background image
28
"Imagine," and all songs by Rage Against the Machine . What do these songs have
to do with flying airplanes into buildings? Absolutely nothing. Yet in the past each
of these artists has expressed political sentiments that buck against mainstream
beliefs.
"If our songs are `questionable' in any way, it is that they encourage people to
question the kind of ignorance that breeds intolerance," said Rage Against the
Machine 's Tom Morello in an e-mail statement. "Intolerance which can lead to
censorship and the extinguishing of our civil liberties, or at its extremes can lead
to the kind of violence we witnessed."
44
The inclusion of many of the list's songs shows a troubling degree of literalism
and prejudice when examining lyrical imagery. For example, "I Go to Pieces " was
one of two songs by Peter and Gordon included on the list. "I suppose a song
about someone going to pieces could be upsetting if someone took it literally,"
said the duo's Peter Asher . "But `I can't live without love' is a sentiment that's as
true in crisis as it is in normal times. It's a totally pro-love sentiment and could
only be helpful right now."
45
There are other odd inclusions, such as the Bangles 1987 novelty hit "Walk Like
An Egyptian." The song's inclusion was troubling to Vicki Peterson , the band's
guitarist, since Egypt had little to no connection to the September 11
th
attacks.
"This has got to be a joke," Peterson said. "The healing power of music and espe-
cially some of those songs is comforting in times like these."
46
The list did indeed contain many songs that could aid in the healing of those
distraught by the tragic events. In fact, several songs seemed to be written espe-
cially to provide such comfort. Take, for example, Paul Simon 's "Bridge Over
Troubled Water ," which was included in the list:
"When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all."
Also, John Lennon 's utopic "Imagine ":
"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one."
Written on the back of a hotel bill during an airplane ride, "Imagine" has been
embraced as a universal anthem since it was released in 1971. Some critics of the
song point out that Lennon portrays an impractical proposition entirely removed
from reality. But this same reason is also why it is so powerful it, and all art,