Artists whether they are musical or visual, are very perceptive to their surroundings, and express what they take in through their chosen medium.
With the songs chosen below, the artists have made musical social commentaries on the state of our planet Earth and the decline of the world order of our society (but they don’t take into account the positive things that are subtly happening).
It is interesting because from the late 60’s onwards, music and art began to take a more global analysis of the world and a realisation of a common humanity, a positive thing, and a form of integration.
Ironic that this positive realisation contrasts with the collapse of moral standards in society as we know it, something that is accelerating post World War II.
The songs below, are especially selected not because they talk about the disintegration in the world but rather because they acknowledge world problems being universal, reflecting that common humanity, destiny and the idea that nobody is immune. They suggest we are in it together and have to work together to overcome the problems. Surely that is a positive thing i.e. integration?
As a Baha’i, my viewpoint is that the root cause of the problems is a spiritual one, and that transcends borders, nationalities and race. As Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Baha’i Faith says, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,”
The songs below are as relevant today (if not more so) as when they were first penned.
They talk about subjects ranging from pollution, racism, economic woes and war…… any of those sound familiar?
Links to relevant videos are provided.
1. Sign O’ The Times-Prince (1987)
Prince’s seminal music piece describing key 80s news headlines from discovery of AIDs to the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle…superb
2. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised-Gill Scott Heron (1971)
A well referenced spoken word poem written in the early 70’s alluding to the rise of commercialisation of everything. Gill Scott’s title, however, refers to the fact that real revolution cannot be commercialised, shown on tv a news event and is happening as we speak.
3. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)-Marvin Gaye
Long before ‘Inconvenient Truth’ was released, Marvin Gaye
4. Too Young To Die-Jamiroquai
Classic Jay Kay, at his best..
5. What’s Going On?-Marvin Gaye
Marvin’s ode to humanity to wake up….
6. Fear-Lenny Kravitz (1989)
Funkier than old green socks in a garbage can.
Written with the help of Lisa Bonet…great lyrics!!!
7. Something’s Got To Give-Beastie Boys
Very unique Beastie Boys song, with accompanying video that wouldn’t look out of place in Baraka
I Wish For Peace Between The Races
Someday We Shall All Be One
8. So Much Trouble In The World-Bob Marley
9. Loose Ends-Will I Am, Justin Timberlake, Pharoahe Monch & Sergio Mendes (2006)
One of best tracks on Sergio’s revival album; ‘Timeless’ (album highly recommended)
Great lyrics, great flow by Monch, lyrics by Will.I.Am and great soulful vocals by Justin. Listen to it.
Opening of Will.I.Am’s verse:
The world is changin
We in danger
’cause We ain’t changin
One of the most beautiful songs ever written…acknowledging all the things that have caused war and division in the world from religion, materialism etc.
Though, as a Baha’is we acknowledge and recognise all the great religions, we also believe it is better to have no religion than belong to one that preaches hate.
“If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act.”
Abdul Baha, Paris Talks
End lyrics of Imagine:
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
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