Ten years ago, my first boyfriend gave me an album called Peaceful The World Lays Me Down by obscure UK band Noah and The Whale. I never could have guessed that I’d carry these songs in my heart for a decade and beyond. It was the first death positive thing I ever loved, and I didn’t even know it yet.
The album is quirky and raw, the type of endearing ensemble jams that marked the dawning of the Age of the Hipster. Despite the upbeat sound of its singles like "Shape of My Heart" and "Five Years Time", it is a poetic ode to a mid-twenties existential crisis, the death of love and life, and decay.
Many of the lyrics from this album have become the theses of my own death positivity, expressing concisely and tenderly those things I feel implicitly. As a death positive work, I feel this album stands out because of its emphasis on, and celebration of, literal bodily decay and dissolution. This album goes beyond saying that it's okay to decay, but that to decay is the single greatest act of love we can provide this earth.
Well I know my death will not come
'Til I breathe all the air out my lungs
'Til my final tune is sung
That all is fleeting
Yeah, but all is good.
O Death, do not feel like the victor
'Cause my poor life makes you none the richer
Oh, your cold hands are clutching at cloth
I leave nothing on Earth that won't rot
As our rotting bodies
Pay back the earth its love
And our vile fleshy matter Will crumble into dust I'll be picked up by the wind And blown into strangers eyes Diffuse into their bodies In their tears when they cry 'Til I have 5000 people carrying me
Are you interested in going back to the earth? Consider and support decay-friendly burial options like natural burial, or recomposition - a dignified human composting process that is about to be legalized in Washington State!