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Album: Torches & Foster The People EP
"Robert's got a quick hand
He'll look around the room
He won't tell you his plan
He's got a rolled cigarette hanging out his mouth
He's a cowboy kid
Yeah, he found a six-shooter gun
In his dad's closet hidden in a box of fun things
And I don't even know what
But he's coming for you, yeah, he's coming for you
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet"
The lyrics to "Pumped Up Kicks" are written from the perspective of a troubled and delusional youth with homicidal thoughts. The lines in the chorus warn potential victims to "outrun my gun" and that they "better run, better run, faster than my bullet".
Foster said in a statement to CNN.com, "I wrote 'Pumped Up Kicks' when I began to read about the growing trend in teenage mental illness. I wanted to understand the psychology behind it because it was foreign to me. It was terrifying how mental illness among youth had skyrocketed in the last decade. I was scared to see where the pattern was headed if we didn't start changing the way we were bringing up the next generation." In writing the song, Foster wanted to "get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid" and "bring awareness" to the issue of gun violence amongst youth, which he feels is an epidemic perpetuated by "lack of family, lack of love, and isolation"
Due to the opening lyrics, "Robert's got a quick hand," many have speculated that the song is a reference to Robert Hawkins, perpetrator of Omaha's Westroads Mall shooting. The band's publicist denied any connection: "This is completely false. The character name in the song is just a coincidence."
Album: The Fine Art of Surfacing
"Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
I wanna shoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oot
The whole day down, down, down, shoot it all down
And all the playing's stopped in the playground now
She wants to play with the toys a while
And school's out early and soon we'll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die"
According to Geldof, he wrote the song after reading a telex report at Georgia State University's campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California on 29 January 1979, killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day". The song was first performed less than a month later.
Album: Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)
"We are the nobodies
Wanna be Somebodies
We know just who we are
Some children died the other day
We fed machines and then we prayed
Puked up and down in morbid faith
You should have seen the ratings that day"
The lyrics refer to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters of the April 20, 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Manson harshly criticizes the media circus in the aftermath of the killings, singing "You should have seen the ratings that day."
After the shootings, the media widely reported that listening to Manson's music drove the boys to kill, though in fact they didn't appear to be fans of the band. An interview with him about the Columbine shootings was featured in the 2002 Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine. When Moore asked what he would say to the students at Columbine, Manson replied, "I wouldn't say a single word. I would listen to what they have to say and that's what no one did." Also in the film, an acoustic instrumental version of the song is played during a montage of security camera footage and emergency phone calls.
Songs such as "Disposable Teens" and "The Fight Song" were directly written about the Columbine incident. The slower, thought-provoking "The Nobodies" concluded the work.
"Need to understand
No need to forgive
No truth no sense left to be followed
"Facing this unbearable fear like meeting an old friend"
"Time to die, poor mates, You made me what I am!"
"In this world of a million religions everyone prays the same way"
"Your praying is in vain It`ll all be over soon"
"Father help me, save me a place by your side!"
"There is no god Our creed is but for ourselves""
The song was written by keyboardist/bandleader Tuomas Holopainen and is about the Columbine high school massacre, the dialogue in the middle of the song quotes the actual phrases between the killers and their schoolmates during the shooting. It features a dialogue between Tarja Turunen and Ike Vil of Babylon Whores. It also includes a line from William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" which is said to be written by shooter Eric Harris on the page for Mother's day 1999 of his calendar. ("Good wombs hath borne bad sons.") It also features comments made by survivors on following interviews. These comments are part of an article released by Time Magazine.
"Unaware, I just did what I always do
Everyday, the same routine
Before I skate off to school
But who knew that this day wasn't like the rest
Instead of taking a test
I took two to the chest
Call me blind, but I didn't see it coming
Everybody was running
But I couldn't hear nothing
Except gun blasts, it happened so fast
I don't really know this kid
Even though I sit by him in class "
This song was inspired by the March 5, 2001 shootings at Santana High School in Santee, California. 15-year-old Charles Williams walked into school with his father's gun and fired 30 shots, killing 2 students and wounding 13 others. The shooting was remarkably close to where P.O.D. was working that day, and inspired this song.
"Within an hour the news had reached the media machine
A male caucasian with a gun had gone berserk in Queens
The area had been sealed off, the kids sent home from school
Fourteen people lying dead in a bar they called the Kicking Mule
Oh they pleaded to your sanity for the sake of those inside
"Throw out your gun, walk out slow just keep your hands held high"
But they pumped you full of rifle shells as you stepped out the door
Oh you danced in death like a marionette on the vengeance of the law"
"You've slept too long in silence" Mama said
Remember Mama said
"Crazy boy, you'll only wind up with strange notions in your head"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking
This Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition is about a massacre in a New York restaurant, which results in summary justice by a hail of police bullets - "you danced in death like a marionette on the vengeance of the law."
The unnamed gunman in the song murdered fourteen people in his killing spree before being shot dead by the police. Whitman killed fourteen people in similar fashion before he too was shot: prior to the massacre he stabbed his mother and his wife to death.
Album: The Black Parade
"The boys and girls in the clique
The awful names that they stick
You're never gonna fit in much, kid
But if you're troubled and hurt
What you got under your shirt
Will make them pay for the things that they did"
About the relationship between the song and concerns about gun violence, Way said: “That song almost didn't fit on the record but it's a topic that's so important to our culture. It's about a really big problem in America where kids are killing kids. The only thing I learned in high school is that people are very violent and territorial."
Album: Sniper and Other Love Songs
"The first words he spoke took the town by surprise.
One got Mrs. Gibbons above her right eye.
It blew her through the window wedged her against the door.
Reality poured from her face, staining the floor.
He was kind of creepy,
Sort of a dunce.
I met him at the corner bar.
I only dated the poor boy once,
That's all. Just once, that was all.
Bill Whedon was questioned as he stepped from his car.
Tom Scott ran across the street but he never got that far.
The police were there in minutes, they set up barricades.
He spoke right on over them in a half-mile circle.
In a dumb struck city his pointed questions were sprayed."
This song, nearly 10 minutes long, is based on the shootings at the University of Texas in 1966, with some fictional elements. The song does not name the actual sniper, Charles Whitman, or the location. The victims' names have also been changed.
Album: Return to Earth
"Good morning Columbine
I'll get to my agenda
Fourth Period, Jesus Christ
I'm the one you terrorize
I'm too tired and it's
To have this conversation
Zone into destruction
The whole world ignores me
So I'll stand nor wait
I'm born of all your hate
Cause in the hallways
Nobody thinks about me"
Album: Simply Deep
"He was always such a nice boy
The quiet one
With good intentions
He was down for his brother
Respectful to his mother
A good boy
But good don't get attention
One kid with a promise
The brightest kid in school
He's not a fool
Reading books about science and smart stuff
It's not enough, no
Cause smart don't make you cool, whoa
He's not invisible anymore
With his Father's 9 and a broken fuse
Since he walked through that Classroom door
He's all over primetime news"
The lyrics of the track chronicle three different scenarios with young people, whose lives are drastically changed by the aftermaths of a suicide and a school shooting.
Album: The Living End
"One day, in a peaceful village
School day, in working Dunblane
One man, could change their whole world
One man, is all it took for...
No school today, it's just a memory
One mind gone wrong
I don't wanna play on Monday
I don't wanna play on Monday
Pinned to my memory
Not just another Monday
It seems like such a lie"
The sixth album track, "Monday", is The Living End's epitaph to the 1996 Dunblane massacre.
The Dunblane school massacre occurred at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996. The gunman, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton (b. 10 May 1952), entered the school armed with four handguns, shooting and killing sixteen children and one adult before committing suicide.
Album: Sold American
"There was a rumor about a tumor
Nestled at the base of his brain.
He was sitting up there with his .36 Magnum
Laughing wildly as he bagged ’em.
Who are we to say the boy’s insane ?
Now Charlie was awful disappointed
Else he thought he was annointed
To do a deed so lowdown and so mean.
The students looked up from their classes
Had to stop and rub their glasses,
Who’d believe he’d once been a Marine."
Friedman tunes include "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," in which Friedman lampooned Whitman's sniper attack from the University of Texas at Austin's Main Building tower on August 1, 1966.
Album: All the Hype That Money Can Buy
"Amy's going back to school today
Elation, jubilation streams from her face
Did the halls smell of gunpowder still?
What made the human heart dark enough to kill?"
"A New Hope" was written about the Columbine High School massacre, which affected some members of the band on a personal level. The band often practiced at Micah Ortega's house, about a five-minute walk from the school, and his sister attended there at the time of the shootings.
Album: What's Wrong with Bill?
"My mind consume the doom as I walk through the school
15 people killed and over 14 wounded
My name is Eric Harris, I was forever harassed, an outcast
You fuck with us and now me and Dylan is pulling out gats
I've been one of the murdered people
Suicide is played out, if you gonna die, take people with you
We've been planning this before the kids from Jonesboro did it
And I wanted the world to know when people died why we did it
I even killed myself but don't feel sorry for me
Feel sorry for your seeds as we spread the disease
Another bloodbath coming soon to a school near you"
The song takes the perspective of the Columbine High School Massacre, or more specifically Eric Harris with his friend Dylan Klebold, shooting students and teachers at Columbine High School for years of bullying.
The song discusses school bullying, Harris and Klebold's motivation for the shooting:
"Why do I have to be one that the cool kids just to walk by, without being tripped, thrown down on the ground and kicked? Insulting me for no reason. I was treated like shit! The teachers let it happen. I've even seen some of them teachers laughing. thats why I had a smile on my face when I started blasting.I was the nicest person in the world. Y'all were dicks!"
The song also mentions a second school massacre; The Jonesboro massacre which took place more than a year prior to the Columbine Massacre with the line 'We've been planning this before the kids from Jonesboro did it'.
"He stands alone outside the blooming yard
All is calm there on the street
The shadows pass him hung right over
The pain on his face he knew he'd keep...
His hair is long, and it's twisted, it's twisted
Around the smile spread cheek to cheek
Another child, another soul, grabs a hold
To the metal that will end his misery...
One by one
We stand beneath the sun
With arms high open wide
Two by two
He's getting you
To watch him as he leaves this life he knew"
"One By One" was inspired by many school shootings, including The Columbine Massacre.
"Now we all know why
The children called him Ronnie Frown
When he pulled that gun from his pocket
They all fall down, down, down
Lost my way
This bloody day
Lost my way "
The song is about a child called "Ronnie", and the lyrics revolve around a theme similar to a school shooting. The theme for the song was taken from a 1990's school shooting in Washington state.
Album: End of Days Soundtrack
"So with tears in his eye
He read Catcher in the Rye
And told his old man he went hunting
And he felt so free
Like his destiny
Lay somewhere out on the horizon
His heart went cold
He felt a hundred years old
And started pulling back on the trigger
I think I'm gonna die today
And everyone who hurt me's gonna pay
How could such a short time feel so long
How could such a young life go so wrong"
Album: Rock The 40 Oz.: Reloaded
"Shoot the kids at school,
All in a bloody pool,
I'll show the teachers too,
'Cuz they can't tell me what to do,
Getting B's and C's
Saying "thanks and please"
You broke the golden rule,
You're staying after school."
Album: To the Teeth
"the sun is settin on the century
and we are armed to the teeth
we are all working together now
to make our lives mercifully brief
schoolkids keep trying to teach us
what guns are all about
confuse liberty with weaponry
and watch your kids act it out
every year now like Christmas
some boy gets the milk-fed sub-urban blues
reaches for the available arsenal
and saunters off to make the news"
To The Teeth is an indictment of America's gun culture, and a response to the Columbine High School massacre.
Album: Act Your Age
"Then one tragic day She came to school and went ballistic
With an ak in her right hand
She shot the cheerleading squad and ran
They're all dead, They're all dead
She's alone in her class
There's no one left for her to blast
She's always kicking ass
Masochistic, Gothic, dressed in black
No knows her name
I never knew she was sadistic
On April 28th She came to school and went ballistic
With a rifle in her left hand
She blew away the football team and ran
They're all dead, They're all dead"
"all my rivals will see what i have in store, my gun...
i've been harboring fleets in this reservoir, red sun...
and this nation's about to explode"
This song was written about the tragedy at Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado. On April 20, 1999, 2 students shot up the school, killing 12 kids and a teacher before killing themselves.
This isn't the first Pearl Jam song about a high school shooting. Their 1992 song "Jeremy" is about a boy who shot himself in front of his English class.
Album: Last One Picked
"No one sits with him, he doesn’t fit in,
But we feel like we do when we make fun of him,
'Cause you want to belong, do you go along?
'Cause his pain is the price paid for you to belong
It’s not like you hate him or want him to die,
But maybe he goes home and thinks suicide,
Or he comes back to school with a gun at his side,
Any kindness from you might have saved his life..."
The song tells the stories of several individuals who could resort to suicide or murder if they are not shown love, referencing to school bullying leading to a school shooting and self-cutting.
Album: Flyleaf (International Version)
"Do you believe in God?
Written on the bullet
Say 'yes' to pull the trigger
Do you believe in God
Written on the bullet?
And Cassie pulled the trigger
Say 'yes' and pull the trigger"
This song is about Cassie Bernall, a student at Columbine High School who was killed in the massacre that occurred there. It was reported that her killer asked her if she believed in God, and when she answered "Yes" he killed her with a single gunshot to the head. Later investigations revealed that the question "Do you believe in God?" was actually asked to Valeen Schnurr, a student who survived the Columbine Massacre, by shooter Dylan Klebold.
This livens up the day"
This is a list of songs about school shootings and similar situations. I find these tragedies interesting, mainly I'm just fascinated why would so many young people do these things and some seem to have no reasons. Even when this topic is considered controversial there are some popular hits that concentrate on this topic.
Some songs are based on events that have happened in real life and some are just fiction.
Tell Me Why (part 2)
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