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In a box - Mp3 and lyrics to new population song by Michael Bayliss and Scott Andrews

Singer and keyboard player, Michael Bayliss writes about this song from the digital album he performs with Scott Andrews, Shock Octopus: The purpose of writing "In A Box" was to juxtapose the 'reality' in the verses of urban life becoming ever denser, smaller, claustrophobic, compartmentalised, and restrictive, to a chorus that is is the polar opposite. That is, expansive, never-ending, full of possibility, free, and I guess beautiful. I wanted to juxtapose the difference literally in the music, from a hard sharp verse to a lilting chorus. Shock Octopus will be doing a live to air gig at 3CR 855 am at 2pm on the Burning Vinyl program.

In A Box

Play this song.

I live in a small white box
It is in a larger box
I live here with other people
They all live in boxes too
Our little box has no garden
Just a thyme plant in a pot
It looks boxed in
Just like me
So hard these days to buy some space
We work all week for our envclave
With a box above my head
With a box below my bed
And it goes right down the street
Box on box, box after box
I find it hard, so hard to breathe
With the whole world closing in

This house I live in
It has so many rooms
It would take many years
To wander through every hall
And nobody else
Lives with me in this house
It’s just me on my own
To get lost in my thoughts

I feel boxed in

I leave my box to go to work
I drive to work in a box
And share the road with other boxes
The radio blares from a box
My work is up a tall white box
I travel up a small grey box
I feel boxed in!
My office space, compartment box
I stare all day at a box
Excel’s full of little boxes
Lunch break go back down the box
And lunch today is a Bento Box
Tea tonight in front of box
My mind’s not here my mind has flown
To dream of bigger better things

This house I live in
It opens to a yard
It’s so large and so lush
And it goes on beyond horizon
And nobody else
Can find me way out here
It’s just me in the garden
To get lost in my thoughts

And I could walk all corners of my mind
And reach the edge, and I know, that here too I’m confined

I lost my job, I lost my box
I now work in a smaller box
I lost my home, I lost my box
I Live in a smaller box
Closing in, closing in
My whole damn world in closing in
Closing in, closing in
My whole damn world is closing in

I Feel boxed in

Background to this song.

Michael Bayliss is an environment and population activist who lives in Melbourne.

The purpose of writing In A Box was to juxtapose the 'reality' in the verses of urban life becoming ever denser, smaller, claustrophobic, compartmentalised, and restrictive, to a chorus that is is the polar opposite. That is, expansive, never-ending, full of possibility, free, and I guess beautiful. I wanted to juxtapose the difference literally in the music, from a hard sharp verse to a lilting chorus.

There are a number of influences in the song. Foremost is Talking Heads, who made an early career of putting urban anxiety to funky rhythms, 'Cities' is definitely one song people should check out. I was also moved by attending a Reconciliation Rally a while ago where an aboriginal activist equated western lifestyles to a series of boxes. Finally, I was really moved as a child by the book 'The Secret Garden' where there is an empty mansion with vacant hallways and rooms just waiting to be rediscovered, and an untamed garden that went on forever. That always touched me in a really profound way.

I think music has traditionally been a very powerful tool for expressing emotional reaction against oppression, it was a tool that always moved a generation in the 60s, 70s, and perhaps a lesser extent the 90s, and is something I would really like to see more of. That the urban space of our cities influences so much of our lives, moods, happiness, sense of space etc, I'm surprised that there aren't more of these kind of songs.

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Comments

Good stuff Michael! And you're on the money with your assertion that it moved a whole generation of artists during the 60 and 70s in particular. With regard to boxes, I will always remember Malvina Reynolds hit from the early 60s 'Little Boxes' and it comes to mind whenever I hit suburbia and is even more profound than ever today.

The Kinks and their contemporaries wrote and sang/recited about the issues of the day and much of the stuff they produced was not only good music but also prescient in many ways. Issues ranged from social in/justice, the environment, to politics, war especially Viet Nam, &c.

Personally, I don't believe humanity knows where it is going. Our current answer is to any of the myriad problems we are presently facing: is more of the same! I've been reading the Universal Man, a piece on John Maynard Keynes, and in many ways today is not too dissimilar to the 1920s. You could say that humanity is boxed in!!

How soul destroying it is not only to live in a box but to travel in a box and then be focussed on boxes within boxes daily at work and then again at home after work. I like this song for its heartfelt protestation against what is an unreasonable and unnecessary imprisonment.