Songs that shaped your world view

There are some people, like The Figurehead, who have been music fanatics throughout their lives. For people like me, music has played a vital role in shaping my world view. Sounds rediculous, right? In some cases that’s true.  I personally don’t give a darn about what the Dixie Chicks or Dave Matthews think about domestic and world affairs. I’m not talking about getting my politics from an out of touch musician here. I’m talking about songs that have stuck in your conscience through the years. Those songs that have shaped your opinion about something – something you’ve considered closely, and only then decided that you did agree with what that particular song said to you. I also lump songs into this category that didn’t necessarily shape an opinion in you, but carry some weight in your pantheon of moving songs anyway.

Here’s a quick list of songs that I recall having an effect upon me a teenager and young adult.

Suburban Home by The Descendents: To this very day, when our society’s “keeping up the Jones” epidemic starts to sicken me I go back to this song. “I want to be stereotyped. I want to be classified. I want to be a clone. I want a Suburban home.”

Merchandise by Fugazi: 10 years or more before I knew anything about Dave Ramsey, Ian MacKaye taught me about debt’s strangle hold on society: “Merchandise, it keeps us in line. Common sense say’s its by design. You are not what you own.”

New Years Day and Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2: I could list a dozen or more U2 songs that mean something to me. This is the first one that gripped me though. It taught me that bands that weren’t overtly punk could have a social conscience as well.

Only the Young – Journey, Change – John Waite, Lunatic Fringe – Red Rider: All of these songs appeared on the Vision Quest soundtrack. To this day, I break out into a sweat when I hear Only the Young, tears fill my eyes when I hear Change, and I go into a trance when I hear Lunatic Fringe. I’d rather not explain all the reasons, but if you know me you already know why.

This list could go on forever. I’m more interested in hearing about the songs that made a dent in your lives, my Figureheads.

A few  more of the Figureheads for good measure: Come as you Are by Nirvana, Rise Above by Black Flag, One Love by Bob Marley, The Captain and the Kid by Jimmy Buffett.

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7 responses to “Songs that shaped your world view

  1. Love this post and totally agree. Its obvious that music has a hold on culture and people ,say, “Straight Edge” which is a culture and a conscience owed entirely to one song. Ian MacKaye sits at the right hand of Rollins on the throne of hardcore. My personal favorite by Ian MacKaye and Fugazi “Waiting Room” “Dont tell anybody but I got a big suprise I am gonna fight for what I want to be”

  2. You’d love this documentary I watched last night. BT hooked me up with it. It’s called American Hardcore; it chronicles the rise and fall of hardcore punk in the US. Lots of unbelieveable footage for Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, etc.

    Ian tells a story in the film about how HR from Bad Brains pulled him aside at a show. HR told Ian that he had really started something with the “Straigh Edge” thing and that he needed to get out there and tell the kids what was up. Ian was stunned to find out the power of that song.

  3. I have seen bits and pieces of it but have yet to see the movie from start to finish. My post tommorow is all about Bad Brains oddly enough. There are just a few of the Oldschool bands that I listen to almost daily and Bad Brains is one of them.

    I have had friends along the years that were living Straight Edge they have crazy allegiance.

  4. Alright, I risk sounding like a real music cheeseball in this discussion but, of course, I’ll respond to the post anyway. My ex and I separated in April of ’04. It was June of that year I was living by myself and getting ready to go on a cruise the next day with my daughters. I’m packing and for the first time heard the Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dieing”. I’m telling you, it instantly changed a lot in my life. Because of that song, I walked into my bathroom and shaved my head. Why? B/c I’d wanted to for sometime. I booked a trip to Yankee Stadium with some good friends. Why? B/c I’d always wanted to go. I went to my first UFC fight in Vegas. Tickets cost an arm and a leg. So what. It really just made me think about why was I putting stuff off in life.

    Great post Figurehead. I will be thinking about this all day. By the way, I watched “Vision Quest” every night for a week leading up to the State Wrestling Championships when I was in the 9th grade. Went on to win state that year. Great movie.

  5. Growing up, I thought I would go to Hollywood and make it. I would be funny, I would be serious, I would act and be great at it. Or I would make films/direct. I thought Hollywood was the end all. As I got older and God worked on my selfishness, something changed in my mind and I understood the false hope I saw in California after hearing one song. I was alone in my car and a song I had never heard came on by Josh Joplin. It was titled “Camera One”. The lyric that knocked me over and changed my life was this…”The sunny-haired son of Hollywood lost his faith in all that’s good, closed the curtain, unplugged the clock…Hung his clothes on the shower rod. But he didn’t get undressed
    And no, he didn’t seem depressed.” This song turned a light on in my head and I learned to focus more on others instead of myself. Let people know they matter, because getting so low that you would kill yourself pretty much says “I don’t matter. I have no qualities.” I challenge every reader to let someone, that probably doesn’t get told often, that they matter. The song also shed great light on Hollywood’s “real side”. The song goes on with these lyrics “On the corner by his streets He sits in his lawnchair In the heat Sightseers see
    What they want They’re selling star-maps To the sun.” I love the line “see what they want”.
    Ok…enough with the cheesy rant.

  6. Not cheesy…great. This is exactly the kinda stuff I wanted to hear.

  7. I just wrote a blog about the Pink song “Dear Mr. President”. I wish more people are exposed to it. It really speaks about the time we’re having with our National leaders. Pink of all people I never would have expecting to record a song that touches to deep. Great post!

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