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.
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