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Are you in need of a pick-me-up song? If so, Peter Oren is not the guy for you. Alternatively, are you in the mood for a dose of brutal existential honesty? You’re in luck, Peter Oren is the guy for you.
The world is dying. And we are responsible. With his deeply rich, soothing baritone voice, Oren channels this frustration about mankind’s infamous gradual murder of his own home into ten songs on his album Anthropocene talking about, well, the Anthropocene.
This singer-songwriter from Columbus, Indiana (“named after a killer and a misnomer”) sings about the sensitive issues we don’t talk about (but need to talk about) with his poetic, lyrical songs addressing the critical truth of the nature of our world. Combining art and activism, he grieves about the state of our world, mourning in that low, gritty voice that makes you stop and listen to what he is saying.
His first album, Living By The Light, released in 2016 and is a storytelling reflection of his observations as he traveled across America. Anthropocene is only his second full-length album, released in 2017, and he tackles a heavy issue many ignore and are oblivious to. He shares his perspective, which is largely pessimistic (and rightly so), on this epoch — which may very well be the last one — that we must now confront.
Nonetheless, throughout these ominous tones, one can find hope, however small and struggling. Oren’s songs are a glimmer of hope in this world filled with darkness and destruction and death. This album is a rallying cry to not just simply accept these present conditions, but to take responsibility and put in the effort to change our way of life. He beautifully channels his own fears into his music, which touches on related subjects such as politics, power, and labor, to wake the listener up and instill just the right amount of fear in them to spark action, to want to accomplish something in a world that seems to be moving backwards (and even toward oblivion) at times.
Anthropocene is Oren’s secret weapon against climate change. If words and music had the power to change the world, he would have saved us all already. BUT WAIT: words and music do have the power to change the world. Oren’s said what he has to say. Now it’s up to the rest of humanity to do their part.
So listen to this album, get inspired, and actually do something before it’s too late. Peter Oren said it best himself in his finale “Welcome/Goodbye”: “Welcome to this record / Goodbye to this world.”