By the Waters of Babylon

Album: Single Release Only (2015)
  • Will Butler wrote this song after reading in the Guardian a story about ISIS members destroying millennia old artifacts in Iraq's Mosul museum. "I can't imagine the sorrow and rage of the people whose lands have been overrun by Isis," Butler said, "whose family and friends are murdered, whose culture is being destroyed."

    "This song is not a policy prescription," he continued. "The last lines should evoke horror. But the emotions behind the words are ancient and real."

    "Mosul is a part of our heritage, part of the world's heritage," Butler concluded, "and the loss of its history is heartbreaking."
  • This evokes Psalm 137 from The Bible, which was written during the Jews Babylon exile in around 600 BC. Butler described the Psalm as, "a song of sorrow and rage from the mouth of a refugee whose city has been destroyed."

    He added: "The sorrow portion of the psalm is extremely famous and often quoted - 'How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land'" The rage portion of the psalm is less often brought up - 'O daughter of Babylon... happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth they little ones against the stones.'"
  • Psalm 137 was previously borrowed by roots reggae act The Melodians for the rastafarian anthem, "Rivers Of Babylon." The song was famously covered by Boney M in 1978.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Butch VigSongwriter Interviews

The Garbage drummer/songwriter produced the Nirvana album Nevermind, and Smashing Pumpkins' Gish and Siamese Dream.

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-NightersSong Writing

These Three famous songs actually describe how they were written - late into the evening.

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

KissFact or Fiction

Kiss is the subject of many outlandish rumors - some of which happen to be true. See if you can spot the fakes.

Jeff TrottSongwriter Interviews

Sheryl Crow's longtime songwriting partner/guitarist Jeff Trott reveals the stories behind many of the singer's hits, and what its like to be a producer for Leighton Meester and Max Gomez.

Chris TomlinSongwriter Interviews

The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.