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Five Essential Questions Asked In Song

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If you read a lot about music, one of the things you'll learn is how damn important it is. I watched a documentary on punk rock paragons the Clash and people kept saying how the Clash asked all the right questions. I never figured out what those questions actually were. But I do know that a couple years after the Clash debuted, a band called the Alarm, who were kinda like the Clash but not as well-liked, asked "Where were you hiding when the storm broke?" and that was apparently a dumb question because their album was poo-pooed and they aren't invited to join the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame while the Clash were voted in mightily.

Just recently I was listening to these swell Kentucky boys, Black Stone Cherry, and in their song "Rain Wizard" they ask, "Rain wizard, what the hell?" I thought to myself, "Now, that's a question worth asking. I mean, 'Yeah, rain wizard, what the hell?'" It made me think about how many times I've had my life altered by a song, how music has changed me as a person, how when Bruce Springsteen asked "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?" I quit my job at the water treatment plant, sat down at home and watched a lot of television. Thanks, Bruce. By the way, did we ever get the answer?

Whether it's Billie Joe Armstrong keeping it real with lots of political complaining, Nelly pointing out how HOT it is, or that guy in Creed singing to his goat, you've got questions, they've got answers!  And you know where those answers are?  They're Blowin' In The Wind!  Which I don't know what that means, but it sounds right. And in case you were wondering "How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?" The answer is 10!

Here are five essential questions asked in song:

"Who Are You?" - The Who:  This song cuts to the core. Yeah, personal identity is a heavy trip and if you don't know who you are, then how can anyone else know who you are. Memorize your driver's license today!

"Is She Really Going Out With Him?" - Joe Jackson: Who hasn't asked this question? Who hasn't looked in the mirror and thought, "I don't look that bad."  It's called denial. You do look that bad. In fact, you look worse. The phrase "a face only a mother could love" applies. And chances are the reasons she's going out with "him" is because he has a good job, a nice car, a big screen TV and a well-kept apartment that he does not share with his mom. And "he" never buys his clothes at the drug store.

"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" - Chicago: Wow. This is one of those questions people ask to make you really paranoid. Just when you think you know, the suggestion is made that maybe no one really knows. And if no one really knows, well, then everything is one big lie. Maybe milk is bad for us. Maybe a good education will be our ruin. Maybe hard work can kill you. Maybe Chicago should never have recorded this song.

"What's So Civil About War?" - Guns N' Roses: If you sit through the 30 or so minutes it takes to get through all the sections of this "Civil War" tune by G N' R, you will be rewarded with one of those moments where you see the lies, the subterfuge, the humiliation, the...crap that we as humans wade through, the paradoxes of life, the ironies....MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN. It doesn't get more vital than this.

"What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" - Nick Lowe / Elvis Costello: This is the one question I know I have the answer to. You know what's so funny about it? It's goofy. Sitting around holding hands, group hugs, listening to each others' feelings, that's for losers. Getting irrationally mad, breaking stuff and plotting revenge are much healthier ways of venting your emotions. And much more fun. Dr. Phil might disagree, but then he's a loser.

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