Born In The
Born In The
Words and Music by Bruce Springsteen
This song is about the plight of countless Vietnam Veterans as they struggle to adjust to civilian life while coping with the psychological and physical after-effects of war. Listeners, who focus their attention primarily on the title and chorus of the song, very often misinterpret it's meaning. Springsteen addresses this very issue in his 1998 book Songs, "In order to understand the song's intent, you needed to invest a certain amount of time and effort to absorb both the music and the words. But that's not the way a lot of people use pop music...I guess the same fate awaited Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land around the campfire. But that didn't make me feel any better."
Springsteen also explained the origin of the
title, "In 1981 director Paul Schrader sent me a script called Born in the
As mentioned above, Woody Guthrie's song, This
Land Is Your Land has been misunderstood by many who have interpreted the
song as a celebration of
In 2004, Incubus's controversial song "Megalomaniac" joined the ranks of misinterpreted songs. The music video for this song, which includes a character that strongly resembles President George W. Bush, was deemed too controversial for prime time, and is rarely seen on MTV. While many have interpreted the message of this song as a direct attack on the Bush Administration and it's policies, lead singer Brandon Boyd explained, ''When we wrote this song and did the video, in no way was it a lash out against George W. Bush...I was thinking specifically, in mind, about a person whose (identity) is inconsequential and, for lack of a better term, inappropriate. But I think that it's a beautiful thing that people have attached their own idea en masse to the song. It will probably go down in history as that anti-Bush rock song."
Regardless of original intent, controversial
songs play an important role when they encourage public discourse and help to
stimulate meaningful discussion of significant political and social issues.
Incubus singer Boyd also warns that our fundamental freedoms will be eroded and
diminished when dissenting views are silenced through intimidation and
censorship, ''The people who are bashing human beings, American citizens, for
their opinions, those are the most un-American people out there...When people
start allowing that kind of behavior, that's when we start walking back into
the dark ages...and if you're not exercising your basic rights, you're
basically just handing them off to somebody else who will probably end up using
them against you."
Source(s): Springsteen, Bruce, Songs.
Avon Books, Inc.,
Wilkins, Jason Moon, "Incubus Offers No Apologies", The Tennessean
Dansby, Andrew, "Mountain Man" - Steve Earle Interview, Rolling
Stone, ©1999. RollingStone.com
Music and Lyric Resources:
Referenced and Related Works:
Born In The U.S.A. (external link)
Woody Guthrie: this man is your myth, this man is my myth (external link)
YouTube - “Born in the U.S.A.” (external link)
YouTube – “This Land Is Your Land” (external link)
YouTube – “Megalomaniac” (external link)