The subject of Aaron Yealdall’s song and music video, “Wide Awake,” is what the Navy calls “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or what we’ve always called UFOs. My reaction to Aaron’s song is much like my reaction to UFOs — I neither accept nor understand it all, but I believe there’s something deep there and I’m intrigued. Watch the video and read the lyrics, you will be, too.
Aaron, who performs alone or sometimes with partners as Skribe, is a talented Maryland-based artist and musician. He calls his music “garage folk Americana from the land of pleasant living.” Back in radio days, I became a friend of his father, Gary Yealdhall, probably the most talented man I ever personally knew.
As Aaron gets ready to perform Tuesday on WTMD as part of its Cabin Fever Concerts, I wanted you to see his experiment in music video, prompted by his interest in the medium and by the Navy’s recent official declassification of the so-called Tic Tac video of UFOs recorded by pilots some 15 years ago. If you haven’t see that, you should take a look.
As for “Wide Awake,” it features a lot of found video off the Internet, and the compilation is something of a wonder. It got me thinking of the extreme unlikelihood that humans are the only form of intelligent life in the universe. And the way some of us are responding to the coronavirus pandemic, I only use “intelligent life” as conventional shorthand.
About the song and video (trigger warning): The sudden appearance of President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas will be jarring, and it may seem gratuitous, but I asked Aaron about it: He mixes JFK’s death in because of the obsessive (now stale) debate about the lone gunman conclusion of the Warren Commission and how, for many of the Kennedy generation, aspects of the president’s murder remain a mystery, or at least a question.
The descendants of the JFK conspiracy are with us today in right-wing, nut-job conspiracy theories about everything from the suicide of a Clinton administration figure to, currently, Bill Gates’ alleged connection to coronavirus. These crazy stories fill the right-wing/Trumpie echo chamber, and, with the Internet, they infest American society. Trump has tweeted some of these sick conspiracy theories to smear his enemies.
The subject of UFOs and interplanetary travel (the ITN) is a lot more fun. So I find Aaron’s song wistful, providing a lot to wonder about. I don’t know “if the chicken or the egg come first,” or if Big Foot is in the woods, or if life out there is intelligent or unintelligent. Maybe someday we’ll find out. In the meantime, as Aaron says, “look beyond the heavens for heaven’s sake.” Or, if that’s too much for you, there are plenty of lingering questions right here on “the old frontier.”
Wide Awake . . . fell through the ceiling into outer space… beyond the primal pains who entertain this human hate. When the lights go down we dilate. . . . So we ride again, lapping tourons on the ITN, it’s been a light year since we’ve had to hit any sort of brake. . . . Well I don’t know if the chicken or the egg come first, all the moon has to offer is a view of earth, some faded flags, and a stale debate. . . . It’s getting hard to see through unopen eyes of nonbelief, up here with all our prayers and open dreams. . . . If Goldilocks is everywhere we point our satellites we could be shaking hands with unintelligent life. . . . Let’s look beyond the heavens for heaven’s sake. . . . Back in the atmosphere, with nothing left to fear, a lot of unturned stones still on the old frontier