Monday, 13 October 2014

Song of the week #4


Ahh, Green Day. I'm sure there's at least one song that everyone loves by them; whether it's the classic, American Idiot, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, or something else more or less heard of, most people tend to have some sort of perhaps somewhat bazaar allegiance to Green Day. And rightly so, for the band have some really great songs, with really deep meanings.

This week I've been listening to 21 Guns sooo much. It actually spurred from finding a really great piano cover of the song on youtube, and thus I was reminded of how much I liked the song. I really recommend listening to it, and some of his other covers as well, as they're all rather exceptional (and learnt by ear?????). 21 Guns was released as the band's second single from the album 21st Century Breakdown, in 2009, and has sold over 2 million copies.

The song in general seems to have an ongoing theme of the military, with the 21 gun salute being the highest honour an army member can receive upon burial. There's a sense that the effects of war never really leave a person, and they're stuck with some horrible memories and things they don't want to remember: 'your thoughts have taken their toll' and 'nothing's ever built to last' reiterate this idea well, with the destruction of war having a real effect on an individual.

The third verse seems to show further the destruction of war, but in this sense, not the ruin of the individual, but the ruin caused by them. 'Burned down the house and home' could represent the destruction of people's lives who are living within the warzone, furthermore, resulting the soldier to be 'a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone,' which could potentially refer to a headstone of a person who is no longer alive to forgive them.

I think the song has a very respectful tone to it, thus reinforcing the idea of the military burial. There are no particularly disjunct sounds and each part blends nicely into the next. The instrumentation is limited mostly to an acoustic guitar and at times drums and piano, during the verses and I think this is very emotive and allows the lyrics to sink in. The guitar pattern in the chorus gives a rather grand, ceremonial feel, which could relate to the context of the 21 gun salute in a way.

I love this song, and I think everybody can take numerous different personal meanings from it, as well as perhaps the seemingly literal meaning. Let me know what you think of it, as I'd be very interested to hear.

Until next time.


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