Hands Held High v2.0

Editors Note: this is a re-write of a post I wrote this morning. It was pretty early in the day, and I don’t feel like I was articulate enough…

In my generation, music mixed with angry political commentary is generally reserved for bands like Rage Against the Machine. Generally most of us can appreciate the thrashing beats and passionate lyrics, but Rage is, politically, on the fringe. They are articulate and intelligent, but few people actually subscribe to the entirety of their message.

Bands like Linkin Park are much more broadly appealing. Their message and anger has always been broad enough that pretty much anyone can appreciate it and empathize (or at least rock out to it). And as a result, they’re more commonly accepted as representative of a generation. Both their style and their message resounds with their audience.

In their most recent album, Minutes to Midnight, they’ve apparently made the decision to refine and sharpen their message — and they’re likely to take a significant portion of their fans with them, both because of the scope of their appeal and because we’ve come to empathize with them.

We are a generation raised with technology. We are aware of what it means and what it does. The recent Die Hard movie reflects our parents fears of technology — that an evil hacker can crash the stock market, or mess up street lights around the country with a touch of a button. We understand much better how technology is really mis-used. We are a generation aware that we are being watched, manipulated and lied to. And Minutes to Midnight resounds with the growing anger against those in leadership who are either corrupt or inept or both — in a way that is much more relevant and effective than Rage’s most spiteful rap. To hear Linkin Park spit their frustration in lyrics like these, is to know that they represent a significant and increasing demographic. One that’s given the current president an approval rating approaching that of Nixon‘s following Watergate.

Earlier today I said, “when even Linkin Park has something to say… you know its time for a change.” What I meant was, that when a previously apolitical band like Linkin Park sings words like this, you know they represent a growing portion of a generation who’s had enough of what’s going on in the world and finally has something to say about it

Take back what’s yours
Say something that you know
they might attack you for
cause I’m sick of being treated
like I have before.
Like it’s stupid standing for
what I’m standing for.
Like this war is really just
a different brand of war.
Like it doesn’t cater the rich
and abandon poor.
Like they understand you
in the back of the jet,
When you can’t put gas in your tank.
These [elected government officials] are laughing their way
to the bank and cashing their check
asking you to have compassion, and have some respect.

For a leader so nervous
in an obvious way
Stuttering and mumbling
for nightly news to replay
and the rest of the world
watching at the end of the day
in the living room laughing
like what did he say?

Amen

In my living room watching,
But I am not laughing.
‘Cause when it gets tense,
I know what might happen.
The world is cold,
The bold men take action.
Have to react,
To getting blown into fractions.

Ten years old is something to see,
Another kid my age drug under a jeep,
Taken and bound and found later under a tree,
I wonder if he thought the next one could be me.
Do you see?
The soldiers that are out today.
That brush the dust from bulletproof vests away.
It’s ironic.
At times like this you pray,
But a bomb blew the mosque up yesterday.
There’s bombs in the buses, bikes, roads,
inside your markets, your shops, your clothes,
My dad, he’s got a lot of fear I know
but enough pride inside not to let that show.
My brother had a book he would hold with pride
A little red cover with a broken spine.
In the back he hand wrote a quote inside,
when the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.

And meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling
for nightly news to replay
and the rest of the world
watching at the end of the day
both scared and angry
like what did he say?

Amen

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