Let's give the man credit: Elvis Costello may have brought this song to a wider audience on his 1979 US Armed Forces LP, but Nick Lowe wrote it, and first recorded it in 1974 with his ur-band Brinsley Schwarz.
At the time, Nick has said, he saw it as a sort of satire on the flower-power hippie movement. But as time has gone by, even Nick has admitted that the lyrics of this song have acquired a different meaning -- a new earnestness, as the world has shifted gears. Whereas EC's version was all punk snarl and power chord guitars, these days Nick tends to perform this song with a ruminative folkie strum.
And in 2016, to me it seems all too apropos.
Okay, this is one time when I say, let's just reproduce the lyrics. Because they say all I want to say.
As I walk through
This wicked world
Searching' for light
In the darkness of insanity
I ask myself
Is all hope lost
Is there only pain and hatred
And our friend -- Nick or Elvis or whomever you wish it to be -- comes through with a message of hope:
And each time I feel like this inside
There's one thing I want to know
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding.
He continues on his quest, his spirit "so downhearted sometimes," wondering "where are the strong . And who are the trusted?" Oh, I've been asking myself that for the past several days.
And to me, the answer lies in another question: "Where is the sweet harmony?"
Because that's where it all lies -- finding the harmony. We have to find a way to live with each other, after this bruising and divisive Presidential campaign. And for those of us who feel that there's no room for us at the table -- we have to find a legitimate way to make our voices heard.
We all hope for peace, and pray for love. But it's understanding that has to come first. And that requires an open heart.
So yeah, please give money to Jill Stein to underwrite a vote recount. But be prepared to move on if necessary -- and keep the faith in your hearts.