“They Come… They Come… To Build A Wall Between Us”

 

A little over three decades ago, Neil Finn, founder/frontman of the Australian band Crowded House and composer of their debut album’s track, Don’t Dream It’s Over, musically mesmerized his fans, worldwide, when he hooked us with his haunting, sadness tinged storyline, emotionally driven vocals and stripped down to the bare essentials instrumentation.

While creative sequencing of treble and bass clef notes, time and key signatures and instrumentation do play a significant role, a peerless singer/songwriter/musician, such as Finn, fully knows that a song’s even greater appeal stems from crafting cleverly worded, timely, timeless sentiments, which tap into universal human experiences.

Let’s let the music now speak for itself…

Originally I had planned to include my own interpretation of Finn’s lyrics1 but quickly nixed that notion. My rationale…

  1. You can read such essays elsewhere.
  2. Upon re-listening to this song with our present-day ears… WITHIN politically perilous and tempestuous times spanning our entire spinning out of control world… WITHOUT the benefit of functional, sane leadership to face down and correct these serious problems… a whole new meaning arises from this song, in particular, the chorus…

“They come, they come… To build a wall between us…”

I cannot speak for everyone, but each time these particular ten words play out, I can foresee “the end of the road”… the road, which humanity has been travelling upon for multiple millions of years. I cannot help but wonder, will our road, someday (soon) be blocked by WW-III’s billions of burnt beyond recognition, irradiated corpses and mega-tonnage of rubble?

I’ll now graciously yield my blogger’s podium to Pope Francis who I wish, with all my heart, would speak for everyone on this issue…

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be – and not building bridges – is not Christian.”

To build upon the pontiff’s strong foundation…

  1. Are not ill-mannered, ill-informed, ill-advised, soulless world leaders, who so pointlessly, persistently dehumanize benevolent folks based solely on ethnicity, infirmity, religious beliefs and sexual orientation needlessly building a wall between us?
  2. Is it not the intent of the world’s malevolent entities… those who mindlessly terrorize, maim and slaughter (on behalf of their alleged god)… to divide and conquer us… i.e., by also building a wall between us?

The problem with walls is how they actually fail to insulate us from harm and, indeed, do harm when they isolate us. When everyone gets trapped on each side of the architecture, each side of the argument is doomed to remain unresolved… preserved thru perpetuity.

When viewed in this manner, just how would we then interpret Don’t Dream It’s Over?

I suppose that’s where the power of punctuation enters the picture. In this case, it all boils down to whether or not we opt to bisect Finn’s four worded song title (and recurring lyric) with a comma.

An optimist would eschew such punctuation… in effect saying…

”Please don’t ever dream that our dream for a civil, wall-free world is over.”

A pessimist would commit to that comma… in effect drastically changing the meaning to…

“Don’t dream, IT’S ALL OVER! Who needs stinkin’ bridges when we can get nasty and piss away billions of bucks to build that utterly useless, sky-high wall!”

Getting back on the musical track, conventional wisdom suggests that songsmith Neil Finn’s masterpiece should remain inviolate… YET… I cannot help but wonder… had he written Don’t Dream It’s Over, today… six months after the grotesque regime change within Washington DC… what verses would he have built around his chorus…

“They come, they come… To build a wall between us…”?

And would he even be realistic were he to reach the same conclusion he did back in 1986… when he had so resolutely proclaimed…

“We know that they won’t win!”

 

Latanya Lockett & Pablo West ~ Don’t Dream It’s Over (acoustic cover)

 

1Complete Lyrics:

 

Don’t Dream It’s Over

Composed by Neil Finn

 

 

There is freedom within

There is freedom without

Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup

There’s a battle ahead

Many battles are lost

But you’ll never see the end of the road

While you’re traveling with me

 

[CHORUS] Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over

Hey now, hey now

When the world comes in

They come, they come

To build a wall between us

We know that they won’t win

 

Now I’m towing my car

There’s a hole in the roof

My possessions are causing me suspicion

but there’s no proof

In the paper today

Tales of war and of waste

But you turn right over to the T.V. page

 

[CHORUS]

 

Now I’m walking again

To the beat of a drum

And I’m counting the steps

To the door of your heart

Only shadows ahead

Barely clearing the roof

Get to know the feeling of

Liberation and release

 

[CHORUS] Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over

Hey now, hey now

When the world comes in

They come, they come

To build a wall between us

We know that they won’t win

 

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