Monday, 24 June 2013

Social Comment Songs



I like songs that have a message. No, not messages like 'stalking a girl and insisting she loves you is OK' like JB did with his song Baby. I mean songs that make a point about the world. Intellectual songs. Does that make me sound like a total and utter snobby, obnoxious goon? Hopefully not. I just like music with a bit more depth.

There are a few bands who produce some good social comment material. Surprisingly The Offspring is one of these.

Their song 'Stuff is messed up' (which, ironically, isn't a line featured in the song. Instead of saying 'stuff is messed up' they sing 'shit is fucked up'.) is a great comment on society in general. Every line is a winner and honestly, I can't say I disagree with a single thing they say. Ultimately the song feels like any normal human bean's take on the world. It's not sung in a 'serious' way and it comes across like some guy just started ranting about shit that annoys him and it's 'no big deal'.

The lines:

"I see bullets getting better, Biblical weather
And that guy on TV is like a total asshole"

are just awesome. The first part about bullets and the weather are good, sure, but the bit about the guy on TV being an asshole is genius. I mean, let's face it, there are TONS of people on TV that you look at and think "You're a douchebag."

After Dexter has finished ranting a little bit more he gives one of the music industry's finest song speeches, saying:

"Now thank God for the media, for saving the day
Putting it all into perspective in a responsible way
With more celebrity news, typical bullshit views
I think we're losing this fight -"

WAIT FOR IT-

"Sponsored by Bad Light"

And then continuing...

"And now we're rockin' the casbah and taking the flak
The genie's out of the bottle  and we can't put it back
All this stuff, it's overwhelming my brain
can you see the storm comin'? 
It's comin' this way"

It's just genius. Utterly genius and true too. The media part always makes me crack up. The sarcasm is dripping from everything he says.

The song reminds me of Billy Joel's hit song 'We didn't start the fire'. They're similar styles and meanings, although The Offspring to a better job of getting their point across.

I don't know if I should mention this next band, however. Should I? Can I, even? The thing is that bringing System of a Down into this feels like cheating. I mean, they ARE a comment, right? They, as a band, are a social comment. System of a Down isn't a band, it's an opinion. It's a view. It's a comment.

If you don't know who SOAD are or you simply don't get what the fuck I just rambled (I ramble a lot about rubbish) about, let me explain.
 
Dat smile. D'ose eyes. Dat beard. And dat... Uh.... Totally
normal guy on the left. He's just waiting for a mate.
System of a Down, are an American rock band. Nothing new there. But they're well known for having a frantic sound. They're loud and brash and they sing about pizza. Yes, pizza. However the reason I said mentioning them in this article feels like cheating is because the band itself is a social comment. That's what they are. They're a comment. Their songs are all social and political comments. They're opinionated. That's the point of the band. They don't sing about love. They sing about how many sexual assault cases there are. All their songs are making a point. That's, well, that's the point.

It's hard to mention SOAD because what song DO I mention? They're ALL a social comment. One that does come to mind instantly, though, is their song 'Boom!'. It's a song about violence and, well, bombs. All the lyrics are brilliant, so I'll let you read em' all:


"I've been walking through your streets, 
Where all you money's earning, 
Where all your building's climbing, 
And clueless neckties working, 
Revolving fake lawn houses, 
Housing all your fears, 
Desensitized by tv, 
Overbearing advertising, 
God of consumerism, 
And all your crooked pictures, 
Looking good, mirrorism, 
Filtering information, 
For the public eye, 
Designed for profiteering, 
Your neighboor, what a guy. 

Boom, boom, boom, boom, 
Every time you drop the bomb, 
You kill the God your child has born 
Boom, boom, boom, boom.

Modern globalization, 
Coupled with condemnations, 
Unnecessary death, 
Matador corporations, 
Puppeting your frustrations, 
With the blinded flag, 
Manufacturing consent 
Is the name of the game, 
The bottom line is money, 
Nobody gives a fuck. 
4000 hungry children leave us per hour, 
From starvation, 
While billions are spent on bombs, 
Creating death showers. 

Boom, boom, boom, boom, 
Every time you drop the bomb, 
You kill the God your child has born 
Boom, boom, boom, boom 
Boom/boom/boom/boom/boom/boom/boom

Why, why, why, why must we kill, kill, kill, kill, our own, own, own, own kind... 

Boom, boom, boom, boom, 
Every time you drop the bomb, 
You kill the God you drop it for.

Boom, boom, boom, boom 
Boom/boom/boom/boom/boom/boom/boom/boom 
Every time you drop the bomb."

As you can see, the lyrics are obvious. It's an obvious song. The message is clear. Not all SOAD songs are as in ya face though. Take their song 'Pizza Pie' for instance. They frantically sing 'PIZZA PIE, PIZZA PIE, PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA PIE". What does it mean? I don't actually know. I think the song is a comment on advertising? Consumerism? Maybe? I don't have a clue. Maybe it's just about how morbidly overweight some people are in America and their love for pizza. 

One band who never fail to impress me in the social comment department is Slipknot. I know some people think they are try-hard and their fans are dumb try-hards too. I know people think their fans are 'emos'. But the thing that I love about them is their angry take on the world and how Corey Taylor blasts off into angry rants about Religion, politics, the Iraq War, bullies and other things. 

One of their most self-explanatory songs is 'People = Shit', a blunt song about how, well, people are shit. Basically. 

But I think the song that sums them up the best and is their most powerful is 'All Hope Is Gone'. 
The lyrics are genius. I already took a look at this song though in another article, so check that out if you want to read what I thought about it.

Not all bands are intent on making social comments though, however chances are you'll still find a couple of their songs are about the more controversial things in life. Take Drowning Pool for instance. While their newer stuff is, well, shit, their first album was incredible. And the finale song 'Sermon' was utterly brilliant. 

It explores religion and while it may seem geared towards the more atheist type of people due to some cynical 'God doesn't really exist' lines, it ultimately poses some good questions. In the end though, you won't like the song if you're religious. It's basically saying 'If God exists, where the fuck is he when you need him?' and while I personally wouldn't totally agree with everything said in the song, I adore the way it's written and the questions it poses.

The song is breaking down religion and belief, and asking, why do you believe? Why should I believe? 


"Where was God when I, needed a friend and, where was God when I, came to an end?
Where was God when I lost my mind?
Where was God when I couldn't find?"

*Asking the question: "If God didn't help me when I needed him, where was he?"*

"Where was love when I, felt like hate?
Where was hate when I felt like love?
Where were you when you said you'd be there?
Where was the fear when I said I was scared?"

*Continuing to ask the question of where exactly is God when you need him?!*

"Tell me what you believe (Tell me what you believe)
I'll tell you what you should see (I'll tell you what you should see)
I DON'T KNOW WHO TO TRUST! (Tell me what you believe)
My heart is filled with disgust (I'll tell you what you should see)"

*I love this part. It's saying that, as with all religious (and political  actually) conversations, what you believe is not what I believe and so, to quote the lyrics: "Tell me what you believe and I'll tell you what you should see." In other words: tell me how you view religion and I'll tell you how you're wrong and how I am right. It's also pointing out that there is no way of knowing, for sure, what is true. "I don't know who to trust!" Who DO you trust? Your instinct? Your family? Your friends? What/who should you believe?*

"Ladies and gentleman
May I have your attention?
Are you ready for the joke? [laughing]
ARE YOU READY FOR THE GREAT DECEPTION?! GONE!'

*I love this part too. It's pretty self explanatory. Quite simply, it's saying God is a joke and a myth people are deceived into believing.*

As controversial as it may be, and even though I'm not an atheist, I just love the song. It gets me thinking  and that's what songs, movies, games should do.

So there you have it. A few songs and bands that get my brain working, make what I think are good points and, yeah, are a good listen! Thanks to MetroLyrics for the lyrics, by the way.

What music do you guys like? What do you think of the songs and bands I mentioned? Leave your comments below!

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