[Powderworks] Response to Todd/ Oils lyrics
Wed, 06 Mar 2002 10:00:00 -0500
Hello Todd (and everyone else who is reading)--
First of all, let me say that I did not mean to create such a (negative) splash with my first (and I suppose second) posts to this list. I have lurked here on and off for years, and for some reason, Todd's post in particular set me off.
Now, I just recently resubscribed to the list after a few months away, and I can't say that I had read (or remembered) any of Todd's previous posts. So, when I read the one w/ the name calling, I figured it was just that--mindless name calling. Come to find out, it was much more than that. What I mean is, when I challenged him on it, Todd actually had a lot to say, and revealed that he has studied the issues very closely. Probably more so than I have. And I will take him up on his offer to read up on the issues more (from the sources he provided).
So, I guess I owe Todd and everyone else here an apology--not for presenting my opinion, but for doing so in a manner that implied Todd was engaging in mindless name calling. And had I paid more attention to the names attached to various posts, I may have realized this based on previous messages he submitted. So, I jumped the gun, made a bad first impression, and now feel compelled to apologize. I'm really not a bad guy, I promise.
Moving on, Todd has questioned twice now whether or not I really listen to the Oils' lyrics, and what I think of them. So, here are my thoughts on that:
The way I see it, Oil's lyrics generally deal with the following themes (not limited to these, of course):
1. the environment
2. plight of the oppressed / social injustice
3. Australia (often in the context of the above 2)
Now, if I told you I listen to the Oils primarily for their songs about surfing, or the instrumentals, you'd think I'm a nut (which isn't the case, don't worry). So, I've left them off the above list since they're really not relevant to our discussion.
As I stated to another member of this list who emailed me directly, I do not consider the Oils to be radicals. PG is very 'outspoken' as you said. But are they really radical? Maybe to some people, and maybe in regard to some issues. But in general, I don't really think so. I think much of what they have to say makes a lot of sense. No, I don't agree with everything they say, but I don't agree with everything George Bush says (believe it or not), or my pastor, or Steve Kilbey, or for that matter, anybody.
However, you wanted to know what I like about the Oils? Well, my mother's side of the family is from Australia, so I'm very interested in things Australian, as it is part of my ancestry...not so much politically, but culturally. So, I am drawn to the Oils music (and other Australian artists) in that respect. I would also say that I really do like the lyrics--even the ones I don't agree with. I'm against social injustice, which is a huge theme in Oils lyrics, as much as anybody. However, I also believe in the right to bear arms, but I think the Oils would rather see tighter gun control. I may have a different viewpoint, but it's not as if the Oils are after something so extreme that I can't bear to listen.
You see, as politically outspoken as the Oils are, they are also artists. So, even though Hirst or Moginie or Garrett may write a lyric like "Put Down that Weapon" (which refers to nuclear arms, not handguns, but I think you get my point), they also write songs like Say Your Prayers or Brave Faces or Bedlam Bridge or Short Memory. I love these and other songs especially because of the message in each.
Throw in some killer guitar interplay and top-notch musicianship, and you've got a piece of art, albeit one with a political and/or social message.
And although the Oils are very outspoken, I see in their lyrics a sincere desire to make the world a better place, not to simply bash those who they feel are responsible for the world's problems. I especially find this true in the songs that deal with things of a spritual nature because it represents a balance in not only how society needs to change, but how we can change ourselves. I think its awesome that Peter can sing 'US Forces' one minute then turn around and sing 'Time to Heal' or 'Under the Overpass' the next. This is what makes the Oils so fascinating and unique.
Anyway, this message is way too long so I'd better wrap it up. Hopefully I've expressed myself clearly. I'll try to make my posts MUCH shorter next time. Peace, Todd.
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