The 5 Stupidest Songs That Seemingly Predicted 9-11
When an event is big enough and traumatic enough, it sends ripples across time -- into the future and the past and whatever other directions might exist that we don't know about. We've mentioned before that some musicians apparently accidentally predicted 9/11 months or even years before it happened. Now we've rounded up five more bands that referenced 9/11 well before they could have known about it. And what did they do with this important information? Instead of going with the obvious and humane choice (writing a nice inspirational pop tune like Paul McCartney's "Freedom"), they decided to slip the most tasteless 9/11 allusions they could think of into their work, as if "But it hadn't happened yet!" was a valid excuse for being grossly insensitive.
Please join me in my quest to get the following songs banned for violating the basic laws of decency and of cause and effect.
Dave Matthews Band -- "When the World Ends"
"When the World Ends" is a Dave Matthews Band single that was supposed to be released in September 2001, but the record company pulled it at the last minute. Why? Well, listen to the lyrics:
Even though it was recorded in late 2000 and included in a February 2001 album, it's pretty clear that the song is about how 9/11 would be a great opportunity to do some fucking. There is no other possible interpretation.
The day the world is over
Ah, we'll be lying in bed
And I'm gonna rock you like a baby when the cities fall
We will rise as the buildings crumble
Float there and watch it all
Jesus, dude. Keep it in your pants until the nation has finished mourning (or started mourning, then finished). If there was a promotional video for this song, it would consist of Mr. Matthews Band going up to a stranger in the subway and whispering in her ear:
Amidst the burning, we'll be churning
Our love will be our wings
Passion rising up from the ashes
When the world ends
"The world's not the only thing ending sooner than expected, babe."
This is obscene in every possible sense. Future America is under attack, and Dave Matthews Band (should that be hyphenated?) suddenly turns into Barry White. He wants to watch "as the buildings crumble," the implication being that seeing tall towers disappear makes him feel better about his manhood. How does he come up with this stuff? Utterly nauseating.
According to Matthews-Band himself, the song is about "being so lost in passion of a love affair that the world sort of freezes," which is a valid sentiment. I bet there are plenty of good, hard-working folks who just happened to be fucking their butts off on that September morning. But, if he was just trying to write a love song that used 9/11 as the backdrop, why risk upsetting people by making it so loud and crass? Why couldn't it be a gentle rock ballad like "No More Lonely Nights," from the 1984 Paul McCartney motion picture Give My Regards to Broad Street? Because Dave Matthewsband is a monster, that's why. Fuck you, and fuck your confusing name.
Dream Theater -- "Conflict at Ground Zero"
"Conflict at Ground Zero" sounds like a History Channel documentary about 9/11 narrated by Morgan Freeman, but it's actually a Dream Theater song from their album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, recorded in the spring and summer of 2001. The band ended up changing the title of the song to "The Great Debate" before the album came out, which would be commendable if it wasn't still full of blatant 9/11-related provocations.
As the song starts you hear sound clips from various newscasters, and the very first one mentions George W. Bush. And who was president of the United States when 9/11 happened? I don't know, let's check Yahoo Answers:
The plot thickens. Who has the truth? Not my place to say.
According to Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, the song has nothing to do with 9/11, since it's actually about stem cell research. However, I don't see anything about cells and shit here:
Human kind has reached a turning point
Poised for conflict at ground zero
Ready for a war
(Uh, don't go looking for the lyrics that go after that, though.)
You know how Internet trolls will sometimes throw 9/11 into a nice conversation (probably about Sonic) just to derail it and watch the resulting flame war? Those rascals at Dream Theater invented that technique. They were doing that before 9/11 even happened, through this song. Some artists try to bring joy into your life, like Wings with their 1979 disco-inspired hit "Goodnight Tonight." Others just want to watch the world burn. Short of putting the Twin Towers on fire on the cover of an album released exactly on Sept. 11, 2001, they couldn't possibly be more obvious about their troublemaking intentions.
But just to be on the safe side, they did that too:
Yes, that's the cover for a Dream Theater concert album that was put on sale on that exact date (before it got recalled). Eat all of the dicks, Dream Theater.
The Strokes -- "New York City Cops"
In 2001, The Strokes were like a breath of fresh air for the tired music industry, with their raw lo-fi sound and '60s variety show aesthetic. It's like they came from the past! And also from the future, judging by this poorly timed song that references New York's Finest in a ... not very positive way:
Holy shit, what were they thinking? A little disrespect for authority never hurt anyone, but did they have to record a song insulting the NYPD right before such an important date for the institution? It's almost as if The Strokes hadn't heard that probably the biggest world event of this century was going to happen. If you were too disgusted to listen to the whole thing, the chorus goes:
New York City cops
New York City cops
New York City cops
They ain't too smart
Again: what the fuck, Strokes? You could have written an upbeat song about keeping hope alive during moments of darkness, like the 1993 adult contemporary hit "Hope of Deliverance" by Paul McCartney. But no, you decided to mock instead of inspire. Too soon, guys. Literally too soon. Like six months too soon, since this was recorded in March.
Of course, the band said it was all a "coincidence" and removed the track from the U.S. version of their debut album when it came out in October -- but if that's true, why didn't they also preemptively remove it from the international editions that were released the previous July? What stopped them? It doesn't make sense.
Two chairs? Like the two buildings? You've got to be fucking with me.
They also recorded a song called "When It Started," which was supposed to be a non-offensive replacement for the album, but it included lyrics like:
So you think things move pretty fast down here
Well just wait my dear 'til you look up there
Oh maybe someday you'll know
Had his second kid, was an early night
Got to be well dressed 'cause he hates to fly
Admittedly, the references to planes crashing into buildings are a little obscure, but this part is much clearer:
Anything they Wanted
They Could have it, have it
WTC. World Trade Center. Some goddamn people have no shame.
I Am the World Trade Center -- "September"
From the title, you might think this entry is a joke. I assure you, there are no jokes in this article. I Am the World Trade Center is a real synth-pop band created in the late '90s: here's their MySpace page. And yes, they did have the nerve to release a song called "September" only a few months before 9/11:
On the surface, the song seems pretty innocent, if you discount its name and the name of the band and the fact that it came out in 2001. I'm sure the lyrics are full of shockingly ominous phrases, but I can't make out most of them, and they're not on AZLyrics.com, Metrolyrics.com, or Lyrics007.com, so I'm gonna let them slide. That doesn't matter anyway, because the part that will make you want to smack these guys in the face isn't in the music, it's in the album packaging:
A building? Like the two buildings? Get the fuck out of my house.
Yep, the track "September" by the band I Am the World Trade Center, released in July 2001, is the 11th track of the album. As in, "September 11th." As in "we are abhorrent, irredeemable pigs."
"Move on," I Am the World Trade Center? No. Never forget.
IATWTC's tasteless little Easter egg somehow went undiscovered until right after the attacks, when they finally got all the repudiation they had coming for using a national tragedy (albeit a future one) to get publicity. As a result, they briefly changed their name and toured as I Am the World (a frankly appalling reference to the December 5765 destruction of Earth by the Zsirloxian starcruisers).
Apparently, the band is currently trying to make a comeback under their original name. No. Stop that. Leave electronic music to real artists who don't rely on shock tactics to make a name for themselves, like when Paul McCartney released three electronica albums as "The Fireman" between 1993 and 2008 and didn't tell anyone it was him until the last one. Damn, he's awesome.
David Bowie -- Pretty Much All of Heathen
The album Heathen by David Bowie came out in 2002, but he's gone on the record to say that all the songs were written before 9/11. He clarified this because he wants you to know that he has Nostradamus powers, and also that he's an asshole. Many people think the clearest reference to the WTC attacks in Heathen is the line "Steel on the skyline, sky made of glass" in the last track, but to be honest I think that's reading too much into things, and I'm not one to do that.
Instead, check out the opening song in the album, "Sunday":
The first lyrics set up the cheerful tone:
We could run when the rain slows
Look for the cars or signs of life
Where the heat goes
Look for the drifters
We should crawl under the bracken
Look for the shafts of light
On the road where the heat goes
Everything has changed
So far, it's just a standard post-apocalyptic Bowie tune. But what is this "rain" he speaks of? Everything in Bowie's oeuvre has a double meaning, so it's highly unlikely that he's talking about something as mundane as water falling from the sky. The track "5:15 The Angels Have Gone" later in the album helps clear up that mystery:
I'm changing trains
This little town
Let me down
This foreign rain
Brings me down
The rain is foreign, and in the sky, and it brings people down, just like ... just like the 9/11 hijackers? Hogwash, you might say. But wait, there's more. The song is about someone boarding a train, but this being Bowie, we can safely assume that by "train" he really means "airplane." This is partly because of his aforementioned knack for metaphors and symbolism, and partly because he's severely dyslexic.
"What a mighty peculiar horse."
So, we have a man boarding an airplane with foreigners who bring him down. Hmm. And note the almost disdainful mention of "this little town" (New York?), which is repeated in another track, "Slow Burn":
Here shall we live in this terrible town
Where the price for our eyes shall squeeze them tight like a fist
Now the town isn't just little, it's also terrible. Deserving of scorn. At this point it's painfully obvious that the album is written from the point of view of a terrorist -- someone for whom the rest of us are "heathens." The track "A Better Future" switches up the perspective to regular people, but it's sung in a wimpy voice, like it's making fun of us:
Please don't tear this world asunder
Please take back this fear we're under
This "fear" that Mr. Bowie finds so hilarious is all over the album: "Slow Burn" has the phrase "There's fear overhead," another song is called "Afraid," and if we return to the opening track for a moment we'll find this:
In your fear
Of what we have become
Take to the fire
Now we must burn
All that we are
Through these clouds
As on wings
Holy. Fucking. Shit. David Bowie wrote an album from the point of view of the terrorists, right before 9/11. After all America has given to the tactless British bastard.
Like this thong I just censored with a goblin from Labyrinth.
What gets me the most is that Bowie is a well-connected man. There's no reason why he couldn't have picked up a phone, called Stevie Wonder, and recorded a duet about racial harmony in the style of 1982's chart-topping single "Ebony and Ivory." In fact, it could have been a whole album of Ebonies and Ivories. Think about it. Wouldn't that be something? Now that's what I call music.
Maxwell Yezpitelok deeply regrets this article already. Here's his Twitter anyway.
For more from Maxwell, check out The 7 Most Baffling Video Game Adaptations of Everyday Life and The 5 Most Hilariously Misguided Comic Book Adaptations.
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