For today’s throwback, we’re celebrating one of the most valuable, yet neglected festivities: Earth Day. A day that was so needed, when it was first introduced in the early 70s but never became a public holiday. It’s just a day to reminisce about the state of mother nature and environment. And oh boy, do we have a lot to reminisce about.
As we all know, Fridays for Future had an all time high in popularity just before Covid-19 hit. It was then, when even the most ignorant about the environmental problems started thinking about the direction we’re heading at with global warming. I mean, we still have tons of people who believe that global warming isn’t a thing – but at least they thought about it, right?
Well, before Fridays for Future, Social Media and the melting of the arctic glaciers we had histories biggest pop icons singing about the Earth and its pain. Think Michael Jackson’s Earth Song or Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me. And they did have their impact, especially on the younger members of society. Let’s take a walk on memory lane, shall we?
One of the most iconic moments in Pop for me was definitely Michael Jackson’s Earth Song. It came out in 1995 and climbed the charts immediately. I still remember how my mother was raving about the importance of the track. It was a rather simple song but that made it really accessible for a wide group of people. Jackson took on topics that are still important today. He sang about war, the environment and the exploitation of resources while showing people from all around the world in the video. For some, it’s still the most powerful message in Pop and one of the most memorable moments from Jackson’s career.
Next we have the soul icon Marvin Gaye with his song Mercy Mercy Me. Released in 1971, the song came out just when the environment started to be a public topic. With his single, he became one of the first soul artists to address the topic in an artistic way. At the time, he explained to Rolling Stone how he wanted to “write songs that would reach the souls of people“. And he definitely did: The song marks one of the most memorable moments of his discography.
A rather recent moment is Will.i.am’s S.O.S (Mother Nature) that came out in 2007. As the most well known member of The Black Eyed Peas (apart from Fergie obviously!) he’s not really famous for deep music. As a result, nobody really asked for an introspective moment by the rapper and producer. So, what makes this song so special? The way it described the state of the earth is pretty spot on: ”CO2 levels got the whole planet heated up / It’s blazing in the winter, even hotter in the summer“.
So, there you have it: Three Pop moments that really brought awareness to the declining state of the earth. Sadly, they didn’t do much in the long-run – as we all know Pop music is extremely accessible to many and also very short lived. After years of their release, these songs do prove one thing: the actual people in charge haven’t done enough to change a thing about the environment. So let’s hope that moments like Fridays for Future aren’t as short-lived as their pop music counterparts.