Shelf Life

Words & Music by James Kennedy

'Shelf Life' is an Alternative Rock song & the 6th song on the 2012 Kyshera album 'Made In China'. The words, music & production are by James Kennedy.

'Shelf Life' was one of the 1st songs that Kennedy wrote for 'Made In China' and remembers starting to write the lyrics whilst on a train to Neath College on day. The song is built around acoustic Guitar chords written using Kennedy's trademark B9 tuning (B, F#, B, F#, B, C#). Kennedy has said that he likes experimenting with different Guitar tunings because the lack of knowing 'where things now are' on the fretboard forces you to write 'by ear' again rather than by following familiar muscle movements. 'Shelf Life' is one of the more 'song' oriented tracks on 'Made in China' and is mostly in 4/4 timing until the Middle 8 where 7/8, 5/8, 7/16 & other time signs are heard. Vocally, the verses feature Kennedy's spoken whisper 'rap' style heard on other tracks. The Chorus features the unique Violin sounding Guitar part which defines the chorus. Kennedy says he can't remember exactly how that sound was created but it was definitely recorded backwards & then reversed in Post Production, among other things. The Middle 8 features odd time musical stabs & layers of noise whilst the Drums solo through several quick succession changes of time sign before the final chorus & ending of the song.

Lyrically, the song is one of the more cryptic & poetically styled on what is otherwise a very overt album although Kennedy has said that it is about consumerism, the environment & vacuous modern values. In the music video, Kennedy throws various amounts of money in to a bin whilst facts & statistics about wealth inequality appear throughout. At the end of the video, Kennedy sets the bin (and the money) on fire.


Bleached teeth, cheap plastic sleek

Can’t stop your eyes from screaming defeat.

Fat-free, TV, diluted to a product of industry

Safe, clean, pet routine

Tasteless, faceless Pleistocene Queen

In your plexi-glazed shopping cage

In a gridlocked maze of redecorated rage.

Tranquilized by culture

Cauterized with sugar

Dressed up tight in Polythene

Standardized buying machine.

Blind, deaf, dumb but able

To keep a glass Palace stable

With your credit card fate, recycled bite-sized hates

Rely on the ideals that the adverts create.

Young, white, obedient and healthy

Passive, guilty and materially wealthy

Devoted fears of being small

Make you scared to reach further just incase you fall.

Sterilized autonomy

Civilised like Barbie

Victimize for comfort

Sense of love when you’re buying and lying to yourself.

Your shelf life has dated

Saccharified your last breath

Fossilize in your packaging

Plasticized Dark Age