Culture

Rocket

A new song about saving the life of our home, Planet Earth

So make up your mind, make up your mind

Are you coming with us or are you staying behind

Songwriting is an artform that combines two languages. Music and lyrics. The relationship these two have within a song offers such potential to me as an artist. A beautiful, uplifting melody offset by lyrics that explore something darker creates a piece that can say so much more about life’s contrasting and often contradictory truths. This song ‘Rocket’ does just that. It sounds childish, sweet and innocent but listening closer and watching the stop motion video I created for it one starts to understand that it is about something quite serious. I wanted to embrace what music can do to bring messages into the air space of people who may not otherwise encounter them. In a way ‘Rocket’ is a trojan horse, a song that through light and playful melody, hides a much more imperative and urgent message.

I’m gonna buy me a brand new rocket

I’m gonna put all my best friends on it

We’re gonna find us a brand new place

Plant lots of roses and drink champagne

‘Rocket’ is one of those songs that just fell into my lap fully formed. I was living in London in an old brewery in Shoreditch. It was an awful place -- cold, dark, bars on my window and rats running from the basement to the kitchen, sometimes under my bed. I wrote so many songs during that time, and this one completely illustrates how much I wanted to get out of that place, though when I wrote it it felt like a bit of a throwaway. I sent it to my dad with some flippant comment and moved on. It was only after his and a few others’ responses that I started to see the song in a different light. Its childlike optimism and simplicity had an undercurrent that touched on something for them, and their reactions made me take it more seriously. I wrote the bridge and it all just came together. It’s like the song knew what it was before I did. For the video, I wanted to stay true to the childlike core of the song so I holed up at my parents’ house in the country for a weekend (to escape the rats) and made a stop-motion video using paper, scissors and my brother’s cracked iPhone. Limitation is one of the finest tools for making art and, with no budget and no small amount of help from my endlessly supportive family, I think this video, modest as it is, is a testament to that.

Got a message in a laser beam

Said earth is dying

‘Cause the bees have disappeared and all

The food is very nearly gone

And if we wouldn’t mind turning back

To the only home we’ve ever had

Before it gets too late

And there is nothing to save

This is a song which can be heard several ways and I like that about it. It’s a story about us, about the Earth, about greed and about escape. It’s also simply about going on an adventure with your best mates and then, when the excitement fades, remembering where you came from. It turns out to be a bit of a prescient song because people all over the world are worrying about our planet and suddenly living within limitations during this time of social distancing. This song can inspire both daydreams of escape and reflections on our global impact. It’s an opportunity to remember that the earth is the only home we’ve ever had.

Hailing from London, England, Rose Betts is a singer-songwriter with an uncanny ability to pen beautiful hooks and lyrics with a depth beyond her years. A regular on the London music scene and darling of Sofar Sounds, Rose toured the UK in 2017, self released her first EP The Stars Look Down and is currently working between London and LA on her debut album with The Heavy Group. She has received major radio play on BBC 2 and BBC 6 and continues to blur the lines of conventionality through her collaborations with art, film, theatre and virtual technology. She also currently songwriting on other projects, including US Grammy Award nominated artist Bazzi’s latest single ‘Young and Alive’.

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