About ten years ago, the internet was delighted by the concept of autotuning things and turning them into songs. We went absolutely nuts for it back in the day and while the novelty wore off fairly quickly, there’s one song that still whips to this day – A Glorious Dawn ft. Stephen Hawkings.
You probably remember YouTube videos that used footage from news segments to create pretty catchy songs, which were arguably the most popular ones at the time. Some even made the charts in both the UK and US.
But before autotuned news videos hit dizzying levels of popularity, Washington-based electronic musician John D. Boswell created A Glorious Dawn ft. Stephen Hawkings under the moniker Symphony of Science. It was released in 2009 as a bit of an homage to the classic documentary series Cosmos and its late host, the legendary Carl Sagan. Rather than news clips, Symphony of Science creates songs with footage from rad science docos.
For the uninitiated, Cosmos is an award-winning series in which Sagan explains scientific theories and concepts in a way that’s easy to understand. Its first season premiered in the 80s, but was brought back for a second in 2014 by Sagan’s collaborator and wife, Ann Druyan, and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, of all people. Its third season, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, is set to kick off on National Geographic this year on March 9 at 8.30pm AEDT.
Where the autotuned news segments exist primarily for comedy, A Glorious Dawn has a certain earnestness to it. Sure, there’s definitely a humourous element there, but it also works beyond the realm of comedy. It simply stands on its own as a cruisy electronic tune, which is why it outlives the more popular songs in this incredibly strange genre of music.
Symphony of Science has done songs using footage from plenty of other science docos, but if you want my opinion – and you do – A Glorious Dawn is by far his best work. Without further ado, please enjoy the wonder for yourself below.
It’s so goddamn good. If you don’t feel relaxed and enlightened after watching that, you’ve somehow watched it wrong. It’s even available to stream on Spotify if that’s more your jam.
A big reason I think Sagan’s words work so well as lyrics is simply because they’re so poetic. His turn of phrase, particularly when it comes to explaining complex scientific concepts, was second to none.
And then there’s that cracking guest verse by legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkings. Two late lords of their field absolutely going off over a dope beat. Rest in peace, kings.
I can’t put my finger on exactly why I love this song so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been an enormous nerd, or have been in love with music my entire life, but either way, it rules.