An ironically cheery-sounding tune about the slow erosion of the American dream in the rust belt
Good morning! I hope that this missive finds you all safe and healthy as we head into week seven of quarantine here in New Jersey. A month ago we brought you “Does She Know It’s Not Right in the Head,” and this morning we bring you the first of two new songs coming out this month (the next one arrives in exactly two weeks), “Land of Plenty.”
As one of the tracks on the upcoming double album JABBERWALRUS BRINGS THE SILENCE (as are both the most recent prior release and the upcoming release in two weeks), it shares that Beatlesque structure and sonic palette. Specifically, this one harkens to the Sgt. Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour era and bears that wistfully nostalgic McCartney sound.
As British as the sound is, though, the lyrics are the story of the death of the American dream in rust-belt USA; the melody itself is ironically cheerful. I hope you will give the tune a listen (it’s a short three and a half minute jaunt) on of these links below and also share the song with friends, family, and social media.
As always, I've created a playlist.
The Random Hubiak Band — Land of Plenty The Beatles — Penny Lane Harry Nilsson — 1941 Coldweather Company — Steer The Great Enough — Sad Boy, Soldier On The Beatles — All You Need is Love Guided By Voices — The Main Street Wizards Peter John — Minimum Rage The Knack — Disillusion Town Elvis Costello — Welcome to the Working Week Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians — Flesh Number One Kirsty MacColl — A New England Hedwig and the Angry Inch — Wicked Little Town Robert Palmer — John and Mary Big Little Lions — Cookie Cutter Aimee Mann — Fifty Years After the Fair Electric Light Orchestra — The Way Life’s Meant to Be Michael Penn — Out of My Hand The Smithereens — Too Much Passion Paul McCartney — My Brave Face Rings Starr — Harry’s Song Squeeze — Pulling Mussels from a Shell Marshall Crenshaw — You’re My Favorite Waste of Time Guided By Voices — A Salty Salute Dave Edmunds — Steel Claw The Move — Beautiful Daughter Utopia — Feel Too Good Aimee Mann — Save Me Paul Marzano — Breakfast in the UK The Smithereens — Afternoon Tea Guided By Voices — Back to the Lake Paul McCartney — The Pound is Sinking Beth Orton — Sweetest Decline Crack the Sky — Sea Epic XTC — The Mayor of Simpleton The Beatles — You Won’t See Me Elton John — Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) The Dream Academy — Life in a Northern Town\ Mary Chapin Carpenter — I Am a Town Hedwig and the Angry Inch — Wicked Little Town (Tommy Gnossis Version)
There used to be a three story department store
In the heart of my hometown’s main street. Next door there was a Kresge’s with a soda fountain. Young couples dressed to the nines would meet there. The man behind the counter wore a tie and tweeded coat. Ladies’ hats were still the style of the day. Around the block there was a pub
Where the blue collars grabbed their grub And a few beers with their first few bucks of pay. We all remember when the town was this way. We pressed our pants along the crease
And toasted the post-world-war peace in our time. We’d survived what the thirties dealt,
Recalled the tightening of belts, counting dimes. The future was all ours to invent.
We were living in the land of plenty. Frankie Delano’s New Deal struck, so Harry, pass the buck. When the mall came to town and the drakes shut down, We shuttered all of High Street’s windows and doors. The brave new world awaited us. Advertisements baited us. But credit lines extend and there are reasons to expend. The men behind the counters wearing uniforms and aprons, Minimum wage, the new American dream. But there are purchases to make,
And there’s a hand to give and take And grease the gears of the economy’s wheels. We don’t remember what it’s like.
We just know how we’re told to feel. We wear our sweatpants to go out
And throw our excess weight about to hold reign, Forget the lessons that we’ve learned
And demand things that we’ve not earned to maintain. The future was still there to invent.
We were living in the land of plenty. The Great Communicator conveyed. We were swayed. And now the mall’s an empty lot
That can’t be sold and won’t be bought in our time. Our precious peace, a distant dream;
Security rent by the seams, count each dime. I’m sure this can’t be what we meant.
We were living in the land of plenty. Frankie, Harry, come back and please see Hoover’s new ville.