MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

Just about everyone has been affected by the financial crisis, directly or indirectly, so it's no surprise the economy has become a subject for music.

NPR's Elizabeth Blair was particularly struck by one new song called "Taller Children." It's written by Elizabeth Ziman of the band Elizabeth & The Catapult.

ELIZABETH BLAIR: Elizabeth Ziman first got the idea for the song around the time that Lehman Brothers was going down. She remembers being struck by the immaturity of it all.

BLOCK: I'd been thinking a lot about the psychology and the behavior that spawned the disaster and, like, people being overly confident and overly indulgent.

BLAIR: Then one day, on a lunch break at rehearsal, the bass player in her band was fiddling around with a riff she really liked.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: It was just kind of so catchy that I put my sandwich down. And I went over to the road), and I started playing along and kind of, I guess, rapping to it, something like rapping.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALLER CHILDREN")

BLOCK: (Singing) We're all just taller children. We're all just taller children.

BLAIR: "Taller Children" is partly about a man Elizabeth Ziman calls Mr. Wall Street Wonder.

BLOCK: It starts off, and his life is perfect.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALLER CHILDREN")

BLOCK: (Singing) Got the kid and the pretty wife. There's the boss and there's your life.

BLOCK: This section, the breakdown section, I call it, I wrote in 13th on purpose, an odd time signature.

BLAIR: And then Elizabeth Ziman asked guitarist Danny Molad to create a repetitive, almost droning effect. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Danny Molad is the group's drummer.]

BLOCK: She recorded the line: Got the kid and the pretty wife. There's the boss and there's your life. And then she said, all right, now, record it again. Now, record it again, and again, and again. And we just layered this robotic, synthetic chorus of women.

BLAIR: Robot choir, yeah.

BLOCK: And it kind of turned into this uneven unsteadiness.

BLOCK: A chorus of lost people.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALLER CHILDREN")

BLOCK: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

It's kind of spinning slowly and slowly out of control and building and building until the guitar solo, which is the peak of the Wall Street wonder's breakdown.

BLAIR: But "Taller Children" is not just an indictment of Wall Street. Elizabeth Ziman believes that lots of people, including herself, are capable of the kind of behavior that led to the financial crisis.

BLOCK: When I was singing this, I couldn't really tell if I was berating the man or if I was, you know, maybe like empathizing with him.

(Singing) If you don't die, what's the point of winning? If you cannot die, you just keep on living.

You know, these are tendencies that we all have, to want too much and to act out of selfishness, even like unknowingly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALLER CHILDREN")

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALLER CHILDREN")

BLOCK: (Singing) We're all just taller children. We're all just taller children. We're all just taller children in the end.

BLAIR: As artists, Elizabeth Ziman and Danny Molad say they're in a completely different income bracket than most people on Wall Street. So the financial crisis didn't force them to change all that much.

BLOCK: Being a musician that, you know, is trying to come up in the world or live, it kind of felt like just the same.

I mean, we weren't...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: Yeah, I mean, we didn't really have much to lose.

BLAIR: "Taller Children" is the title track from the new CD by Elizabeth & The Catapults.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

NORRIS: And you can hear the full song, as well as rehearsal tracks, at nprmusic.org.

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