Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rock'n'Roll tells the future

I was talking to Price today. Price is a 45 year old college student(God bless the effort) who is writing papers with musical themes for an english class. We got discussing how much can be learned from rock lyrics, and we both agreed there is a treasure trove of real life lessons that rock has bestowed upon us over the last 40 plus years.

Rock 'n' Roll lyrics serve so many purposes. Usually, they're just fun. Sometimes they are ridiculous, sometimes dramatic, or sometimes they tell a good story. The most intriguing of rock lyrics though, are the one's that seem to foretell the political future. The most famous example is probably Pete Townshend's "Won't get fooled again" from the 1971 release of "Who's Next", one of rock's true ultra-classic, epic albums. This song is timeless, and can be applied to almost any era, in any corner of the globe. In 1976, Neal Pert wrote the brilliant "2112" which appeared on the Rush album of the same title, telling the story of a futuristic repressive regime stifling individual thought and creativity. This rings very true in America today.

But there is one classic rock tune that few remember, but is actually more relevant today in America than it was when it was released in 1970. The tune was authored by John Kay, the singer/songwriter of one of America's greatest bands, Steppenwolf.
Titled "Monster/Suicide/America" from the album "Monster", it was originally penned to express dissatisfaction with America's involvement in Viet Nam. However, with a quick re-read of the lyrics, one can't help finding close parallels to the state of our union, right here in 2011.

The "Suicide" segment of the song begins eerily enough:
  "The spirit was freedom and justice
  And it's keepers seem generous and kind
  It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
  But now they won't pay it no mind
  'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
  And now their vote is a meaningless joke"...

Perfect description of todays complacency among the public and the self serving "leaders" we have mindlessly elected, don't ya think? It goes on...
  "Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
    It's got or heads into a noose
   And it just sits there watchin"

Another perfect analogy of  America's federal government, right here, right now, June 2011. It continues...
  "Our cities have turned into jungles
   And corruption is strangling the land...
   The police force is watching the people
   And the people just can't understand..."

Kay must have had the world's best crystal ball. Right on target. Anyone who has flown lately can surely relate to that police force line. It goes on to tell about incurring costs we can never pay(familiar)? and concludes brilliantly with the "America" segment of the song...

   "America where are you now?
    Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don't you know we need you now
    We can't fight alone against the monster."

Enough said. 

1 comment:

  1. that's why it never got the airplay of Magic carpet Ride