Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bruce Springsteen and Green Day

Springsteen's 1984 song Born in the USA was commonly mistaken for a patriotic and nationalistic anthem, although the lyrics in reality represented a generation dissatisfied with government still recovering from the aftermath of the Vietnam war.

'Got in a little hometown jam so they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man'

The lyrics are very political and refers in some ways to the treatment of veterans that returned to the USA after the war and the ill treatment they received:

'I'm ten years burning down the road Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go'

The music video shows a live concert mixed in with mid-1980s scenes of working-class America, emphasizing on Vietnam veterans and mixed race 'Amerasian' children- a 'product' of the Vietnam war and not only consensual relationships with, but the rape of Vietnamese women. Springsteen makes reference to Amerasian relationships in the lyrics:

'Had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there he's all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now'

The video montage also includes assembly lines, oil refineries, cemeteries, and Springsteen posing in front of an American flag.

Although it is not as contemporary as some of the other postings, I chose this song because when I think back to music that I think has really had an impact in the past decade or so this came to mind. The song heavily criticizes the state of the United States circa 2004, with lines referencing dissatisfaction with politics of the time (the George Bush administration)and 'biased media' which can be read as a critique of coverage of the war in Iraq.

'Don't wanna nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America

Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation'

The song received good commercial success, readers of the popular alternative Rock/Punk magazine Kerrang! polled the album as best of the decade in 2009. I think that this song did capture the dissatisfaction that many people felt at the time and I feel it will still be relevant in thirty years to describe the decade in terms of opposition to the Bush presidency and the rise of 'propaganda' media covering events such as war.

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