Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're Living on a Ball of Confusion

One of the perks of my job is rather frequent business travel. I call it a perk because a portion of the travel is regional and it allows me to drive my own car. Unlike some people, I enjoy driving about the countryside, and I have often said that my vehicle's windshield is the very best window in the office!

I often listen to satellite radio while I drive. Sometimes it's news programming or talk radio, but I mostly listen to my favorite music from the 1970s and 80s. Hearing these songs again after thirty or more years can be an experience. Certainly I recall the popular melodies and the majority of the lyrics. However, now that I am older, I tend to pay more attention to the song's message.

One song that has really (re)captured my attention is "Ball of Confusion," performed and recorded by the Temptations in 1970. I recall listening to this song when it first came out and considering the state of the world at that time, I believe that their song had great meaning. The beauty is, the song is still very much relevant today. For me, that staying power is the sign of a true work of art. It's quite possible that this song will remain quite relevant for years to come. Let's hope that humanity can prove me wrong.

If you haven't heard the song lately, here are the lyrics. Read them carefully and enjoy.

People movin' out
People movin' in
Why, because of the color of their skin
Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Vote for me, and I'll set you free
Rap on brother, rap on
Well, the only person talkin'
'Bout love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems,
Nobody is interested in learnin'
But the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration,
Integration, aggravation,
Humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball of Confusion
That's what the world is today 

The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walk around with
Their heads in the sky
Cities aflame in the summer time
And, the beat goes on

Air pollution, revolution, gun control,
Sound of soul
Shootin' rockets to the moon
Kids growin' up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will
Solve everything
And the band played on
So round 'n' round 'n' round we go
Where the world's headed, nobody knows
Just a Ball of Confusion
Oh yea, that's what the world is today

Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast,
The Beatles' new record's a gas
And the only safe place to live is
On an indian reservation
And the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction
City inspectors, bill collectors
Mod clothes in demand,
Population out of hand
Suicide, too many bills, hippies movin'
To the hills
People all over the world, are shoutin'
End the war
And the band played on.

Copyright 1970 Jobete Music Company, Inc.