Music for the End of the World – My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

First, a brief update. After a consult with my IP guy, it may be prohibitively expensive for me to include song lyrics in each chapter heading. Some artists are cool with that kind of use, others want obscene royalties considering I’m an indie author sitting on $0 in total lifetime sales. Anyway, on to my first music post, which I am assured is totally cool because this is commentary, and the actual link is to a platform with a license to stream.

We’re kicking things off with Neil Young’s My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue). I know y’all haven’t read the book yet, but I imagine it playing at the end of chapter one, just after you meet Victor at Arlington Cemetery:

“Neil Young? Isn’t he a bit soft and yankee to be relevant to this book?” Not at all. Victor is an old man with a young body. He’s tired, spiritually. The world is no longer familiar, and he’s lost many friends, family members, and heroes. Neil perfectly captures the sound of someone whose time has come and gone.

Let’s dive into some lyrics. Excerpts only.

It’s better to burn out than to fade away

Pretty self-explanatory, and relevant to an old Marine deciding to go down fighting.

Out of the blue, and into the black”

Here’s where my meaning diverges from Neil’s intent. Think of a rocket launch. The sky goes from blue to black as you leave Earth. You’ve crossed into a harsh and unforgiving place; there’s opportunity, but mistakes are lethal.

And once you’re gone, you can never come back

This is a one-way trip. Whatever the outcome, the status quo dies when Victor decides to fight.

The King is gone, but he’s not forgotten”

Again, we open at Arlington. Victor is mourning a departed mentor who should be the one leading the fight. Will he find someone else to follow? Perhaps step up himself?

“There’s more to the picture than meets the eye.”

There’s more going on here than is initially apparent. But I’m not going to give away what.

BONUS SONG

My my, Hey Hey (Into the Black) performed by Billy Talent:

I’d bring the theme back at the very end of the book, they’re really one song. The more upbeat punk cover of the electric second half is young, energetic, and defiant where Neil on the acoustic front end was cracking and melancholy. It’s a generational hand-off, rock and roll can never die.

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