Civilization's dance (insert optimistic message here)

Civilization's dance (insert optimistic message here)

mike skliar's picture



Liner Notes: 

First song of 50/90 2018 for me!

Especially as 50/90 starts around the US Independence day holiday of July 4, I have usually started off with a song about the 'state of the country' at the present time. Of course, its hard not to be pessimistic and angry, (and I probably will write those songs too) but this one has a mixed up/down kind of vibe that I found interesting. I also liked that the verse is in E minor while the chorus is in E major, and the bridge in C..

Having some glitches with my recording setup, but it does seem to work for now- I kept it simple, just acoustic guitar and vocal, live, with a little echo/reverb in there, etc.

Hope ya dig!


Since the last time I saw you, what you been thinking?
Are you feeling more helpless, like the world has been sinking?
I’ve been laid low too
Wondering what we can do?

Insert optimistic message here
Wish I could believe it
Open to any new ideas
We just can’t leave this world to chance
Come on civilization do your dance

History is bloody and sad, and we’ve had progress
But that forward momentum, maybe we have to reassess
I’ve been feeling disheartened
Feeling that those battle lines have hardened

Insert optimistic message here
Wish I could believe it
Open to any new ideas
We just can’t leave this world to chance
Come on civilization do your dance

And yes the universe will shimmy and shake
And we know that so much is at stake
And the ripples we feel, those little mistakes
Multiply into horrible earthquakes
But sooner or later reason returns
And the tide of history turns
Tho not quickly enough, and some get burned
But eventually enough people learn
That civilization has upturns and downturns
But the arc of the moral universe bends slowly toward justice

Insert optimistic message here
And tho I may not believe it
Lets hear everyone’s new ideas
We just can’t leave this world to chance
Come on civilization do your dance…

(c) M. Skliar 2018

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


Stephen Wordsmith's picture

I think you turn the vagueness here to your advantage - you end up delivering a message we can all relate to, regardless of our particular leanings.

There's a nice contrast of the mystic and mundane - the chords and mentions of ripples, tides, earthquakes and dances mingled with the flat disaffectedness of 'insert optimistic message here' is very powerful.

A great start. Looking forward to hearing more from you,

oneslowtyper's picture

Of course I had to come and comment on my favorite Bob Dylan reincarnated 50/90 artist... or "Mike" for short. LOL
I like how you started off this long 90 day march, I wish I felt like I could insert an optimistic message in here, but the only thing I've found good about politics these days is it keeps the creative juices flowing.
Keep up the good fight, Mike!

colgoo's picture

Nice. Love your line "Insert optimistic message here."

Great the MLK quote inserted into your lyrics.

billwhite51's picture

like the way the song develops .from political folk to anthemic chorus...then finally the several lins repeating the same melody. very involving both musically and lyrically

yam655's picture

This one was nice. There's just a touch of burn-out.

auldy's picture

the ascending "optimistic" chord progression is a great climb. You've painted a great picture with some good chord choices. I've never been ambitious enough to try and fit the word 'civilization' into anything I've every written, so bonus points for your successful delivery, its a hard word to vocalise and enunciate in melody form I feel.

Jerry Pettit's picture

Very nice. You've done a very nice vocal treatment here to some great lyrics. VERY nice!

airbagtester's picture

This song is calmingly reassuring - I especially like the reference to the old abolitionist Theodore Parker's line "the arc of the moral universe bends slowly toward justice" made famous by Dr. King of course. That whole bridge section makes me think of a pale blue dot swinging on a pendulum. I hope it swings back pretty soon.

MichaelEpic's picture

Pretty sweet build up to the chorus man, really interesting and catches your attention.

nancyrost's picture

Heh, I like the humor mixed in with the call to action. Sounds great too. Glad I'm getting a chance to catch up on some of the early 50/90 songs I missed in July.