ran warm
We couldn’t cuddle close
Between the storms
Couldn’t make a diagnosis

Things seem upside down (from here)
Roots across the sky
Things look underground (from here)
It’s time.

When giants fall
With no one left to hear them
A sound ignored
A forest disappears then

Things seem upside down (from here)
Roots across the sky
Things look underground (from here)
It’s time. They’re dying.