Listen Close

Music: "Listen Close" by Horrorshow
Album: King Amongst Many
Label: Elefant Traks

Having lived in Detroit proper for several years, I've been back multiple times a year since moving away in 2006. There's so much debate about Detroit's future and the media's obsession with its economic woes and decay. What it is on the surface speaks honestly of what it's been through. What it's becoming however is still hiding in plain sight, and that's why I'll always come back, and always consider it to be a true home.

The accompanying song "Listen Close" by hip-hop duo Horrorshow is actually about Sydney, and right there is proof that not everything is as it appears, nor are things as different as we make them out to be.

(Lyrics courtesy of
"Read my palms and see the evil of my forefathers"
"I can't take it y'all, I can feel the city breathing
Chest heaving, against the flesh of the evening,"
"It's deep, I heard the city breathe in it's sleep"

Can you feel the change in the air?
I never could, took a second look now I see it everywhere
Today moving so fast, becomes yesteryear
And if you can't keep up, well then you disappear
I see the lonely old buildings round my way
Slowly fall into a state of disrepair
Then the real estate buy it up, sell it off, knock it down
Then it's gone like it was never there, does anybody care?
Wood, brickwork and steel laid bare
Like the city's broken bones exposed to the open air
And there I am, the heir apparent
Surveying the damage as my neighbourhood vanishes
Without a trace-an unsolved mystery
Whole decades erased instantly
No room for sympathy in the pursuit of efficiency
The legacy of a colonial dynasty
In a city still growing out it's infancy
Built on invasion, displacement and misery
Foundations laid by blood, sweat and industry
Of convicts inspired by aspirations of liberty
Before that history goes to the grave
I listen close to the whispers of the ghosts of yesterday
From beneath the coats of paint they speak
Empty shop-fronts the faded evidence of a generation's dreams

And on a still night, if you listen close
You can still hear the whispers of the ghosts
Seek it out and you'll find that it's all around you
The sound of that which was handed down
And on a still night, if you listen close
You can still hear the whispers of the ghosts
Know where we've been to grasp where we're headed
Looking at the past from the present

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