Another Day In Paradise
Phil Collins
...But Seriously, 1989
(Collins)

Song examines hunger, poverty and the plight of the homeless in America. Often associated with love songs and sentimental movie theme songs, Phil Collins has previously expressed a degree of frustration with those fans who dismiss his more serious songs and question his sincerity. "It's because people put me in the balladeer box and think I'm not capable of doing anything of substance."

The music video for this song includes powerful words and images. Data and statistics regarding the numbers of people living in poverty are superimposed over pictures of the homeless and street people.

In a 1990 interview Collins explained. "Yes, I'm projecting a different side, but people don't think there's any sincerity in that, and that's what annoys me, I don't mind if people don't like the music - well, I mind, but I can handle that - but there's been a questioning of my sincerity in doing a song like Paradise. They insinuate that I've got a lot of money so what do I know about the homeless and the poor, and that's absolute rubbish. I see what is happening on the street from my car, the same as everybody else. I see life, I don't live in a cocoon, so I get insulted when people assume my reasons for doing it are wrong or dubious."

Queen's 1981 musical collaboration w/ David Bowie, Under Pressure and Everlast's 1998 song What It's Like are two powerful works that deal with compassion and social responsibility. Both of these songs encourage listeners to have empathy for those who are less fortunate and reach out to those in need. "Under Pressure, produced by Queen and David Bowie, was the result of an impromptu recording session...and marked the band's first collaboration with another recording artist...and in 1990 the bass and piano featured again on Vanilla Ice's number one single Ice Ice Baby."

Former House Of Pain member Erik Schrody - a.k.a. Whitey Ford, a.k.a. Everlast discussed the meaning and motivation for his song in a 1999 interview. "I think it's just one of those things where everyone feels like these things and has been through these things and it's nice to not feel like you're alone...I wouldn't celebrate some of the situations in the songs, but don't judge other people. I think when you stop judging other people, you stop feeling as though you're being judged, and that creates a whole different world of freedom for everybody. Maybe the song has just this much of that in it. It's just one of those things that everyone can relate to. They've been there; they know somebody that's been there. It's not a party song. It's a bit of a hard pill to swallow, but it tastes good."

The 2003 song Where Is The Love? by Black Eyed Peas picks up where Marvin Gayes socially conscious song What's Going On left off, providing a powerful mix of post 9/11 political and social commentary. Overseas we tryin' to stop terrorism but we still got terrorists here livin' in the U.S.A., the big CIA, the Bloods and the Crips and the KKK but if you only have love for your own race then you only leave space to discriminate. The songs Co-producer Will.I.Am explained, "It's like if Marvin Gaye was alive today…The world needs this song right now. There's no song like that in urban music, pop music. We're saying some pretty deep stuff, some conscious stuff."

Steve Earle’s 2004 song The Revolution Starts Now is a call to action and an appeal for people to support and care for each other. …Last night I had a dream that the world had turned around and all our hopes had come to be…and nobody went without And I learned a song to sing The revolution starts now. Earle warns in the Liner Notes to the CD, “Democracy is hard work. American democracy requires constant vigilance to survive and nothing short of total engagement to flourish. Voting is vital, but in times like these voting alone simply isn’t enough.”

The 2006 song Wide Awake by the group AUDIOSLAVE was released not long after the one year anniversary of hurricane Katrina. The song criticizes the Bush administration for mishandling Katrina relief and recovery efforts and in effect, abandoning the poor and less fortunate residents of New Orleans. You can look a hurricane right in the eye 1200 people dead or left to die…Down the road the world is floating by The poor and undefended left behind…I find you guilty of a crime, of sleeping at a time When you should have been wide awake…AUDIOSLAVE Guitarist Tom Morello has been quoted, “And it seems that had New Orleans not been poor, not been black, that the administration would have paid a much, much greater deal of attention to them, and the song touches on that.”

In 2007 the group Nickelback donated 100% of the proceeds from digital sales of their song and music video If Everyone Cared to charity. “...the video tells the stories of four ordinary people who have done extraordinary things for humanity: Bob Geldolf (Live Aid), Nelson Mandela, Peter Benenson (founder of Amnesty International) and Betty Williams (World Centers of Compassion for Children International).” The band hopes the song and video will both educate people and also inspire them to take action. Guitarist, Ryan Peake explained, “...The idea is simply to do something that moves you and helps others, no matter how small.”

Back in 2004 Steve Earle cautioned almost prophetically about the shortcomings of governments and the importance of an active and involved citizenry. “…Without our active participation, however, the future is far from certain. For without the lifeblood of the human spirit even the greatest documents produced by human kind are only words on paper or parchment, destined to yellow and crack and eventually crumble to dust.”

Source(s): 

Phil Collins Interview; Music Express, 1990

Everlast Interview; Yahoo! LAUNCH "Feature- Here To Stay" By Dave DiMartino 04/28/1999

 Liner Notes Under Pressure Classic Queen 1992

 "Road To The Grammys: The Making Of Black Eyed Peas' Where Is The Love"  MTV News 02.04.2004

“AUDIOSLAVE’s New Album Touches on Hurricane Katrina Disaster” September 1, 2006

“Giving Back, One Nickel At A Time” – 1.29.2007 Road Runner Records

Liner Notes The Revolution Starts Now 2004
 

Music and Lyric Resources:

Phil Collins - Official Site

Follow Me Web Site

Genesis New Design

Black Eyed Peas

Steve Earle

AUDIOSLAVE

Axis of Justice

Nickelback
 

Referenced and Related Works:
 

Dorothea Dix's, Memorial to the Massachusetts Legislature (1843)

Stephen Crane's, "Maggie, A girl of the Streets"

Walt Whitman's, "I Sit And Look Out"

Writings of  Jane Addams

Economic Opportunity Act, 1964

LBJ's "War On Poverty" State of the Union Address

Carl Sandburg's, "Old Woman"

Mother Teresa Quotes

Legend of the Starfish

To Kill A Mockingbird

Queen's w/ David Bowie, "Under Pressure"

Everlast's, "What It's Like"

"Where Is The Love?" / "What's Going On"

"What It's Like" Student Essay

“Another Day In Paradise” Constructed Response

Walt Whitman Constructed Response Activity

Dream Deferred / Do The Right Thing / Fight The Power / Children's Rhymes

President John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address / “What I’ve Done” Essay Writing Activity

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The Drum Major Instinct”/ “If Everyone Cared” Essay Writing Activity

"Where Is The Love?" Music Video - Yahoo! Music  (external page)

Homeless.org  (external page)

National Coalition for the Homeless  (external page)

Take Action Tour  (external page)

The ONE Campaign (external page)

DATA  (external page)

Taylor’s Campaign – Richard Cohen Films (external page)

YouTube - “Another Day in Paradise” ( external page )

YouTube - “What It’s Like” ( external page )

YouTube - “What I’ve Done” ( external page )

YouTube - “Wide Awake” ( external page )

YouTube - “If Everyone Cared” ( external page )

YouTube - “What I’ve Done” ( external page )


 

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