Ooberman - The Magic Treehouse

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Silver Planet

I live on a silver planet, all brand new
Five dazzling rings surround it, nights shine blue
Red giant our days are numbered, too too few
Am I reaching you?

Those endless days of summer
We'll share another

I will call you and say come back
I want you back
I'll say goodbye to

Endless days of summer
We'll share another
Somewhere...

She boarded a ship called Starchase, chose so few
She's somewhere asleep in subspace, moonbase two
Took the women and children off-world, I miss you
But I'll see you soon

Those endless days of Summer
We'll share another

I will call you and say come back
I want you back
I'll say goodbye to

Endless days of summer
We'll share another
Somewhere...

Nobody knows where my angel has gone
So I'm going to write her a song
Beam it along, beam it along, beam it along
Beam it along-long-long-long
I live on a Silver Planet...

Those endless days of Summer
We'll share another

I will call you and say come back
I want you back
I'll say goodbye to

Endless days of summer
We'll share another
Somewhere...

Night sky shines
Turning to crimson and the moons fell in
Turning the oceans over now
I will fly through the stars to you
Burn a path through the stars from me to you


Written By:
D. Popplewell/A. Flett
 
Found On:
The Magic Treehouse
 
Quotes:
Andy: I was in the van, travelling back from Reading Festival last year ('98). I saw the setting sun, red and huge, hanging in the haze like a scene from Tatooine as Luke Skywalker dreamt of leaving Uncle Owen far behind. I got home and later, the image returned. I imagined a distant sun, with a silver planet orbiting it. The silver suggested a futuristic civilisation, or maybe it was the Earth, but in the far future. I came out with the line 'I live on a silver planet, all brand new'. I then wanted to distance it from the earth, so I gave the planet rings which I imagined would look spectacular at night: 'Five dazzling rings surround it, nights shine blue'. Then, I got the image of the red sun, and imagined that this planet had the bad luck to be orbiting a red-giant star, that's about to go supernova. Our fairly average sun will become a bloated red giant star in about 5 billion years from now (we're half way through its life now) though it won't go supernova. When it runs out of hydrogen fuel, it will expand enormously and will swallow the earth. There are loads of red giants out there, Betelgeuse, one of the stars in the constellation Orion is one, you can see for yourself how red it is. There was a millennial, apocalyptic thread to the story which was unfolding, and I imagined that the race of beings on the silver planet had become technological only recently, so they were faced with the ultimate social problem - their impending extinction, hence the line "Red Giant, our days are numbered, too, too few'. This really could happen here, if humanity is wiped out now for example and about 5 billion years later humanity #2 or whatever crawls from the slime discovers technology when its almost too late. Anyway, the scene that developed was then this. Over the years on the silver planet, the inhabitants had taken the reddening sun as par for the course and ignored its gradual swelling. But at some critical point, they realise what's going on and think shit! As the sun gets larger and thus nearer, the oceans begin to boil and the nights, once blue, turn to crimson. Now, the sun becomes so large that it fills the entire sky, and never quite seems to set. Time to head to the colony ships you would think, and so, the inhabitants start building a fleet of ships. At this point I wanted to get a bit of humanity in there to balance the science, so I imagined that if this were to happen for real, there would be no way of getting everybody off in time what with an industrial economy similar to ours. So all the women and children get to blast off and most of the men are left behind, in true Titanic style: "She boarded a ship called 'Starchase', chose so few/now somewhere asleep in subspace, moonbase two/took the women and children off world, I miss you/but I'll see you soon...' The hook, 'Endless days of summer...we'll share another' was inspired by the fact that summer was over here in Liverpool and I imagined people at festivals saying 'ah well, summer's over, back to whatever, but we'll all meet up next year', or something. But, in the song, the endless days of summer refer to the hot sun that never really sets, while the imagined meeting refers to the folorn hope of the men getting off the planet too. I took the melody for that section from another disused 'Oliver Distortion' song called 'love you like my sister', a Danny song that would never otherwise be used. I wanted Sophie to sing that bit to re-create the sur-la-plage vibe that had proved a winner so long ago. Then came the chorus. 'Love you like my sister' had a great chorus melody too, very anthemic and churchy almost, and so I wrote new words and appropriated it for silver planet. Danny was fine with this. Its a good example of us working well together, but a secret cynical side of me thought, 'If I use his old chorus and stuff, he'll warm to this song and it'll stand more chance of getting through!' It would be lovely to avoid politics and such shit, but shit happens. Danny got involved and wrote the lyrics in the middle eight, 'No body knows where my baby has gone/so I'm gonna write her a song/beam it along, beam it along, beam it along beam it along-long'. This middle eight trips Alan up every time 'cos Danny cunningly slips into a different (3/4) time signature vocally. Of course, NME won't get that, and they'll just mutter about hey-noddy-noddy-no claptrap Probably. I wanted the song to be a punchy, rocky number, because fiery guitars give a sense of drama and excitement. I've always felt that a great band needs internal contrasts, needs contradictions and ambiguities, to produce a truly satisfying album, because rather than just mindlessly absorbing the music, people have to think, debate, and so on. So, I felt that the rocky element of our sound was a organic, almost contradictory combination to the whimsical, delicate elements of Roll Me in Cotton, and Shorley Wall. It shouldn't work, but it kind of does kind of thing. This 'drive for contrast' to avoid 'the usual' is endemic in our sound. But it must have been subconcious when I got to the end-section of the song. I imagined an unfolding ballad in space, as the doomed silver planet neared apocalypse. I felt a surprising surge of sadness as I imagined the moons colliding, then falling into the remaing oceans of the silver planet, causing more chaos: "Night sky shines, turning to crimson/and the moons fell in, turning the oceans over, now...' The music becomes sadder, more gentle, enters a minor key. Still a shred of futile optimism lingers in the million to one chance of reunion with a lost love, separated by the vast reaches of space. I imagined a man, looking up at the stars, vowing to follow his love up through the night. But there is no hope. The instrumental section that ends the album proper is a continuation of this filmscore concept. You can imagine the camera angle pulling away from the planet to show the cosmic ballad proceed. It was originally called 'Bass in Space' as Steve's bass notes ring out across the void, like a lament. In the background, we went to town on the ambient background noises. You can hear genuine morse code (go on, decode it!), a backward message, doom approaching suspense organs (from a stroke-of-luck midi error), fading radio messages beaming the final signals from the planet and also the single cry of a new born baby - referring to the bittersweet image of the maternity colony ship. Although the race has a chance of survival, the image of rows and rows of crying babies in a vast, echoing spaceship is mysteriously gothic. As the radio messages fade, the people on the planet fall silent and embrace nemesis. The explosion of the supernova ends 'Bass in Space' and the next section 'Now The Dream is Broken' begins. This is a beautiful tune of Danny's, written when we were sixth formers in Bradford almost a lifetime ago. During this section, we imagined the charred remenants of the planet slowly cartwheeling through space in slow motion...you can imagine the camera zooming in on a charred photo album showing a once happy family. Then finally, the music subtley shifts and we get to the end piece, an arrangement I wrote just before I finished my PhD in Birmingham. I called it Freddy's Ascent to Heaven, in tribute to tragic Freddy Mercury. It starts with an almost quizzical melody on the piano - vaguely eastern to reflect Freddy's origins, then as the flutes and clarinets join in, the strings sweep upwards in a cosmic upwelling of hope for the future. It was both amazing and humbling to watch the string section perform my composition there at Townhouse studios during mixing, the same studios in which Freddy and Queen recorded their final works. It all seems to add up somehow. So thats that! Any film bods out there that want to help us make a film about the Silver Planet should get in touch, preferably with a pile of cash and a widescreen imagination!


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