They told me that the classics never go out of style but, they do, they do.
Somehow baby, I never thought that we do too.
– “Worms of the Senses”, Refused
In style or not, you’d have to be pampered, tone-deaf guinea pig living in a sheltered hamster-ball-topia with giant wads of cotton stuffed in your ears to not hear the incredible, revolutionary force of the album The Shape of Punk to Come by the Swedish group Refused.
If you were trying to organize your record collection by putting them in labelled boxes sorted by genre, I don’t think you could do it. Listening to The Shape of Punk to Come, it’s pretty obviously punk, but there’s more. It’s got the angsty, blood-curdling, empowering screams and heavy, rhythmic power chords that every good hardcore band should have, but there’s also flavors of experimentalism that I usually associate with the art rock style of Pink Floyd (did I just commit punk heresy by saying that? Maybe the Velvet Underground instead), taking the listener down from the angry pedestal of rebellion to introspectively reflect upon the same revolutionary, anti-commercial themes through a more level, sober lens. The album features spoken-word poetry, sounds from the streets, electronic music, Eastern European folk, and even some accordion. It seems that the band thought up every musical rhetorical strategy they could use in order to get their message across to the listener on every level possible, appealing to both the radical vigilante and reflective philosopher found in the minds of many music lovers. Continue reading
Every so often, the ground shakes beneath your feet. Usually it’s just a little tremble, testing your ability to stand upright while all that surrounds you shakes. But every once in a while, your entire world is shaken to its very foundations. All that has been built over last few decades, maybe even centuries could be uprooted, shaken, and crumble to the ground. During the 1960’s the world that had been established by generations previous — a perfect little world with definitive lines to divide right and wrong — experienced a violent earthquake that shattered the validity of previous belief systems.
The brilliant protest song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is one of the songs that put the legendary Irish rockers, U2, on the map. It is considered to be one of the all-time greatest protest songs by music aficionados and is ranked number 272 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The song is essentially mimicking the chaotic atmosphere of a conflict zone with its militaristic drums, “edgy” (pardon the pun) guitar riffs, and graphic lyrics describing the violence in great detail. While the specific instance depicted in the song is Bloody Sunday, the infamous shooting that took the lives of thirteen young men, that took place in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1972, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” has become an anthem for those of all nationalities living in conflict zones across the globe. Structure and intricacies set aside, the meaning behind “Sunday Bloody Sunday” can be summed up in a simple yet eloquent question: “Why must we fight?”