“Anthropocene” refers to the modern geological era, when human activities such as burning fossil fuels began to have a significant impact on the Earth.
While the concept “anthropocene” began as an academic model, its use has broadened to literature, art and even popular culture.
It’s use by Cave on “Skeleton Tree” somehow seems analogous to the song “Higgs Boson Blues” from his previous album, “Push the Sky Away, where an arcane, but newsworthy idea is treated as a metaphorical device to draw out the composer’s profound emotions.
In "Higgs Boson Blues,” particle physics is used to highlight culture’s strange ability to compress space and time into a dense, meaningless void.
In “Anthrocene,” Cave seems to draw an ironic parallel between the evolutionary effect of man to his environment, while singing about what it means to be eternally human — love, loss, longing.
All the fine winds gone
And this sweet world is so much older
Animals pull the night around their shoulders
Flowers fall to their naked knees
Here I come now, here I come
I hear you been out there looking for something to love
The dark force that shifts at the edge of the tree
It's alright, it's alright
When you turn so long and lovely, it's hard to believe
That we're falling now in the name of the Anthrocene
All the things we love, we love, we love, we lose
It's our bodies that fall when they try to rise
And I hear you been looking out for something to love
Sit down beside me and I'll name it for you
The heaven bound sea
The wind cast its shadow and moves for the tree
Behold the animals and the birds and the sky entire
I hear you been out there looking for something to set on fire
The head bow children fall to their knees
Humbled in the age of the Anthrocene
Here they come now, here they come
Are pulling you away
There are powers at play more forceful than we
Come over here and sit down and say a short prayer
A prayer to the air, the air that we breathe
And the astonishing rise of the Anthrocene
Come on now, come on now
Hold your breath while you're safe
It's a long way back and I'm begging you please
To come home now, come home now
Well, I heard you been out looking for something to love
Close your eyes, little world
And brace yourself