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Bruce Cockburn — If a Tree Falls
Album: Big Circumstance
Avg rating:
6.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 336








Released: 1988
Length: 5:30
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Rain forest
Mist and mystery
Teeming green
Green brain facing labotomy
Climate control centre for the world
Ancient cord of coexistence
Hacked by parasitic greedhead scam -
From Sarawak to Amazonas
Costa Rica to mangy B.C. hills -
Cortege rhythm of falling timber.

What kind of currency grows in these new deserts,
These brand new flood plains?

If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?

Cut and move on
Cut and move on
Take out trees
Take out wildlife at a rate of species every single day
Take out people who've lived with this for 100,000 years -
Inject a billion burgers worth of beef -
Grain eaters - methane dispensers.

Through thinning ozone,
Waves fall on wrinkled earth -
Gravity, light, ancient refuse of stars,
Speak of a drowning -
But this, this is something other.
Busy monster eats dark holes in the spirit world
Where wild things have to go
To disappear
Forever

If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?
Comments (62)add comment
Why log when you can develop a low-density suburb?
 westslope wrote:
Funny thing here on the BC coast is that many rich people love trees.  Big trees.  The tonier neighbourhoods have lots of large mature trees.

And other rich people appear to despise trees because they get in the way of their picture post card views.

I wonder if the tree lovers are old money and the tree haters are nouveau riche.   

Recent immigrants from the Punjab generally hate trees and love clear cuts.  Must be related to historical security issues.  That and the stigma that poor people live in the trees.  

 
A few years ago I recall that the largest Sequoias north of San Francisco were felled to satisfy the viewneeds of a wealthy Chinese buyer. Chinese? Could equally have been first settlers, bloated plutocrats or current developers. All equally Phillistine.
The artist, the creative ones have to step up and point this out - again and again.  Will anything change?  Probably not, but better than saying nothing.  We are screwed and probably beyond the point of redemption.  Thank you Bruce. 
 msymmes wrote:
Not sure who "chump" is....   but USA forest management is much better than Canada's forest management.  And I say this as a Canadian.

lizardking wrote:

Was this before or after Sean Connery's "Medicine Man" movie?  I suppose then was the "quiet" protests about deforestation and climate change; now we MUST have a louder protest.  That's why this track gets the 8 rating from me even though it's really a 6. 

On a similar level, here's what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about Science in America as we move beyond the first 100 days of chump.  God save us (and that's from an atheist!)



 

 
chump = the 45th US President, he who will protect us from the evil truth of climate change, among other things; his real name I have much difficulty saying and typing.  Thankfully I don't play the card came Bridge, because then I'd have to say that stupid name regularly.  LLRP!

PS - the Provincial campgrounds (in BC at least) are far superior to the state parks in Washington.  I don't know a lot about logging although living in the Evergreen state means I see a lot of it going on, esp. while on hikes, and I can tell that the methods have changed a lot.  Much smaller areas cleared out, replanting, etc.  


 themusicroob wrote:

Nope, sound is the vibrations as they are interpreted by the brain. It isn't sound until you hear it. Which makes the whole question one of semantics and basically pointless. Though not nearly as pointless as it is when phrased as it is in this song...

 
Sound waves physically exist whether or not they are interpreted by a brain or "heard". For example: sound waves can break glass if they are of the resonant frequency of that glass, whether or not anyone hears them.  Still, like you said, it is a semantic or perhaps philosophical question, and pretty pointless.
hipster
Was just thinking of the tremendous changes the enviro-tree hugger movement has brought to this province (British Columbia).

Logging roads and bridges are much more carefully built if at all.  

Helicopter logging has become the norm on many steep slopes in the coastal mountains and even in the Rocky mountains. 

Clear cuts are smaller. 

There are thousands of hectares of old growth forests now under permanent protection. 
Not sure who "chump" is....   but USA forest management is much better than Canada's forest management.  And I say this as a Canadian.

lizardking wrote:

Was this before or after Sean Connery's "Medicine Man" movie?  I suppose then was the "quiet" protests about deforestation and climate change; now we MUST have a louder protest.  That's why this track gets the 8 rating from me even though it's really a 6. 

On a similar level, here's what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about Science in America as we move beyond the first 100 days of chump.  God save us (and that's from an atheist!)



 


Does anyone care?......
 kylieh wrote:
I had to look up the date of this song, 1988. Sometimes I'm amazed when I think when it was that we actually knew what we knew about climate change. And here we are now, totally f____.

 
Was this before or after Sean Connery's "Medicine Man" movie?  I suppose then was the "quiet" protests about deforestation and climate change; now we MUST have a louder protest.  That's why this track gets the 8 rating from me even though it's really a 6. 

On a similar level, here's what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about Science in America as we move beyond the first 100 days of chump.  God save us (and that's from an atheist!)


Annoying screaming vocals for a bit (the chorus) but still a very good tune.  
I had to look up the date of this song, 1988. Sometimes I'm amazed when I think when it was that we actually knew what we knew about climate change. And here we are now, totally f____.
I have never tired of hearing this one.  Thank you, Bruce!
kind of a genius, eh?
Thank u
Great to hear this one here. Bruce was really on top of his game in the 80s.
 
 DrLex wrote:

Given that ‘sound’ is variations in air pressure (according to more strict definitions, variations between about 16 Hz and 20 kHz), then it will make a sound regardless of whether there is anyone present to register those sound waves or not.

 
Nope, sound is the vibrations as they are interpreted by the brain. It isn't sound until you hear it. Which makes the whole question one of semantics and basically pointless. Though not nearly as pointless as it is when phrased as it is in this song...
This proves that songs don't have to be complicated to be good.
"Climate control center of the Earth...what kind of currency grows in these new deserts". The best protest song since Bob Dylan's.

"Grain eaters ..methane dispensers".

JT 
 DrLex wrote:

Given that ‘sound’ is variations in air pressure (according to more strict definitions, variations between about 16 Hz and 20 kHz), then it will make a sound regardless of whether there is anyone present to register those sound waves or not.

 
If a rational man tries to kill a koan with science and no zen monk is around... Does anyone still care? 

{#Ask} 
 springof63 wrote:
I'm certainly no expert, & i'll give you the artistic licence, but it's
"if a tree falls in a forest, and there is no-one there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
isn't it?
or am i just a Quantum confused?
 
Given that ‘sound’ is variations in air pressure (according to more strict definitions, variations between about 16 Hz and 20 kHz), then it will make a sound regardless of whether there is anyone present to register those sound waves or not.
I'm certainly no expert, & i'll give you the artistic licence, but it's
"if a tree falls in a forest, and there is no-one there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
isn't it?
or am i just a Quantum confused?
 Singlow wrote:
Is it just me  or is thi song better before Bruce turns to complaining about the politics of the environment ... I'm just saying....
 
Lost this album when my modest vinyl collection went kaput.  I need to recover it.  Song is awesome throughout.  And Bruce is not complaining, he's observing—which he does better than just about any other artist of his generation.
Is it just me  or is thi song better before Bruce turns to complaining about the politics of the environment ... I'm just saying....
 westslope wrote:
Funny thing here on the BC coast is that many rich people love trees.  Big trees.  The tonier neighbourhoods have lots of large mature trees.

And other rich people appear to despise trees because they get in the way of their picture post card views.

I wonder if the tree lovers are old money and the tree haters are nouveau riche.   

Recent immigrants from the Punjab generally hate trees and love clear cuts.  Must be related to historical security issues.  That and the stigma that poor people live in the trees.  

 

that's an interesting thought
Kind of a cool song : So what's the answer : "if a tree falls in the Forrest does anybody hear?" ... I think I heard something !
What forest? Aren't they all dead already?
Funny thing here on the BC coast is that many rich people love trees.  Big trees.  The tonier neighbourhoods have lots of large mature trees.

And other rich people appear to despise trees because they get in the way of their picture post card views.

I wonder if the tree lovers are old money and the tree haters are nouveau riche.   

Recent immigrants from the Punjab generally hate trees and love clear cuts.  Must be related to historical security issues.  That and the stigma that poor people live in the trees.  
Still digging this tune
{#Puke}
 Excelsior wrote:
If a tree fell on Bruce Cockburn, and no one was around to see it, would anyone care?
 

Yes.  There would be an international day of mourning.  Though the mathematical probability of that event occuring is lower than Neil Young being stung by a bee and dieing.

Now if you Excelsior were ground to pieces on a 16-lane freeway, do you think anybody outside the local community newspaper would care?



Yawn  {#Sleep}


If a tree fell on Bruce Cockburn, and no one was around to see it, would anyone care?
Definitely can dance to this one . . .
i can't tell if i like the guitar on this song of if i find it annoying. i guess time will tell.
My second favorite Zen riddle. Now, if he could just write a song about one hand clapping... :propeller:
Saw/heard him last weekend in Northampton,MA. Compelling as ever. His Linda Manzer guitars were smokin'.....
frednic wrote:
I have a bunch of this guy and have never heard this one. Not my favorite but I like the message. I think it could grow on me. yuck yuck :bananajam:
Boooooo... I like the message as well, and I'm cranky today, so I'll keep my rating to myself till the next listen.
"mangy B.C. hills" I've seen 'em. They're fugly.
good stuff!!
Thanks to this and the 'movement' fewer trees are falling -- northern Alberta tarsands boreal forest destruction aside. Anybody frequent the west coast of Vancouver Island? The Queen Charlotte Islands? The Amazon rain and savanha forests?
cc_rider wrote:
I like Bruce Cockburn, even though his music is a bit 'earnest'. Odd description, I know. I take a much longer view of our environment than Mr. Cockburn. 'Saving the Earth' is utterly ridiculous. The Earth was around long before humans were, and will be around long after. It is the ultimate hubris to think we can 'save' the Earth. Fact 1: Humans will become extinct. Somehow, someday. Accept it. Fact 2: There is NOTHING anyone can do to prevent #1. Now, those facts notwithstanding, we CAN try to make our journey on this ball (actually an oblate spheroid) a tad more pleasant. And maybe even prolong the ride. How? Simple. Clean up your mess. Remember that book, 'Everything I Need to Know I Learned in First Grade'? Rings true. Clean up your mess. Learn it. Live it. Peace Y'all. c.
Again what happens when people come from or go to Texas, where do those brain cells go! If history is correct, Natural History, we(all animals and plants) should evolve into something else millions of years from now. As long as we have a place to so do it. Life will find a way as long there is an environment that can support it. We have a responsibility to take care of our home, each one of us. We don't get to duck that responsibility just because we are but brief occupants of this planet, because life isn't limited unless we screw it up.
unfortunately too many people hear...
busy monster eats DARK holes in the spirit world... robadr wrote:
busy monster eats holes in the spirit world where wild things have to go to disappear forever one of those lyrics that never leaves your head
I have a bunch of this guy and have never heard this one. Not my favorite but I like the message. I think it could grow on me. yuck yuck :bananajam:
Way better than his more current work. Go Bruce!! Grab that rocket launcher and fire baby!!
I appreciate the sentiment, but this is the first Bruce Cockburn song I've heard that I didn't like. I'm not wishing a tree to fall on him or anything...
busy monster eats holes in the spirit world where wild things have to go to disappear forever one of those lyrics that never leaves your head
On_The_Beach wrote:
Love Bruce, but not this song. Always thought it was kinda trite and corny. Unfortunately it got a lot of airplay (up here, anyway) and people associate him with this song. Too bad. "Understanding Nothing" from the same CD is a better song.
Trite? Can't say I agree with you on that. Corny? Yep, but I dig the music, especially the understated Chapman Stick. Lyrically it was pretty relevant back then, and real conservative now, unfortunately. His estimate of 1 species per day is ridiculous today. According to worldclock we've wiped out 58 species since 12:00 this morning (Seems excessive, but I'm prone to believe everything I read on the net). Maybe he was guessing back then, but I think we've gotten better at killing stuff since the 80's. Not that I'm an environmentalist or anything.
ty
Love Bruce, but not this song. Always thought it was kinda trite and corny. Unfortunately it got a lot of airplay (up here, anyway) and people associate him with this song. Too bad. "Understanding Nothing" from the same CD is a better song.
I can't remember ever hearing this on RP before, and so it is very cool to hear it here now with folks over commenting, "I haven't heard this in ages."
I have to place comments later. THis is very cool
NewHorizons wrote:
The WWF just released this dismal report on the "health" of our planet: (click here) :eek: If that isn't enough, watch Al Gore's... :pray:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efe7LzQ36Pk
cc_rider wrote:
I like Bruce Cockburn, even though his music is a bit 'earnest'. Odd description, I know. I take a much longer view of our environment than Mr. Cockburn. 'Saving the Earth' is utterly ridiculous. The Earth was around long before humans were, and will be around long after. It is the ultimate hubris to think we can 'save' the Earth. Fact 1: Humans will become extinct. Somehow, someday. Accept it. Fact 2: There is NOTHING anyone can do to prevent #1. Now, those facts notwithstanding, we CAN try to make our journey on this ball (actually an oblate spheroid) a tad more pleasant. And maybe even prolong the ride. How? Simple. Clean up your mess. Remember that book, 'Everything I Need to Know I Learned in First Grade'? Rings true. Clean up your mess. Learn it. Live it. Peace Y'all. c.
I am pretty sure you miss what is generally meant by "saving the earth".
It's pretty Zen too, as well as the environmental question(s), what was it again, a koan maybe? you know, like 'what's the sound of one hand clappin'?' and 'what's the sound of a tree fallin' in the forest if there's no one there to hear it?' Brilliant song anyway! :meditate:
I like Bruce Cockburn, even though his music is a bit 'earnest'. Odd description, I know. I take a much longer view of our environment than Mr. Cockburn. 'Saving the Earth' is utterly ridiculous. The Earth was around long before humans were, and will be around long after. It is the ultimate hubris to think we can 'save' the Earth. Fact 1: Humans will become extinct. Somehow, someday. Accept it. Fact 2: There is NOTHING anyone can do to prevent #1. Now, those facts notwithstanding, we CAN try to make our journey on this ball (actually an oblate spheroid) a tad more pleasant. And maybe even prolong the ride. How? Simple. Clean up your mess. Remember that book, 'Everything I Need to Know I Learned in First Grade'? Rings true. Clean up your mess. Learn it. Live it. Peace Y'all. c.
Such a cool groove that it overcomes the trite analogy. I've always loved this tune.
pretty sad
I love this song!
davin wrote:
Whoa this song is really really good.
:yes:
Whoa this song is really really good.
The WWF just released this dismal report on the "health" of our planet: (click here) :eek: If that isn't enough, watch Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" web site (and documentary): (click here) :eek: Let's all join together for once! Come on! :pray: