Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Music and Politics - Billy Joel & Anti-Flag.

The back end of the 1980s was a mixed time of reflection and a rush of apprehensivness towards the future. It could be suggested that there was subconcious awareness of a world stricken from the result of conflict and injustice, and for many Americans this could have been the first sign of distrust in the west; following the atrocities reported in Vietnam, and the close encounter with nuclear warfare as a result of the Cold War.
The 80s were no less an example of political strife, with many feeling their voices were not being heard and distrust in a metaphorically deaf political government.
Music was a way of reaching the wider audience and expressing personal beliefs, to which the audience would be other people - ordinary people - who agreed and shared in their conceptional understandings. Lyrics such as those written in the song "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy
Joel, I think particularly go to symbolise a deeper message understanding of the political world.
Although seemingly just a jumble of names and events, are all relevant and related to particular moments in time that were monumentous in their impact on the world; positively and negatively. The title "We Didn't Start The Fire" is an opinion that the world has always been in conflict, and was not started as a result of the current generation which frequently, some believe, is to blame for the current problems we face today.
On this note, I think the best acts as an epitome for a heightened political awareness is Anti-Flag, who, whilst on a different coin in terms of lyrical language, express their own political disgust through cold hard facts that make a point to expose the controversial moves made by the government, covering all from money to injustice. The song I have chosen to include here is "1 Trillion Dollar$" which attacks the money spending of the federal government in Iraq and Africa, and slates:
One trillion dollars could buy a lot of bling, One trillion dollars could buy most anything, One trillion dollars buying bullets, buying guns, One trillion dollars in the hands of killers, thugs.
The band's message provokes an almost "chanty" and influential voice which can be seen echoed by those who comment on the video for example, and as such has led to a "cult-like" following.
Both videos are therefore different in their approach, with Billy Joel's words claiming that the world has always seen conflict and that no one can really be blamed, however we can see that Anti-Flag's opinions highlight government actions and contrast them with indifference and a sense of powerlessness in the face of democracy.

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