This Time Last Year, by Maybeshewill
Lyricos Exploratio V
The Artist: Maybeshewill
Anti-war and anti-capitalist, Maybeshewill is a multi-vocal progressive rock/post-rock band hailing for England. Many of their songs are based around samples from movies, shows, and speeches.
The Song: This Time Last Year1 (Album: Sing the Word Hope in Four Part Harmony)
Key Lyric Sections: (These are two separate snippets of the dialogue)
Clothes, videos, toys, cheeseburgers, cars, a functioning economy
You can still have a functioning economy and preserve open spaces with a little planning
Socialism! Complete disaster
You're talking about socialism
No, I'm not. I'm talking about not covering every square inch of populated America with houses and strip malls until you can't even remember what happens when you stand in a meadow at dusk
What happens in the meadow at dusk?
To tell you the truth, I am cheating a little bit, because I am using a song analysis to talk about one of my favorite movies of all time, I <3 Huckabees. While the movie deserves a lot more attention than I can give it here, consider this a teaser for a future post. The “lyrics” to this song are one sample of dialogue from the movie (It will make more sense if you listen to it, because many of the lines are from different characters). For context, the person defending open spaces is the protagonist, a poet and activist trying to make a social change.
While the movie was made in 2004, it connects to our present moment, with government spending and intervention being derided by conservatives as “socialist”. Clearly the suggestions being aired here are nothing totalitarian, and they aren’t even incompatible with a capitalist mindset. Fearmongering is an eternally reoccurring techniques used to strawman and undermine any changes to the status quo, and one needs to only look back to the Red Scare to see the problem.
The second chunk of dialogue pits the endless tide of consumerism and expansionism against the more romantic and aesthetic desires of the protagonist. He rightfully realizes that something is lost if we put productivity over living, pavement over meadows.
One of movie’s messages is that promoting social change often ends up feeling lonely and meaningless. At the end of the day, standing up for a more emancipatory future and a more utopian world will never be easy. However, it also critiques withdrawing into oneself and chasing pleasures of the material and flesh. A strong interpretation of I <3 Huckabees posits that hope, community, and activism are foundational to the creation of a life worth living.
Not to be confused with the Maybeshewill song “Last Time This Year”, off the same album