Thursday, June 09, 2005

Black Eyed Peas for President(s) in '08...

Okay, so you can't elect a quartet into office. But on their previous effort "Elephunk" and on their latest "Monkey Business" they've shown more wisdom than some United States administrations during this millenium who shall go unnamed.

They close this album like they did Elephunk, with a call for more peace and unity in the world. Elephunk's Where is the Love offers:

Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all


Whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
Gotta keep my faith alive 'til love is found

Now ask yourself
Where is the love?

You could say that they then retread the same ground with Union, the final track on their latest album. But their use of Sting's old Gentleman in New York melody is really effective, especially Sting's cameo featuring excellent new lyrics appropriate to the new song:

Got no time for grand philosophy
I barely keep my head above the tide
I got this mortgage, got three kids at school
What you're saying is the truth,
but really troubles me inside
I'd change the world if I could change my mind
If I could live beyond my fears
Exchanging unity for all my insecurity
Exchanging laughter for my tears

The Peas add:

Divided by beliefs, differences in religion
Why do we keep missing the point of our mission?
Why do we keep killing each other, what's the reason?
God made us all equal in his vision
I wish that I could make music as a religion
Then we could harmonise together in this mission

Sure, the religion/mission rhyme retread is a little lacking, but when offering calls for world unity, I think we can give the Peas a break or two.

They've also found a way to express their faith as a uniting force - not just in terms of Christian-Muslim relations but also in terms of Red States vs Blue States. In Where is the Love they say "Gotta keep my faith alive 'til love is found" - until love is found, not God. It's clever. Religion can be divisive, but love is universal. The line doesn't alienate anyone except the hate-mongerers. Union includes a smart bit: "do you really think Mohammed got a problem with Jehovah?" Put that way the whole thing seems ridiculous, indeed.

This kind of thing will always come off as naive or overly simplistic, but it's an earnest effort and well-worth attempting. BEP 4 Prez 08.


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