Very moving album
As a peace activist, this album was recommended to me at an event when I was sharing my love for the sound track of "Body of War". I immediately came home and ordered this album. I am 61 years old and many songs are not my genre (an old hippie who likes folk music)but I have come to embrace hip hop and rap that speaks the truth. This is a fantastic album and that it benefits the Iraq Veterans Against the War makes it more meaningful. As a citizen of the United States, I say NO MORE WAR - I love and honor those who serve but they should never been asked to go to Iraq by an administration comprised by souless, selfish,greedy, dishonest, evil (allowing torture), and oh profoundly ignorant human beings. Buy the Album
Impressive, awesome, thankyou
The other reviewers are not spouting crap. In this compilation the artists are at turns smart, insightful, creative, and frankly full of basic lyrical and musical talent. Most of these songs would deserve (and I hope they get) playtime nationally. Upside down, aside from being affecting as many titles here are, is downright beautiful. I bought this in person from some IVAW folks. I am not a vet like them, but I wore the uniform proudly for a little while, and love what this group is doing. They are an inspiration.
Listening with both awe and a grin to "Search and Avoid," I have to wonder if the sentiment described isn't becoming more and more common overthere. I mean, if the high high up leadership has sent them on a "F-ed up fire mission," who can blame them on one level for taking some measure of control of their destinies? Good on ya.
SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
I feel compelled to bring to your attention the enclosed album, “Line in the Sand: A Compilation in Support of the Iraq Veterans Against the War.” Here are young passionate voices speaking out and singing out against the Iraq War and the mistreatment of those, on all sides, forced to die or be physically and/or spiritually scarred there. In listening to the album, and as one who teaches a college-level course, “Political Themes in [Bruce] Springsteen” at SUNY Potsdam, I recalled a passage discussing another young passionate voice singing out against the war in Vietnam, demanding just and compassionate treatment of returning veterans. That voice, raised a generation ago, seems to resonate with the spirit of the “Line in the Sand’s” young voices. Today, the role of women in war and peace might have markedly changed, but, apparently, not much else has. Revealing the identity of this young singer, Kirkpatrick writes:
“America Under Fire” offered a seething satire very much in keeping with American youth counterculture, summarized in its opening lines about “conquered freak soldiers” returning home to the stares of their fellow countrymen, and to their women, who have become “whores.” After the singer concludes, “And I’m tired and I think I’ll go to bed/For America’s under fire and the sky’s turning red,” the song’s coda is downright subversive: As half of the band sings a line from the patriotic hymn, “America the Beautiful” (“America, America, God shed his grace on me . . . “) the other half superimposes a line from the Mickey Mouse Club: “M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E.” It’s a chilling ending - - - one that might shock a fan who came to Springsteen during the Born in the U.S.A. era. But as subversive a song as “America Under Fire” might seem, the returning veterans of the song are actually sympathetic heroes, they return unceremoniously, betrayed by the women they loved, left to face the indifferent stares of their fellow Americans. As would be true of many songs throughout Springsteen’s career as a songwriter, the song’s protagonists are portrayed as victims of a larger system that has betrayed them.
Of particular note on this album, revealing likely my own musical tastes and present frame of mind, and not a judgment as to the quality of the other artists, are the following. I dare anyone to listen to Andrea Gibson’s opening piece, “For Eli” and not be shakingly moved - - - and that goes especially for any parent or grandparent. Gibson passionately screams: “Fuck your yellow ribbons. You want to support our troops bring them home and hold them tight when they get here.” Jonah Matranga’s, “The Big Parade” (“I don’t want to come back; I don’t want to stay”) captures the unresolved and often unrecognized spiritual toll of the war. There is a universally chilling sadness and fear as the “world goes black” in The Nightwatchmen’s, “No One Left,” speaking to the senseless losses in both the U.S. (“Manhattan”) and Iraq (“Baghdad.”) Especially effective is the album’s co-producer, Ryan Harvey’s angry and sardonic Phil Ochs/Arlo Guthrie-like “Search and Avoid,” with several great hooks:
Search and avoid, you make the rules.
It’s a private war, don’t be fooled.
It ain’t worth your life to transport fuel.
Soldier, you’re not alone
And when I get back I’m gonna work for your troops back home
Folks back home know it’s bullshit too, Soldier, you’re not alone.
Also, very well done is Witt Wisebram’s hilarious name-naming “Here’s to the State of Things” in which he pointedly takes on President Bush, Toby Keith, and Bill O’Reilly. Key lines: Regarding President Bush: “. . . and the only persons smiling are your buddy’s oil companies”; Toby Keith: “. . . you tell the working class how to make their mind, that they’re not patriotic unless they want to die but in a Hollywood mansion is where you reside” O’Reilly: “. . . but the only thing bigger than your lies is your head.” And then to “the kids: “ . . . Don’t let them tell you speaking up ain’t being brave . . . . Kids, stand up and fight for the country you’re now part of.”
Another great song, “Treason Loyalty and Love by Brenna Sahatjian notes the following about the war:
Hitching home and I got picked up by a military man in a big fat truck and he wanted to talk about this war
Said never mind about the double, triple amputees
nowadays we got some good technology
And yes it's worth it
we're bringing them democracy
Well I just kept my mouth shut good and tight
I wanted to sleep in my bed that night and I just quietly took the ride
But he could not see the treason blooming in my gut
Fragrant and still in the ether of my thought.
And, finally, Gregory Douglass’ “Upside Down” adds:
This world is hung over swinging upside down and it seems to be hanging over me right now.
This world is hung over swinging upside down. I think I’ve had enough by now.
As Bruce Springsteen and E Street reach the end of the USA swing of this tour and head into Europe, one hope is that they will do so with the work of the IVAW and some of these young performers and songwriters in mind. Bring ‘em home.