By Peter Gabriel Verse 1 Did you think that your feet had been bound By what gravity brings to the ground? Did you feel you were tricked By the future you picked? Well, come on down All these rules don't apply When you're high in the sky So come on down Come on down Verse 2 Did you think you'd escaped from routine By changing the script and the scene? Despite all you made of it You're always afraid of the change You've got a lot on your chest Well, you can come as my guest So come on down Come on down Chorus We're coming down to the ground There's no better place to go We've got snow up on the mountains We've got rivers down below We're coming down to the ground To hear the birds sing in the trees And the land will be looked after We send the seeds out in the breeze Bridge Like the fish in the ocean We felt at home in the sea We learned to live off the good land We learned to climb up a tree Then we got up on two legs But we wanted to fly Oh, when we messed up our homeland And set sail for the sky Outro We're coming down Comin' down to earth Like babies at birth Comin' down to earth Redefine your priorities These are extraordinary qualities Redefine your priorities These are extraordinary qualities To find on earth
This song fulfills everything a Terranic hymn should. It celebrates the immanent experience of being a citizen of planet earth; a part of the land. But also, incredibly, it gently redirects us from transcendent spirituality, encouraging the listener to “come on down” to the immanent spirituality being a part of Terra. It tells us to “redefine our priorities” and look to what is present, here, and worth nurturing.
The lines “tricked / by the future you picked” I believe describes the feeling of arriving at utopia only to discover that you are still you, and your life continues. To arrive in the future is to remain in the present. We transcend our physical world through technology, reaching for a future where our desires are all met, but the health of the earth shows that satisfying our needs is a different task from feeding our desires. To escape this world, to transcend it, is to leave a pile of rubble in our wake. And of course, those who manage transcend are few, and those who lie in the rubble are many. May we not be tricked into believing in desires only a few will consume. Instead, lets look at our needs and one another, and work the good land.
The fact that this song bookends the Pixar movie Wall-E is no accident. The lines “But we wanted to fly / Oh, when we messed up our homeland / and set sail for the sky” describe not only the events depicted in the movie, but also the spiritual search for planetary escape. The song encourages us to return, embrace our destroyed homeworld, and rebuild our relationship with the planet that birthed us. As is shown in the movie, it is only when we learn to love that we can build a healthy relationship with our world.