Today’s Song: Ken Yates’ Soothing & Stirring Apocalyptic Lullaby “The Big One”

Ken Yates © Jen Squires
Ken Yates © Jen Squires
An enchanting song of acceptance and resolve, Ken Yates’ “The Big One” is a soothing and stirring apocalyptic lullaby that finds refuge in the face of life’s fragility.
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Stream: “The Big One” – Ken Yates




Life is sacred, brittle, and easily broken, and there’s nothing quite like looking our vulnerability straight in the eye and going, “I accept these terms and conditions.” An enchanting song of acceptance and resolve, Ken Yates’ “The Big One” is a soothing and stirring apocalyptic lullaby written with the end in sight. Rather than spend these moments worrying about his impending doom, Yates doubles down on his loved ones, recommitting himself to them with a reassuring message of connection and presence. With this in mind, we might as well interpret “The Big One” is a big hug – and one we’re ready to accept with wide open arms.

Cerulean - Ken Yates
Cerulean – Ken Yates
Well the sun is shining but the T.V.’s on
And you’re in there somewhere with the blinds all drawn
And I know I’ll find you in your unmade bed
Letting news channels get inside your head
And the world is burning while the earth it floods
But we’re all just posing looking out for us
When the ice is melting when the damage is done
I’ll be holding your hand when the big one comes
When the big one comes

Independently released March 11, 2022, “The Big One” (featuring Kathleen Edwards) is the lead single off Ken Yates’ forthcoming fourth album Cerulean, due out June 3. Following 2020’s Quiet Talkers, “The Big One” finds the Canadian singer/songwriter weaving a wondrous tapestry of gentle, cathartic, hypnotic sound. A warm blanket of ethereal and lilting guitars envelops the ears alongside Yates’ inviting, comforting voice, creating a tranquil space for reflection and rest despite the subtle urgency suggested by Yates’  end-of-times lyrics.



Yet as we quickly realize, Yates isn’t singing about the ins and outs of the end itself; he’s singing about keeping your loved ones close through thick and thin, and making sure they know that you’re there for them – that you’ll always be there for them, no matter what happens (even the end of the world). Yates offers himself as a sanctuary to the surrounding chaos, whether it comes from news channels that get inside the head, or the world burning while the earth floods.

And the sins of fathers hang over their sons
While our mother’s daughters fight to be someone
And the pills aren’t working they just clutter your mind
And we’ll all get sober for a matter of time
I sing all these songs about how I feel
Never really talking to anyone real
But one thing I know when it’s all said and done
I’ll be holding your hand when the big one comes

“Believe it or not, this song was written before the pandemic,” the singer/songwriter tells Atwood Magazine. “I was traveling in the Pacific Northwest with someone who was constantly mentioning the Cascadian Subduction Zone, a fault line predicted to cause a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, also known as The Big One. I couldn’t stop thinking about how entire societies of people live there with the knowledge it’s going to happen at some point, and when it does, they’re totally f***ed. There’s something poetic about that acceptance. It was the first song I wrote for this album, and it certainly opened the door to digging deeper into inner struggles for me. It was almost a thought of how it’s easier to distract yourself with the end of the world rather than face your own feelings.”

“In the last couple of years it feels like we have all developed a slight doomsday mentality, myself included; feeling like the world might be ending. Of course, we’re not really sure how, so this song is reckoning with the ‘armageddon’, and a realization of how trivial a lot of our personal relationships or conflicts can be when we are staring face-to-face with the end. The only thing to do is ride out your last few moments with the people you love.”

Don’t worry baby, if we’re caught in the swell, we’ll be there together for better or for well. When the sky is falling I won’t turn and run. I’ll be holding your hand when the big one comes…

Ken Yates © Jen Squires
Ken Yates © Jen Squires



So we’ll call our parents every Sunday night
And we’ll check the weather and tell them we’re fine
And we’ll spend our money on things that won’t help
And we’ll all get tattoos when we’re bored of ourselves
Don’t worry baby, if we’re caught in the swell
We’ll be there together for better or for well
When the sky is falling I won’t turn and run
I’ll be holding your hand when the big one comes

Grandiose yet quiet, epically cinematic yet utterly serene, “The Big One” is a tender tempest ready to unleash a special kind of havoc in our hearts.

It’s a poetic, socially critical song of rebalancing and refocusing; of reminding ourselves what really matters in this life.

Standing resolute like a beacon of solace and love, Ken Yates shines especially bright on this welcome return. He’s starting off at the end, but this is not an end: At least, it doesn’t have to be if we don’t let it. Together with fellow singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards, Yates makes “The Big One” a song we’ll keep coming back to again and again, be it for release and relief, comfort and sanctuary, or the sweet knowledge that we’re not alone even in our own demise.

When the big one comes
I’ll be holding your hand

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:: stream/purchase The Big One here ::
Stream: “The Big One” – Ken Yates



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Cerulean - Ken Yates

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