Space. The vast nothingness that stretches beyond what we, as humans, can even fathom. With all the technology currently at our disposal, we still do not know what is out there past a certain point. However, we do know that our existence on Earth is smaller than a grain of sand on the beach when compared to what is out there in the rest of the universe. So, how do we cope with the unknown? We write about it. Despite its mystery, space has always been a point of great interest to songwriters. From David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” to Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” space has appropriately been used as an allegory for loneliness and isolation again and again. That’s where Danny Starr’s song, “Ground Zero,” takes a left turn and shines.
Immediately beginning with an array of sound effects and synthesizers, Starr sets the stage for a not-so-normal pop song. His voice drenched in effects as well, he begins singing, “I’d go to ground zero to get your heart in the palm of my hand.” Referencing going to ground zero, meaning either the location of an explosion or sometimes the beginning of something, he suggests the troubles he would go through to get to this person. Continuing on, he sings, “Seventeen years away by the laws of the light / Still in my line of sight,” cleverly throwing in some slightly more technical lyrics to keep with the science theme. In saying this, it is clear that the person he is chasing after seems to be so far away from him, yet he can still see them.
Entering the chorus, the instrumentation changes up slightly with the bass taking up a more prominent role. Amongst a spacey synthesizer providing texture, Starr sings in falsetto for many of the lines, such as, “I’m begging to fly away / But I can’t hold myself back / I don’t think I could turn off track / And let the universe carry on / Without you under my arm.” While demonstrating his ability to carry a melody up and down with his voice, he is saying how he feels as if he wants to get away from everything but doesn’t believe that he could go on without this person.
Continuing on with lyrics following the theme of the song, Star demonstrates how dedicated he is to gaining this person’s love, “Let your wish be my command / Just tell me where you want to land.” No matter where in the universe they want to go, he will go with them and face anything that is thrown their way. Thinking forward to happier times and celebrations, he sings, “Got twenty years to wait / I can hold the marching band / For your answer to ‘will you take my hand?’” As demonstrated in previous sections of the song, he is willing to go through anything and wait as long as he needs to for this person. If need be, he can hold off the celebrations for another twenty years.
After another chorus, we’re led into a short but lovely instrumental section which holds up a simple melody played on a synthesizer. This brief moment in the song offers a pause to the lyrics and adds some breathing room for the listener to further immerse themselves in the setting. After allowing your imagination to be overtaken by the spacey synthesizers, Starr returns with lyrics taken from the second half of the chorus. After a couple times repeating the words, the song fades out on a single chord played on a synthesizer with accompanying sound effects.
Being a huge fan of sci-fi, I’m always happy to hear new music inspired by my favorite genre of fiction. By using the backdrop of space, a topic which everyone can relate to, and many have written songs about, suddenly becomes fresh and interesting. Going against the grain of songs using space as an isolating environment, Starr has managed to use the setting in a way which focuses more on the unimaginable distances between objects as well as the unknown. Pairing this with a catchy melody as well as an appropriately spacey instrumentation only furthers the effectiveness of what is being sung. This song is sure to be stuck in my head for days!
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