One of the things I love doing the most during my commute to work (besides listening to podcasts courtesy of the Supernaughts Network., cough, cough, *shameless plug*) is blasting my favorite tunes via my smartphone.
Music helps to make my day and although I love the collaboration of instruments and striking vocals from a song, what equally matters as much if not more so are the messages behind the song.
No, I’m not referring to your typical bubblegum “Pop” nonsense, but songs that define situations that many can empathize or identify to.
Think of it as Public Service Announcements with background noise.
Here are some rather interesting examples:
Artist: Pearl Jam
Not only was Jeremy one of PJ’s best songs, but the theme behind it was/is relevant to many who have dealt with alienation, adolescent rage and dysfunctional families.
“Daddy didn’t give affection
And the boy was something mommy wouldn’t wear
King Jeremy the wicked
Ruled his world
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today “
The shocking ending of the video was unforgettable and it served as a cautionary warning of what can happen when a troubled teen is left unchecked or undiagnosed.
The interpretation from the video is often mistaken as the titular character has killed the students when in fact he ended his own life.
Unfortunately, two very disturbed individuals in Colorado went on a killing spree within a high school a few years after Pearl Jam’s hit song debuted.
- White Noise
Artist: Corrosion of Conformity
” Howling like a jackal
Begging to be heard
Growing like a cancer
Beliefs that fight the word
By former Punk now Thrash/Stoner Metal, CoC’s White Noise is a direct attack on racism, propaganda and the apathy that comes with it.
Lead singer Karl Agell delivers strong conviction as he belts out lyrics that call for an end to oppression.
The guitar riffs gives the song an upbeat tempo however things get serious during the closing verse of the song;
“When they cracked the whip, nothing was said
When the flames burned, nothing was said
When they notched the barrels, nothing was said
When the bays opened, nothing was said
When the dogs were set loose, nothing was said
When colors run red, nothing was said
When innocents cried in the face of the guilty
No one said anything!”
- She think His name was John
Artist: Reba McEntire
Album: Read my Mind
I’m no fan of Country Music by any means and what I loathe even more is Country Ballads!
But this song tells a very haunting recount of a woman who is dying from AIDS, which she had acquired after having a one-night stand with a man whom she did not know. Upon learning she had gotten AIDS, she struggles to remember the man with whom she had sexual intercourse with. The woman in question cries herself to sleep over dreams and life’s milestones that she will never experience (i.e. marriage and motherhood), and former friends abandoning her due to her decisions that led to this illness. It’s a very scary tale of how one woman’s encounter with a man she met at a party, led to her acquiring HIV and eventually dying of AIDS!
My wife happened to play this song while we were having dinner one night and at first I mocked the song because I had no idea what it pertained to.
As I heard the rest of the lyrics, I was taken a back in shock. I admire and respect Reba for producing a song that is not only bold, but also serves as a dire message about the consequences of unprotected sex. I’m certain that the events are similar to what plenty of unfortunate individuals have experienced. Very sobering song.
- Bang, bang!
Artist: Dr. Dre
Album: The Chronic 2001
This song went by unnoticed and never got the attention that it so deserved.
With “Bang-Bang”, Dre addressed the senseless epidemic of Gansta Killings-primarily within the black communities.
With lyrics such as-
“Now tell me, what the fuck is this man? Niggas doing brothers in worse than the Klan”
How could one not stop to feel shocked and saddened by the constant loss of life especially casualties like innocents caught in the crossfire?
In a perfect world, more education and less guns should be the probable solution to this problem.
At least Dre put it out there now about those Beats Headsets, can I get a discount?
- Tie – Body Count
Artist: Body Count
Album: Body Count
As with the Beastie Boys’ debut album License to Ill, Body Count also has another excellent first entry album. And among the colorful list of songs, “Body Count” also focuses on gang warfare within the hood. What also makes this song stand out is the attack on class warfare as well. The so called “haves” don’t endure a fraction of the hardships that the “Have-nots” often face.
“The World’s insane when you drink Champagne and I’m living in Black Rain”
Followed by cryptic lyrics such as-
” Last weekend thirty-seven kids killed in gang warfare, in my backyard”
It seems nowadays between his acting gig from Law & Order: SVU and residuals from his recordings, Ice-T is drinking plenty of champagne while many are still living in “Black Rain”. Ah, ‘murica.
Also if “Black lives matter”, there should be protests directed against Gang Violence as well as a few corrupt Police Officers.
- Drinking and Driving
Artist: Black Flag
Album: In my Head
Ah, one of my favorite LA Punk Bands with the song’s title that is self-explanatory. Driving while drunk, kills motherfuckers from all walks of life! Frontman Henry Rollins belt out a chorus that’s quite catchy;
“Drink, drink, drink, drink
Drink, drive, kill”!
“Party down, party down
Drink until ya can’t even see
Fill your car with your buddies
And wrap it around a tree”!
With songs like D&D, Black Flag proved that Punk Music isn’t all about angst and uproar.
While the song’s verse is a blatant warning of the repercussions behind alcohol irresponsibility behind the wheel. The song ends with a simulated car crash sound of course.
Well kids, I hope that you can take what you will from these “PSAs” as the power of music can also be utilized as a precautionary tool. Do you have any favorite or thought provoking message related songs?
Feel free to drop ’em within the comments section below.
- After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.
- Of the reported 3,407 single-bias hate crime offenses that were racially motivated, 66.4 were motivated by anti-black or African-American bias, and 21.4 percent stemmed from anti-white bias.
- Women account for one in five new HIV diagnoses and deaths caused by AIDS. The vast majority of women diagnosed with HIV (84%) contracted the virus through heterosexual sex.
- The dangers and chances of being killed from black on black crime seems worse than that of the KKK!
- EVERY DAY IN AMERICA, ANOTHER 28 PEOPLE DIE AS A RESULT OF DRUNK DRIVING CRASHES!