Olympic “Earthquake” Song – Striking the Right Notes?

In a recent post I talked about how a fan contacted me to say that a scene from my book Watchers (where a tree grows from the peak of Glastonbury Tor) was uncannily similar to alleged leaked scenes from the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games in London, which takes place in a week’s time.

In my world there is no such thing as coincidence, so this strange synchronicity brought the Olympics to my attention and prompted me to take a closer look at the whole thing. What I’ve discovered is quite unnerving.

Children read this blog, so I shall leave out the most disturbing parts, but I do wish to draw attention to some of the things that are going on surrounding the Olympics – and our society in general – especially when it comes to the words that are in a lot of the music that finds favour these days.

Looking for resonances between the Tor and the Olympics, I discovered that a rap-group called Labrinth were invited to be the main act at the first of 66 musical “events” that are accompanying the Olympic Torch on its tour around Great Britain. Every day since then, the sounds of this group have been blared out from the bus that accompanies the Torch and are being listened to by children up and down the land.

What is the connection? Well, Glastonbury Tor is well-known for featuring a centuries-old real labyrinth that is cut into the side of the hill and which forms a spiral pathway that used to be processed as part of a spiritual ceremony.

Glastonbury Tor with the Labyrinth clearly visible

Looking up Labrinth, I discovered that one of the songs they performed is called “Earthquake”. By the way, this song also featured at London’s New Years Eve Firework Display that ushered in 2012, where a part of it was played loudly to the celebrating crowds (and the millions watching on television).

So, what is the big deal about Labrinth singing a song called “Earthquake” at the first Olympic Torch event and music from the same band subsequently being played from the Olympic coach?

Well, let’s have a look at the lyrics – if that is what they can be called – to “Earthquake”. I haven’t included a link to the video that goes with them because I want you to focus on the words themselves. I apologise in advance if they cause offence, but please bear in mind that by quoting them in full, I’m hoping to bring to light something that is hidden. The asterisks, by the way, are mine.

Words to Earthquake by Labrinth

Labrinth! come in!

Ladies and gentlemen
This is something they call
A ground breaker
So let me first apologise
To shirts and the ties
For your make up
Cause I’ll make you ugly
As soon as it drops
We’re on a rampage
Bottles popping off
Before you know it
There’s rubble and dust
Cause we be f**king it up
Somebody say… (you better run)

Yeah

I predict an earthquake
Didn’t happen

Say yeah

I predict an earthquake
Up in here

Cause we throw bombs on it
Throw bombs on it
Just smash something
Yeah mosh for me

Yeah

We can make an earthquake up in here

So here we go we go

Ladies and gentlemen
What you’re about to witness
Is no illusion
And now we got the bass banging
From here to Buckingham palace
They’re all moving
Hey Simon
We’re f**king them up
Turning em psycho
Everybody rock
We bring the house down
To rubble dust
Cause we be f**king it up

Somebody say… (you better run)

Yeah

I predict an earthquake
Up in here
Say yeah

I predict an earthquake
Up in here

Throw bombs on it (yeah)
Throw bombs on it (yeah)
Just smash something
Just mosh for me (aha)

Yeah (let’s go)

We can make an earthquake up in here
So here we go we go

I predict an earthquake up in here

Cause we throw bombs on it
Throw bombs on it
Just smash something
Just smash for me

Yeah

We can make an earthquake up in here
So here we go we go

Hey yo Labrinth
This one’s feeling like a straight ten on the richter scale, ya know…

Yeah!

Fire fire! We about to set this place on fire!
With out a match or lighter
Don’t do girlfriends
One nighters make them c’minor

if I want Christian
Or Kurt Geiger I just phone up the designer
Doing all nighters no days off grey hairs and a little
Bit of weight loss
I predict (riots)
I predict (chaos)
I predict (people)
I predict (AAHHH)
Disturbing London got the whole city panicking
I’ll be Nostradamus this my ni ni neighbour(Labrinth)

Yeah

I predict an earthquake up in here

Say yeah

I predict an earthquake up in here

Cause we throw bombs on it (yeah)
Throw bombs on it (yeah)
Just smash something
Yeah mosh for me

Yeah

We can make an earthquake up in here
So here we go we go

Labrinth come in

Labrinth come in

Labrinth come in

Labrinth come in

***********

I was shocked when I read these words for the first time. I still am.

In a world where society has become so volatile that something as joyful/peaceful as a global games event has to be protected by a small army (during the Olympics armed troops will walk the streets of London for the first time since 1945), why, I ask, would ANYONE pump such violent and discordant words and music into the mix?

Every day we are seeing more and more focus on the security at the Games; with ground-to-air missiles, thousands of soldiers being drafted in and the Americans sending 1,000 of their own security forces, reportedly including 500 members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

So, who in their right mind would choose a song that includes the words “throw bombs on it” – repeated again and again – to be part of the Olympic celebrations?? And why would they even consider using a song that includes such foul language and abusive attitudes to women when the main intent of the Olympics is to engender global unification and positive feelings?

The words appear to be an incitement to violence. They also claim to make a series of predictions about “riots, chaos, people and the whole of London panicking” (the reference to Nostradamus is probably because one of his predictions was that a dire event would happen at “the Games around the time of the Great Millennial”).

I was so amazed at this that I asked my youngest daughter whether this song is popular with her friends. “Oh yes, Daddy,” she told me, “It’s on the radio all the time.” Apparently one of her teachers even played it during a class.

Now, this has got me quite hot under the collar, the reason being that the power of words cannot be underestimated, especially when they are combined with SOUNDS and IMAGES. Even if we cannot hear words (because of the music accompanying them), they still enter our subconscious minds where they are soaked up, never to be forgotten.

It’s also a fact that the more something is repeated the more it acts as an instruction. Take a look at the most-repeated phrases in the song above and ask yourself what instructions are being given?

What gets my hackles up more than anything is that children – and in this case, the adults who attend such public events (or watch them on TV) – cannot choose what they listen to. They/we rely on those who are in positions of authority to be caring, considerate guides who have our best interests at heart.

In this case those people have not lived up to their responsibilities. At best, the airing of this song is crassly inconsiderate. At worst, it suggests an endorsement of violence, casual sex and abusive language.

Someone somewhere has chosen to promote a song that focuses on a nightmare-scenario (London in panic/flames), rather than giving us a vision of unity, beauty and light – which would have been just as easy – alongside both the Olympic Games.

I say this is an outrage. But what do you think?

Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy who is way out of touch with the modern world (I admit this is quite possible, especially when it comes to the lyrics in many modern songs) or do you think I have a point here?

Do you think it is acceptable for such words to be broadcast to thousands of people lining the streets, or to the millions who tuned in to enjoy the New Years Celebrations?

If you think it’s just fine, please write to me. I’d like to know your side of the story.

If you think it’s not acceptable, I’d like to hear from you too.

Kids – what do you think?

Parents – what do you think?

At very least I think it’s time to start a public debate about this…so perhaps you might pass this article around on your blogs, twitter and facebook pages and we’ll see what other people make of it?

Until next time, I leave you with my best wishes – and with this beautiful photograph of the Tor.

Resources and Credits.

Earthquake Songwriters: OKOGWU, PATRICK / MCKENZIE, TIMOTHY / WILLIAMS, MARC [ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/labrinth/earthquake.html ]

Related Stories.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/athletics/london-2012-olympics-opening-ceremony-1144728

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/Labrinth-perform-Olympic-torch-concert/story-16012924-detail/story.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harrymount/100064839/olympic-thugs-are-ruining-londons-parks/

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14 thoughts on “Olympic “Earthquake” Song – Striking the Right Notes?

  1. karen says:

    Thanks for sharing this Essi.I think it’s horrible and am shocked that they would use a song with lyrics like that to promote what is supposed to be games that unite. Scary stuff. I certainly will be keeping well away from London.

    • essitolling says:

      Yes, it seems a great shame to me. Music is so important. I listened the the “official” song of the Olympics for the first time yesterday and found it similarly discordant, both in composition (lots of sharps/flats) and language (“I will light the fuse”, “Vengeance will be mine” etc). There are so many beautiful songs that could have been chosen – or simply good old “we’re in this together” type songs. To have one that focuses on “me, me, me” seems a wasted opportunity.

  2. The words to the song are rather upsetting and crass. I agree that something better, conveying peace and unity instead of bombs and violence, would have been a far better choice. Just the other day, my son said he was rather worried about some of the stuff he’s seen on the internet regarding predicted violence at the Olympics. Something he referred to as False Flags, inciting war against another country without just cause or creating false information to blame another country, sounded rather ominous. I don’t know whether he’s been visiting sites for Conspiracy Theorists, but your post has me thinking it’s more than just suppositions. It certainly puts a damper on something that is supposed to be light and cheerful and promoting peace among nations. Let’s pray it will not lead to the violence that some predict.

    • essitolling says:

      I second your last sentence. Let’s all make it part of our intention that the whole Games pass peacefully. I do feel that something is brewing, but I also believe that we all have the power to affect outcomes – and that it is most important to stay out of fear. As you know from Tilly, my take is that nothing can stand in the way of love 🙂

  3. PS. I have nominated your blog for the Liebster Award. If you are interested in accepting it (and have the time) please see my blog for details. 🙂

  4. Roget the builder says:

    I agree unbelievable that this song is being played. A complete shambles the whole thing an EGO driven waste of money. Also look
    At the main sponsors.

    • essitolling says:

      Yes, I don’t know if it is true, but there was a journalist who got a job with G4S as a security guard for the Olympics and who has said that he and the other trainees were instructed to tell anyone who was wearing a t-shirt that had a different sponsor’s logo on it to either turn the shirt inside-out or take it off. If they refused, they would not be allowed to enter the stadium! Crazy stuff.

  5. jenny gould. says:

    i too have fears ,about coming events,as the tor and the tree which symbolised the holy thorn as it was,notice how it was lifted out of the ground by its roots,and the song jerusalem was sung.jesus was supposed to have been to glastonbury,and walked there,and did those feet,etc.could be relavant,lets hope not.

  6. tecthinktank says:

    Hi, congrats on your blog. First got here by doing some research on the movie Prometheus out of personal leisure. Will definetely try your book since I’m a fan of the subject.

    I have to agree with you about the lyrics, I am a college professor (marketing mostly) and know already too much about how certain influences can change, direct or completely control younger minds actions and emotions. It is not a conspiracy, they were using genuine mass control techniques, it is there, out in the open for everybody to see, but sadly their target audience appeared to be children and young adults, while leaving proper adults saying “oh how creative they are”.

    This was a direct message using direct means, the creepy question is…. to what end? (I could argue increased consumption from the sponsors side of the equation). No point really in asking who or why, we are not talking about conspiracies or doomsday scenarios here. Somebody wanted that message out in the open, with the whole world watching and in prime time.

    Of important note is that here in Mexico, well all of central and northern America actually, most children-young adults are on summer vacation and believe me, most families with a TV set, were watching this “show”.

    It is no coincidence this song was part of the “show”, but what about all the other creepy stuff?, everything from the villians (ok I get English auhtors contribution to literature, but why not show the GOOD guys instead, what is so relevant about the bad guys???), the giant motionless baby face, the children (sick children? abandoned children? abused children? apparently trapped inside their beds!! or the giant hooded villian dancing around?? I heard Danny Boyle was involved at some point or even directing, I find it hard to believe some of these ideas actually came from him.

    Anyway, the message of PEACE every opening ceremony inspires, was shattered with a message of war, fear and control I was stunned to see.

    When you add everything up, some messed up minds, just delivered a very messed up message.

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