Take It Back

Today, getting on the road to spend the day caring for our youngest grandson, the sprawling arena rock sounds of English progressive rock superstars Pink Floyd came to life on the car stereo with their environmental anthem, “Take It Back.”

The song, from their album Division Bell (1994), is one I didn’t know before hearing it on Apple Music a year or more ago. I am much more familiar with their earlier work. The record, their fourteenth studio album (and second last studio effort), was their second after co-founder, bassist and singer Roger Waters (b. 1943) departed the band. Its opening track, “Cluster One,” has guitar and synthesizer treatments reminiscent of Wish You Were Here (1975; please see my post on the title track for some history of my experience with the band’s music). The second track, “What Do You Want from Me” reminds me a little of the albums Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979). Division Bell spawned the band’s final concert tour.

“Take It Back” is a tribute to the earth portrayed as a feminine form, Mother Earth. It tells the story of her magnificent and glorious nature and how she has been exploited and harmed, her future as a life-bearing container threatened by humankind’s activities.

The song is an emphatic criticism of humanity’s lack of action on the many studies and reports cautioning us about the need to move to more environmentally-sustainable practices and away from reliance on fossil fuels. Lead singer/guitarist David Gilmour (b. 1946) warns that “she might take it back,” pointing to the predicted long-term effects of climate change that will eventually make our planet unliveable.

“Her love rains down on me as easy as the breeze
I listen to her breathing it sounds like the waves on the sea
I was thinking all about her, burning with rage and desire
We were spinning into darkness the earth was on fire

She could take it back, she might take it back some day

So I spy on her, I lie to her, I make promises I cannot keep
Then I hear her laughter rising, rising from the deep
And I make her prove her love for me, I take all that I can take
And I push her to the limit to see if she will break

She might take it back, she could take it back some day

Now I have seen the warnings, screaming from all sides
It’s easy to ignore them and God knows I’ve tried
All of this temptation, it turned my faith to lies
Until I couldn’t see the danger or hear the rising tide

She can take it back, she will take it back some day
She can take it back, she will take it back some day
She can take it back, she will take it back some day”

“Take It Back,” by David Gilmour, Polly Samson, Nick Laird-Clowes and Bob Ezrin. Lyrics retrieved from AZLyrics.com.

Writing credits for the song are shared with English novelist, lyricist and journalist Polly Samson (Gilmour’s wife), and the prolific Canadian record producer and keyboardist Bob Ezrin (b. 1949), who played keyboards and percussion and produced the song. As the track ends, the decaying synthesizer/guitar sounds transition into a subtle intro line on the next song, “Coming Back to Life.”

The official music video begins with computer-generated imagery, then uses aerial footage to portray the magnificence of nature: green fields, forests, water, lava flows, clouds, and vulnerable ice shelves. A single, majestic tree in a field is a recurring image, at one point on fire, when a figure in a hazmat suit uses an axe to awaken the destructive forces of the earth.

The video ends with a child looking in a mirror. It’s a powerful image and makes me think of the world we’re leaving for our children (and the grandchild who’s in the next room sleeping, innocently secure and trusting in this beautiful world he observes each new day).

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here.

Here’s the official music video from the Pink Floyd YouTube channel:

And here’s a live performance of the 1994 Division Bell tour concert in Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England. (The venue was built from 1935 to 1937 and demolished from 2014-2016; the site is being repurposed with urban villages set to be completed in the early 2030s.

With my best to you,


4 thoughts on “Take It Back

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: