When she's on her best behavior
Don't be tempted by her favor
Never turn your back on mother Earth

Towns are hurled from A to B
By hands that look so smooth to me
Never turn your back on mother Earth

Grasp at straws that don't want grasping
Gaze at clouds that come down crashing
Never turn your back on mother Earth

Three days and two nights away from my friends
Amen to anything that brings a quick return to my friends
Never turn your back on mother Earth
I'll admit I was unfaithful

But from now I'll be more faithful
Never turn your back on mother
Never turn your back on mother
Never turn your back on mother Earth

Lyrics submitted by Contristo

"Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" as written by Ron Mael

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth song meanings
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  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is a deceptively complex song that hinges on a vaguely understood relationship between two interlocking ideas. First is the harsh, seemingly dualistic reality of nature: serene and alluring at its best, tempestuous, brutal and unforgiving at its worst. The same beautiful clouds you marvel at can raze cities and kill with indifference. The second main idea is in the implied narrative that builds on the second half and requires a little more unpacking. We have the image of a destructive deluge with narrow survival prospects already in place, then the rest of the song takes on a first-person perspective of someone separated from friends they wish to return to. In their desperation, they admit their infidelity and vow to do better. Whether this is relationship infidelity or religious infidelity is not specified, but in either case we are hearing thoughts driven by desperation and remorse.

    Something left unsaid in this narrative portion becomes somewhat accessible through revisiting the first half: does this person believes there is a connection with their behavior and the grim situation they are in? A deity punishing them perhaps? Or have they simply reevaluated their behavior and values because they are now facing death? The answer is most likely the latter. Consider the tone of the line "grasp at straws that don't want grasping". In the context of a violent flood that can hurl towns from A to B, the real theme becomes clearer: at the end of the day the universe just doesn't give a damn. We cry out in the dark we hope that someone hears us, but the world is a cold, unfair and uncertain place.

    So what can we do? The answer is in what causes that last vow to "be more faithful". The sentiment isn't really about fidelity, but about remorse and values. When people face death they realize their mistakes, and they're almost always caused by having made the wrong things important to them. The essence of the song becomes clearer here. We need to face reality, no matter how unattractive the truth can be, to meditate on our priorities and values, to not be lulled into routine and take the good things around us for granted, to not wait until the twilight of our lives to pursue truly important—to not turn our backs on Mother Earth.
    entropyandvdkaon September 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSorry about the typos and a couple missing words. I was half asleep when I wrote this.
    entropyandvdkaon September 24, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA remarkable entry, entropyandvdka! Outside of "hurled from A to B", it could be perceived as a 'serious' song.
    offhandon January 03, 2014   Link

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