Monday, July 14, 2008

RATM- Sleep Now in the Fire

Some of you are interested in looking at music lyrics that contain references to historic events. One song several people have expressed interest in is Rage Against the Machine's "Sleep Now in the Fire."
Lyrics:
http://www.ratm.net/lyrics/sle.html
After reading the lyrics and listening to the song(you may choose another song as well) post your comment here. In your comment, you may want to discuss which historic events or references are made in the song. You may also want to discuss the overall message of the song and/or the "tone" of the song. (What does the song mean? What if anything, does the artist or group hope to achieve by writing and performing this song?)

Another song kids have analyzed in the past is Flipsyde's "U.S. History."
Lyrics:
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/flipsyde/ushistory.html
Past posts dealing with music and history:
http://hansengeorge.blogspot.com/2008/06/more-on-theme-of-history-through.html
http://hansengeorge.blogspot.com/2007/11/music-that-made-difference.html
http://hansengeorge.blogspot.com/2008/06/examining-us-history-through-lyric.html

11 comments :

Foley US Hist said...

When I saw this project, I honestly could only think of 1 album and that was The Manic Street Preacher's "The Holy Bible". Picking 1 song what a challenge... and then picking one that wasn't too offensive and lacked obscenities was another one. I chose "The Intense Humming of Evil" because it was the most directly about ww2 as a whole and the holocaust.

"The court has come. The court of the Nations and into the courtroom will come the martyrs of Majdanek and Oswiecim. From the ditch of Kerch the dead will rise, they will arise from the graves, they will arise from flames bringing with them the acrid smoke and the deathly odour of scorched markings. And the children they too will come, stern and merciless. The butchers had no pity on them. "They are the victims" judged the butchers. Today the tear of a child is the judge, the grief of a mother is the prosecutor.

You were what you were
Clean cut, unbecoming
Recreation for the masses
You always mistook fists for flowers

Welcome welcome soldier smiling
Funeral march for agony's last edge
6 Million screaming souls
Maybe misery - maybe nothing at all
Lives that wouldn't have changed a thing
Never counted - never mattered - never be

Arbeit macht frei
Transports of invalids
Hartheim Castle breathes us in
In block 5 we worship malaria
Lagerstrasse, poplar trees
Beauty lost, dignity gone
Rascher surveys us butcher bacteria

Welcome welcome soldier smiling
Soon infected, nails broken, hunger's a word
6 Million screaming souls
Maybe misery - maybe nothing at all
Lives that wouldn't have changed a thing
Never counted - never mattered - never be

Drink it away, every tear is false
Churchill no different
Wished the workers bled to a machine"



A link to all the lyrics on the album:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-holy-bible-album-manic-street-preachers.html

Lea Hansen-George said...

Could you tell me a little about the group? You mentioned many of their songs deal with political or social issues. What is their background? Do you know what motivates them to write and perform political/socially conscious music?

Foley US Hist said...

The Manics are a Welsh socialist-influenced rock group. They arose from working-class backgrounds.

In their early days (pre-1995) They had a 2nd guitarist and co-writer of Lyrics named "Richey James Edwards" who went missing in 1995. He was an emotional unstable young man who had a nasty drug habit, an eating disorder, and self destructive tendencies which made many believe he committed suicide. He was also an avid reader, an intellectual and extremely politically involved. All the members of the group were disdainful of much of pop culture and were also politically involved.

For the mentioned album, Richy wrote all of the lyrics, hence why I'm focusing on him. Since he isn't in the band anymore, the groups other albums are a but less politically motivated, and musically they've become less harsh punk influenced, to more of an almost mellow feel.

drake w. said...

this song tells what the writer of song sleep now in the fire thinks about the many events in history that he felt could have been avoided or handled in a different way...

the nina,pinta,and santa maria talk about the columbus who brought over the slaves from africa in which the slave owners would rape there slaves and the noose talks about that was most associated which blacks when they were hung, which was also known as lynching.

Lea Hansen-George said...

drake- James Loewen's, Lies My Teacher Told Me is an excellent resource if you are interested in exploring the topic of Columbus and his encounters with the Awawak people. Howard Zinn's, A People's History of the United States is another good resource.

Lea Hansen-George said...

foley - This satisfies another project requirement.

Lea Hansen-George said...

drake. Okay, this satisfies a project requirement. What are you working on now? If you need help with anything, don't be afraid to ask. I've also included some ideas in the "Links People Are Looking For" and "And More Ideas" posts.

Aagaard_US said...

I think in Sleep Now In the Fire", LaRoca is listing a bunch of things that have happened throughout history that were unjustified violent and malicious acts for the gain of unreasonable power "The World is my expense". When he says "Jesus Blessed me with it's future", I think he's making a point that A: alot of the "villains" of history, at least in america, have used Christ as justification for what there doing, and B: many other tyrants and murderers have "killed in the name of god".
The Nina the Pinta and the Santa Maria is like drakew said, the ships that columbus used to transport native Americans/Caribbeans as slaves. Noose rapist and overseer talk about the later history of american slavery, and the agents of orange is a reworking of "Agent Orange" which was a chemical developed to quickly decay and destroy foliage in the vietnam war. Priests of Hiroshima I think refers to the Jewish priests that survived the hiroshima bombing supposedly by praying.
So Basically it's another cliche song by rage, full of anger and really awesome innovative guitar work, especially the radio at the end, haha.

Aagaard_US said...
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Aagaard_US said...
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Lea Hansen-George said...

aagaard - You made me laugh!

Anyway, good analysis of the song. This was your final project! Have a great summer!

I like exclamation points!