“Countries are starving because of the World Trade Organization or the World Bank or from mining the hell out of the world. My state is completely infested with mining companies that are basically digging holes everywhere and are disenfranchising people in the process. When I look at all this stuff, it’s quite overwhelming. As a citizen of the world, it doesn’t feel natural, and it doesn’t feel right.
The song is an observation of those things and trying to find some redemption in it. It’s so overwhelming to be completely surrounded by that feeling all the time; I had to find some redemption and to take back the definition of revolution.
” – John Butler. (Change slide) Good morning/afternoon, students and teacher, Through songs, emotions and issues within society are expressed through the lyricists’ perspective. Through music and poetic devices, songs can appeal to an audience by engaging them through a nice beat, as well as the subject of matter in the lyrics. The audience may or may not agree with the lyrics depending if mutual emotions and opinion is shared within the song or a personal relevance can be found with the lyrics.
The song ‘Revolution’, by the John Butler Trio is about contemporary issues going on in our society and finding redemption in it. ‘Revolution’ appeals to me by involving me in part of what the song is portraying. ‘Revolution’ should be included in Triple J’s song anthology of “Songs that Shape Us,” as it’s about all of society standing together and slowly resolving the current issues we face.
The song is about negative issues that are on a global level. In an interview about the song Butler says “It’s hard not to look around and try to ask the questions, “Does anybody see the insanity that’s going around at the moment?
Is it just me, or has anyone else seen this craziness, this madness of destruction, whether through war or killing people through the economy? ”” The theme of the song is about standing up for a change and the fact that revolution is already underway. (Change slide) The first lyric of the song, ‘So tell me family now what do you think? ’ is made effective by the use of the word family. The use of the word binds all of society together under the definition of a family, e. g. family qualities; accepting, standing by each other, caring, etc.
The word family along with ‘you’ and ‘we’ used, involves us in the song. It causes the song to affect you, to engage you and to make you part of the issue. It is also a rhetorical question along with ‘Don’t you wonder when it’s all going to stop? ’ This technique causes the listener to go deeper than listening to the music and to evaluate and think about the lyrics. ‘Watch it all go down the great big sink’ and ‘scum’ is a metaphor used to describe all the hard work and all the good getting washed out by the bad, which is surfacing to the top and beginning to show itself.
Butler used a metaphor to generalise society as a ‘definition of a rat race’. A rat race is people who are caught up in a fierce competitive struggle for wealth and power. By using the vocabulary ‘kicking’ and ‘scrounging’, Butler brings a harsher tone to the definition, bringing more power to the lyrics and a stronger meaning. Butlers also uses the literary device rhyming, to bring fluency to the song. It affects the audience by being catchy which helps to spread his opinions through music. (Change slide).
In the chorus Butler uses the words ‘running through’ to start each line. It means to push through the issues, which Butler called ‘fire’ through a metaphor. He describes it as ‘hatred’ and ‘hopelessness’, stressing the negativity of the issues. The chorus ends with ‘revolution already underway’, this is summarising it all into one single line. The effect on the audience is that it is the part of the song that gets stuck in your head and leaves the idea of revolution at the back of your mind. (Change slide) In the second verse Butler begins to recognise the issues.
He uses the choice of vocabulary and metaphor ‘Bid Heavy Pirates’ to refer to miners. The word pirate brings negativity to them and suggests them as thieves stealing their gold. Butlers uses the word ‘brothers’ to address the soldiers and marines with a more intimate bond. It creates the effect of a closer society for the audience and relates to the theme of society all standing together. By the lyrics ‘under a blanket of fire and pride’ and ’can’t keep us warm from the cold inside’, butler summarises the point (addressing the issues) of the verse.
It’s a clever way of saying that ignoring the problem isn’t going to help it get better. (Change slide) The first two lines of the third verse are rhetorical questions once again involving you to be part of the song. Butler uses a metaphor as well with, ‘Wake from this slumber wipe the tears from our eyes? ’ Butler is addressing us, when we are going to realise what’s going on and revolt against it. Butler emphasis and brings a stronger effect to the evaluation by using the word ‘nightmare’ and ‘wake’. The literary technique repetition is used in the lyric ‘say enough is enough is enough.
Enough I’m saying’, This helps portray the summary of the third verse a lot stronger as it is building up the power and adding motivation to the lyric. It’s summarising the whole song from questioning the issues, to realising them to now revolting and making a stand. (Change slide) In the last verse literary devices; repetition and rhyming are used. In every line except the last, Butler uses ‘your’, which has the effect of making the whole song relevant to you. The verse is talking about owning the true meaning of freedom (freedom of coercion) . It’s no longer time for you to cower but stand up.
The use of rhyming helps it all to flow and cause this to be another part of a song you will remember effectively. The very last line of the song is ‘revolution’, this is an effective one word summary of the whole entire song. It states that revolution is the theme and brings a neat closure to the song. (Change slide).
The song is worthy of being part of “Songs That Shape Us”, as throughout the song Butler recognises the issue and then motivates people to take action. Literary techniques are used to involve you in the song and in affect because a deeper analysis of the meaning which helps shapes us.
Butler has created a dominant view over society as it is something that can be agreed on by a majority of people, as he has created a song that applies to all of us and addressed issues that we are all involved in. The song ‘Revolution’ is about finding redemption in all the disgusting things going on in the world and that the world slowly is changing.
A revolution is happening whether you are on board or not. “Basically the way I live with the word revolution is, it’s like evolution. We can’t always see it happening but it’s always taking place. ” John Butler, Live.
Courtney from Study Moose
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